Tuesday, June 7, 2011

We're hoooome!

Ahhh, we're back, in real live beds with real live mattresses. It's an amazing feeling (and I know J. feels that way too because he is currently curled up next to me, asleep). It's 0200 now, but it feels like midnight, which is still way past our normal time for going to bed while on vacation.

Our trip was amazing, simple as that. This week is already shaping up to be busy busy, though, so it might be a while before we do a full recap. I'm heading out in the morning for Savannah to meet up with some great nursing school friends for a week vacation with them. On Friday one of J.'s buddies is coming into town on his way to Virginia where he has a summer job planned. Anddd on Saturday I have to work a whopping 8-hours (hey, don't laugh, next week I am working 60!); I am getting off early to go to David & Kara's Wedding. YAY!!

Part of the reason I am up late is because I wanted to take care of some bills before I jetted out of town again. I decided to go through our receipts from the trip, and I figured I might as well give you all a post-vacation financial wrap up.

I wanted to preface by saying that we lost a lot of our usual motivation to cook while camping. When you're hiking 5-10 miles per day, you are simply too exhausted to foster up the energy to not only start a fire but also cook a whopping can o' beans on it. Besides, we love food, and we figured we should enjoy ourselves on our vacation by tasting some local fare. I think after a full day of activity, relaxing with some noms and beer is a perfect nightcap. This of course flopped our food budget...oops! But this is why we have a travel savings account. With a little bit of extraction of funds, we're okay. Besides, our bellies aren't complaining.

Pre-estimated Approximate Costs (for two people)
- Airfare: $612.80
- Car rental: $185.39
- Lodging: $141.00
- Fuel: $320.00 [based on approx. 2000 miles of travel (rounding up), a vehicle with 25mpg (rounding down), and gas $4.00/gallon (hopefully rounding up??)]
- Food: $150.00
- Activities: $150.00 (being generous, as most of our activities will be hiking)
--TOTAL: $1559.19 (and this amount reflects about 6-months of our allotted travel savings money)

Post-vacation Real Costs (for two people)
- Airfare: $658.80 (+46.00) *$23.00 baggage fee each way
- Car rental: $164.78 (-20.61) *using autoslash.com, we ended up saving another $20 the day we left, *and* we received a free upgrade to a Nissan Altima, which got approximated 37mpg for the duration of the trip!
- Lodging: $141.50 (+$0.50) *Jenny Lake Campground had a $0.50 increase, but it was worth it.
- Fuel: $251.72 (-$68.28) *With the better gas mileage than originally estimated, we "saved" a bit in this area. Unfortunately, gas prices were, at times, $3.99/gal. I am happy to report that we never paid more than this, and I think we only filled up half a tank at this price, so overall prices were better. I tried keeping an accurate mileage count, but that didn't work out..but I have a feeling we did more driving than originally estimated with our sidetrips and the area we covered at Yellowstone (ahem, the entire park, save one road).
- Food: $607.56 (+$457.56) *HOT DANG, I know. This amount includes snacks, groceries, and eating out. We spent about $100 on the groceries/snacks, and the rest were from dining out. For the most part the rest of the time we made our breakfast (or our friend Melanie, who we were staying with in SLC, made it for us!) and lunches, and ate at sit down places (other than two nights of fastfood) for our nightly meals. Like I said before, if we took the time to cook meals every night, we could have easily stayed within our $150.00 budget...but we didn't. It was a little shocking (okay, a lot shocking) at first to see the difference, but I have settled down, and I know it will all be okay. We did the same thing during our Chicago trip, so I just have to learn that we love eating good food on vacation and I should budget more money toward that area.
- Activities: $72.00 (-$78.00) *We stuck to free activities the entire trip, so this part of the budget was basically unused. I went ahead and included the $20 we paid toward the Fiery Furnace Ranger Guided Hike at Arches NP. Our plan was to horseback ride in Grand Teton NP but the company we were planning on going with hadn't opened yet (it was snowing in that part of WY!) and other companies were fully booked. WAH WAH. I also included the $52.00 parking costs we paid at the CLT airport.
-TOTAL: $1896.36 (+$337.17)

More on this trip later!


Dawn said...

Dan and I were *just* talking about how we want to go on less expensive vacations, to include camping. One of our problems is that we don't actually have any camping gear or anywhere to put said gear. We're looking at stuff to get rid of in order to make room.
Anyway, you guys are inspirational :)

Andrew and Elizabeth said...

Amber this trip sounds amazing. We are doing our trip over the labor day weekend. I've booked our flights but boycott car yet. We won't be doing the quite so physical trip you guys did and plan on mostly coastal pacific northwest but let's talk when you catch your breath. Also I love your itinerary breakdown and cost breakdown. Super helpful.

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