|Waimea Canyon. Super pretty!|
Short post today (unless I think of something interesting later) because I'm off and I'm starting my weekend early. Maybe I'll surprise the heck out of you all later and post something exciting.
I'm off today and have a 3 day weekend. Excited! I have a lot planned and a lot of homework. Not looking forward to that. I have 16 pages to write for one paper and around 5 or 6 for another. Hopefully I can finish both of those today or tomorrow. Doubt that will happen though.
I'm also hoping to sell some clothes today also. I doubt I'll sell that much but I want to at least try and get rid of stuff. My goal for today? 15 items. Wish me luck!
Blog posts and blogs I love:
- Newlyweds on a Budget talks about how she wants to blog for fun. A lot of bloggers saw their PR decrease last month, which caused lots of them to realize that text links, etc, is not a stable source of income. Blogging for fun is good. I blog for fun. Yes, while I do make a little extra money from my blog, I talk about my life and the things that are in my life.
- Frugal Portland blogs about why she's happy renting. Where I live, it's better to buy, but of course in different areas and different people are happier with other things. I think if I lived anywhere else, I'd probably rent.
- Over at Serendipity's Guide to Saving, she posted about how people think she must have a ton of money. I've been told this before to, and it lead to people taking advantage of me. Not good!
- Frugal and Thankful talks about ways to save money on clothes. Me and my friends talked about having a clothing swap. We borrow each others' clothes a lot, but we have never actually had a swap. We need to do this though. We're all the same size and always love each others' clothes more.
Were you expecting pictures of me? HA! Of course I include mysterious pictures of my boyfriend but none of me. Sorry guys. I guess you'll just have to follow me on Pinterest to see what I look like.
Here's a short recap. I still have a TON more pictures (I took around 400 altogether) and I'll put more up over the weekend. I'm sure everyone is getting sick and tired of my vacation posts anyways.
We did a lot of “adventurous” type things. At least it was adventurous to me. We looked for “secret” places, places to cliff dive and pretty beaches. It was a lot of fun. The cliff on top is Shipwrecks Beach, and he jumped off of it. I was way too terrified.
Everyone was super nice in Kauai, it was great! The locals always gave us good tips on which restaurants to go to and where the best beaches are.
The power went out on the whole island for a couple of hours. And that was interesting. We drove around everywhere but it was out everywhere.
Hotel. We stayed at the Sheraton Kauai Resort. The hotel was very nice. I loved it. The pool wasn't HUGE like at other resorts, but it was nice. The bartenders were nice and the location was great! It was definitely on the more expensive side of the island, which kind of stunk because we had to go for quite a drive in order to get food within our budget.
Our flight. Our airfare was cheap (practically free) and we flew first class nearly the entire time (we had to fly coach on our connecting flight to Kauai from LAX) but first class on 3 other flights is of course GREAT!
Rental Car. We spent more on our rental car than I wanted to. Our original quote was around $250, but once we got to Kauai, we decided that we wanted to rent a Jeep instead. Well the Jeep was $600 with everything included (including insurance).
We weren't going to get insurance on the smaller economy car, but with the Jeep, I was just a little afraid of it getting hit. I've had rental cars in the past and every single time they were hit while it was parked and I was inside a store and the person always drove away (I've been involved in over 16 hit and runs, I hate people by the way). Luckily I never had to pay (the person who hit my own car and thus forced me to get a rental car had to front all of these costs). But I do know that rental car companies do usually charge a “time out of use” fee on top of the repair costs for the car being unable to be rented out. And your own insurance usually does not cover this charge.
So for an extra $100, I got peace of mind for 6 days that our car can be smashed in. We also took it off-roading and drove the heck out of it. We added around 700 miles to it, so we definitely got good use out fit. I am ashamed of the amount we spent though. AH!
Food/Miscellaneous. We ate a LOT. Food was pretty expensive on the island. We tried to eat at fast food places for breakfast on some days, but that didn't help much since the drive to a fast food place was usually quite a distance.
We spent around $400 altogether on food. We saved a lot on alcohol by buying lots of 12 packs at the grocery store. Our fridge was packed full of them the entire time.
We ended up buying another suitcase while we were there so that we could check a bag full of things that we wanted to bring home. We bought a 12 pack of Hawaiian beer (yes a couple of bottles busted as well and that was horrible to clean), a Poipu blanket (that's super soft!), some shirts, and gifts for friends. We spent around $200 on souvenirs when you add the suitcase, souvenirs, etc altogether.
This was definitely our most expensive vacation yet. And it's still a little hard for me not to beat myself up over the costs, but in the end, I had a GREAT time. It was nice to get away for a week and just relax.
Hello! I’m Vanessa and over at Random Thoughts & Acronyms I write about money, vacations and my plans to leave Montreal once and for all.
Since Michelle is on vacation this week and I love vacationing, I’m going to write about the hidden costs about “all-inclusive” vacations.
