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Travel fund plans foiled

July 25, 2008

Current travel fund: $254
Projected August spending:
$250+ (hotel and campsite paid for, gas, food and fun not paid for)
Projected August contribution:
$100
Projected balance post trip:
$100
September – Dec contribution:
$400 (just enough for a ticket home!)

See, I had a pretty good plan going, I was going to have exactly the amount I needed to get through the year on my current travel budget.  Yes, it would go temporarily  negative, since the holiday ticket would be bought before December, but still.  It was going to work out.

Suddenly my mom tells me my grandma is 80 this year, and it is “kind of mandatory” that I come home to celebrate in September.  Now I don’t need to buy just any plane ticket, but a plane ticket to a po-dunk town which only has just 2 airline options.  A cursory search turned up at $1000+.  Um, no thanks.

My sister lives in a major city which is still 500 miles away.  I figured I could tag along with them and get a ticket for about $250, or even under $200 on a lucky day.  She informed me they are taking the train.  I could do the same, which would be another $125.  Total cost, $375 + a lot of train.

I could fly into my home city and ride with my parents, which is about 250 miles away.  Total cost, probably $425 + 4-5 hours in the car, each way.  On the plus side, I’d probably be able to see a couple friends at home and make it into a little bit longer of a trip.

I also can fly from Vegas to a town about 40 miles away from my grandparents for a low price of $217, and my parents could pick me up on the way.  The flight leaves at 6:30 am and I don’t live in Las Vegas, I live in L.A.    A round trip bus between the two cities could be had for about $70 (plus getting to/from union station), and a cheap hotel on a random weeknight could be had for $40 (the bus would get in the day before).  Total cost, about $320 + one extra day in Vegas.  Lots of traveling.  Or I could drive, but then I’d have to pay to park somewhere.  This is the cheapest option, but involves a lot of travel time.  Is it worth it?  Probably not.

Maybe I can work something out where my parents would help me?  Or am I too old for that?  I don’t know, I probably shouldn’t.  They aren’t exactly flush with money anyway.

If I do better searching, I can probably find a ticket right to where my grandparents live for around $525.  I tagged a few using yapta.com (which has improved since the last time I logged in), and I’ll get emails if prices drop.  When I go home for Christmas, it’ll probably be at least $400 there as well.  I probably could get out of this, but it seems like I should go.  It seems selfish/miserly to say I can’t afford to celebrate my grandparents when I have well over $10k sitting there.

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7 Comments leave one →
  1. July 25, 2008 11:16 am

    Thanks for pointing me to Yapta. I have it set up to provide me alerts for a trip to Las Vegas for a wedding in November.

  2. July 25, 2008 12:11 pm

    I would probably choose a middle-of-the-road option–one that’s a nice compromise between both the financial costs and the time/sanity costs. If your parents aren’t in a financial position to help you out (given that your mother made it “mandatory”), then I would just pay for it yourself, since you DO have the money. Family is really important and life is too short.

    My dad and my grandmother both died very suddenly, so now I pay whatever it costs to see my family for holidays, important events, etc., even though I live across the country and it’s not always easy to get back home. In the long run, it is more important to me to spend time with them than to save every penny for the future. It certainly stinks to have to choose one or the other though. If only we could all be independently wealthy!

  3. farmwife permalink
    July 25, 2008 4:19 pm

    I think Al said it all. You are young and will have time to recoup spending up to a $1000 on a ticket. Your Grandmother is elderly and could be gone in a moment. No amount of money in the bank will bring back time spent with her.

    I’m all about saving and spending wisely — but don’t loose site of what is important as well.

    Travel-wise — I hate it, so personally, I would choose the cheapest fast option that I could find :)

  4. devil permalink
    July 26, 2008 10:48 am

    Another vote here for biting the bullet and going. Life is short and it goes by so danged fast.

    Enjoy time with your Grandma! I attended a dear friend’s 85th birthday party a while back and it was a hoot. The birthday girl wore a tiara and LOVED all the attention. We were instructed not to bring gifts but I brought three presents anyway…which were very, very well-received by Her Birthday Highness. ;)

  5. July 26, 2008 8:30 pm

    You should def go! You will have some great memories for sure :)

  6. July 28, 2008 8:16 am

    I’m feeling your pain. I’m going to have a lot of flights home during the next 12 months for weddings, bridal showers, and bachelorette parties.

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  1. I don’t think I’m going « Stacking Pennies

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