Is it okay to go on vacation while saving for a mini retirement? That's the question we had to answer ourselves this Spring.
Its been a long winter in Central Oregon and we were mentally exhausted from elections, Covid, weather, etc., and we needed something to look forward to. Soon.
Call us weak, but I can't tell you how much it has helped to book our April Cancun getaway. Since we booked it, we've started working out (thank you, 21 Day Fix), we're back on our keto diet, and I've lost 6 pounds!
Maybe its not the smartest financial decision to book a vacation while saving for a mini retirement, but sometimes you have to put your mental health first. And its not just us – even our 3 year old is excited!
She packed her little backpack and told us she was ready to board a plane as soon as we told her about the upcoming trip. My baby girl is a jetsetter, just like her mommy. I hear you, baby, I'm ready too.
We ordered passports for both the kids, and in a couple of weeks we go to Portland for our TSA precheck applications. Trust me – this is as much for everyone in line behind us as it is for us. Getting our two toddlers through security, plus all of our stuff, is quite an ordeal.
In Cancun, we booked an all inclusive resort for 5 nights, with a special area for families. We feel safe traveling there with all of the restrictions and reduced capacity. I have my vaccine, but my husband does not, and the kids are not eligible to receive it yet.
Speaking of vaccines, I took my 75 year old mother in today to get her first one. Yay!
Back to Cancun – the real reason we booked a trip to Cancun was because it was actually cheaper than driving to Great Wolf Lodge in Washington and staying for 3 nights.
Yes, that is correct. 4 plane tickets to Cancun, Mexico and 5 nights at an all inclusive resort was only $1,000 more than Great Wolf Lodge for 3 nights. With the added benefit of a real beach and loads of much-needed sunshine.
As a lover of the ocean, nothing feeds my soul more than hearing the sounds of the waves and dipping my toes into its warm water. The cold northern Pacific and the wild Oregon coast, while beautiful, is just not for me.
Pros on Taking a Vacation While Saving for a mini retirement
- A near-term goal to get in shape for.
- Gives you something to look forward to much sooner than the big goal.
- A vacation can be mentally refreshing.
- Gets you out of your day-to-day environment and routine for a bit.
CONS ON TAKING A VACATION WHILE SAVING FOR A MINI RETIREMENT
- May not get the rest and relaxation you were hoping for.
- Might have regrets when you return.
- Financial setback if you spend money you could have saved for your mini retirement.
Here's the deal, though. If you're miserable now and you think a vacation is going to make you happy, it will only last a short time. And guess what? A mini retirement might not do the trick for you either.
Happiness and contentment come from within. So dig deep and figure out what makes you happy on a normal day before you spend all your savings on a short-lived adventure that doesn't live up to expectations.
Tips for Choosing a Vacation While Saving for a Mini Retirement
- Don't expend all of your savings on a vacation. Choose a reasonable vacay that doesn't cost more than one paycheck, as a general rule of thumb. We are paying 50% to 75% of our paycheck for this vacation.
- Look for cheap flights and deals on hotels.
- We like to fly Southwest, and I frequently use the low-fare calendar.
- Use a rewards credit card when you book to take advantage of points or cash back.
- Then go pay off your credit card!
- Take advantage of a free continental breakfast, if offered.
- If you drink on vacation, buy a bottle of your favorite spirit from the grocery store and have a pre-game drink before you go out.
- Get a room with a kitchen.
- This is great especially if you have kids with you who are picky eaters. Plus, if you don't mind skipping a few meals out, you can save a lot of money eating-in on vacation.