The first all-inclusive I took was to Varadero, Cuba and cost about 400$ for 4 days. Not bad, I thought! When I got there however, I found out that Cubans are especially notorious for asking for money and tips. On my second all-inclusive trip, I went to Samana in the Dominican Republic.
- 1$ to tip the woman who brought me water every meal at the buffet.
- 1$ as a tip for every drink that I had.
- 2$ tip each day to the maid who tidied my room.
- Each excursion that I took required a tip of 5$
- On a horseback riding excursion, the tour guide recommended that we tip the horse-owner 20$!
• A trip to Havana cost me 80$
• A “jeep safari” cost me another 80$
• The horseback riding excursion cost me 90$
At a resort, there are always extras that you can take advantage of in order to have a nicer trip. These include:
- Specialty dinners either offered by the resort or in a local town (50-100$)
- Imported drinks and drinks from outside of the resort usually run about 5$
- Spa/massages (50$+)
- Motorized sports (50$+)
- Room safe: The last resort I went to stressed that there had been robberies in the rooms but long-term guests said that they’d never heard of any. We decided to be cautious and it cost us 15$
- Bottles of alcohol can range from 2$+ depending on the quality and bottle size
- Cigars: If you are able to haggle you should be able to pick up a pack for maybe 0.75$/cigar
- Souvenirs! I love scavenging souvenir shops in each city that I visit and always buy a fridge magnet. If you get caught up in all the kitschy things, you will fill up your suitcase and have to leave your umbrella behind in your hotel room (not that that’s ever happened to me… :P)
Since I live in an area that isn’t too sunny, all-inclusive vacations usually entail the purchase of small things that I don’t really have lying around
- Sunscreen – I discovered that Dollarama sells SPF 45 which is a Godsend since the only other time that I bought sunscreen I spent 13$ for a teeny-tiny bottle
- Flip flops – Old Navy had a sale two months ago, 2 pairs for 6$!
- Bathing suit. Don’t ask me why I didn’t have a bathing suit… I also don’t have a beach towel but they’re usually included at all-inclusives
- Aloe – I burn so quickly and aloe is the only thing that I’ve found effective
- Sunglasses. My brother broke my only pair last summer and I didn’t replace them until the weekend before I left for the Dominican :S
So, finally I will leave you with Vanessa’s Travel Tip. When faced with exorbitant food costs past airport security, go to duty free and buy a bag of M&Ms. The peanut ones are caloric enough to sustain you until you get fed on the plane but at only 10$ a bag, it’s an amazing value!
My comment: I've never been on an all-inclusive vacation but I have definitely thought about it. $400 for 4 days sounds like a great deal, but tips and other costs definitely add up!
We leave tomorrow for our trip! I'm not going to lie, this was definitely an expensive trip (at least for us). I'm a crazy planner when it comes to vacations. I like to research reviews (like crazy, I will literally scroll through hundreds of them) and make sure that I'm not wasting any money or time while I'm on vacation.
We leave on Saturday night, get there on Sunday and we leave around 11pm on Friday. So we have almost 6 full days there. This is the longest vacation I have ever taken (except from when I was younger).
Hotel. We're staying at the Sheraton Kauai Resort. I looked at so many hotels. I heard that if you want more sun, then you should stay in the Poipu area because they get the least amount of rain and have pretty, swim-mable beaches. A lot of places were booked, but we got a good deal on our hotel. It's around $130 per night (I bid for it on Priceline) and the rooms usually start around $300. And it's a resort right on the beach.
Our total for the hotel will be around $750. Yes this is a lot. A lot more than I wanted to spend, but I didn't want to regret my hotel choice. We're there for 6 days/5 nights, so I guess that's not too bad. Hotels are just so expensive though! This amount just seems very high though, almost makes me sick!
Our flight. Our airfare expense is minimal, but we are going to try and get first class there and back. The flights look good and it seems like we will be able to.
Our flight leaves on Saturday night and we have around an 8 hour layover until our next flight to Kauai on Sunday morning. We'll arrive at around noon. So exciting! The layover is going to stink, but I have homework that I'm going to bring for that. Of course I have a test the day after I come back, so I have to study during my vacation at least a little bit.
Rental Car. I have literally been looking for a rental car 24/7. It's so hard to find a good deal. Since we are under 25, most places want to charge us a $27 per day fee (on top of the rental car costs of course) for being underage. That's way too much when you're renting a car for 6 days. We usually don't rent a car and we never have for a whole trip.
We need a rental car everyday for this vacation for a lot of reasons. It's impossible to see everything without one. It's also hard to eat anywhere besides at the hotel from what I hear. Everything is spread apart because the island isn't city-like. I tried bidding on a car rental on Priceline, but I kept getting rejected.
I would say I got a decent deal. With taxes, fees and the weekly rate, the total is $250. Other places I looked at wanted around $500 with everything included. Glad I kept looking! We are not paying for the extra insurance though, I'm just going to really hope that nothing happens.
Our activities. This is an extremely long list.
- Hike Napali Coast (or at least just visit)
- Makawehi Lithified Cliffs
- Queen's Bath
- Cliff jump at Shipwreck in Kauai (I really doubt I will do this, but it looks like fun)
- Kayak somewhere (not sure)
- Snorkel (lots of places to do this, we're pretty much just going to bring snorkeling stuff everywhere we go just in case)
- And lay on the beach of course!
Have you ever been to Kauai? What do you recommend that we do?
We estimated that we would spend around $1,500 ALTOGETHER as I said in past posts, but I think we'll probably come a little higher than that. This will be our most expensive vacation. We am fully paying for this vacation with our side income though, so no worries.
There are a lot of ways that we want to save money while we're there also. I am guessing that activities will be nearly free. Everything on my list above is free except for renting a kayak which is $55 when I priced it. If we do decide to go on one of the snorkeling adventures, that will be around $120 each, and I just don't know if I want to spend that. Is it worth it? Seems like a lot of money.
Food will probably be around $400 altogether for the week, including drinks. I'm hoping we come way under this though. We can always put some alcohol and food in our fridge. Our hotel has a FREE mai tai happy hour and $2 bottle happy hour for around 4 hours each day. We'll definitely be drinking a lot during those times.
Today I have a guest post from Becky over at House of Sykes! Enjoy. Be sure to check out her blog!
My husband and I are leaving next month to spend a week in Mexico. While daydreaming about our vacation
since we booked it today, I started to compile a sample packing list for someone taking an all inclusive tropical vacation. Of course, the amount you pack is contingent on how many days you are staying, so adjust accordingly.
Here are a few of my suggestions (aside from obvious ones like a toothbrush and underoos):
- 3-4 bathing suits: you live a bathing suits during the day in the tropics. they're tiny and lightweight – perfect for carry on luggage.
- Tervis tumblers: most all inclusive resorts will fill up your tumbler instead of the tiny plastic cups on the beach or by the pool. tumbler = more drinky drinky and no sweaty glass!
- medicine: everything from Tylenol to Immodium and everything in between. be sure to also pack a small first aid kit.
- electronics: some of you know that we LOVE to stay in touch with home while we're away, so we take the laptop and cell phones with us. this also includes the DSLR camera and a point and shoot. having so many electronics with us also helps back up the photos we've taken. we keep them on the SD card, laptop, I-pod and smart phone. if we lose something, we're sure to have the photos backed up somewhere!
- snacks: we discovered on our last trip to Mexico that US Airways no longer provides complimentary snacks in flight. not to mention, food in the airport is crazy expensive. take your own snacks that are high in sugar – nabs, honey buns, granola, etc. to keep you energized while you're traveling.
- pens, passports, travel documents: when flying internationally, you will need these items with you in flight. take your own pens so you don't have to borrow someone else's to fill out your customs forms. this prevents the spread of germs too. (did you see “Contagion”?)
- 3 dresses: you rarely eat with the same people each night, so no one will know that you're wearing the same dress to dinner on Saturday night that you wore on Wednesday night. pack jersey type material so if it gets bunched up during your travel, it won't wrinkle.
- 3 pairs of shoes: 2 pairs in the suitcase; 1 pair on your feet. come on ladies, you're on vacation, not a runway. there's no need to pack your entire wardrobe. you are on vacation to relax, not impress.
- plastic bags: include a quart size freezer back for each carry on. include a plastic grocery bag to pack wet bathing suits for the journey home.
Hope these packing tips help if you are going on a vacation somewhere fun and hot!
Michelle's comment: Thinking about packing puts me in such a good mood! I'm a horrible packer though. If I'm gone for just 2 days, I will still bring 20 dresses. I actually counted last time, and when we went to Miami last August for 3 days, I brought 19 dresses (plus shorts).
How do you pack? What are your traveling “essentials”?
|The boy on our vacation from last year|
I posted the other day about things I want to do on vacation, and I thought I'd try adding up the costs of my whole vacation. We still haven't decided if we want to go to Hawaii or the St. Thomas, but I've looked and they both generally have the same costs for food, water sports, hotels, and so on.
This vacation continues to keep on creeping up in cost. We've done some of the things on my water sports list, but I would really like to go on an all day kayak-hiking-snorkeling trip. We decided that this trip will also be around 5 to 6 days, which also increases the cost of the trip.
We already asked my sister to watch our house and our dogs, and she agreed just to stay at our house while we're gone. This will definitely save a lot of money and will make me feel better about where the dogs go and if our house is safe. We've separated the dogs before and had separate people watch them, but I always feel horrible for doing this. It's just too much for us to bring both dogs over to someone's house because then the dog sitter's would most likely have way too many pets. [Read more…]