Vacation Nation

Vacation Nation - fbVacation: A period of rest and relaxation. Vacations are what you do to take a break from what you do. They are also what Canadians do to take a break from winter.

Unfortunately, vacations are also an area where we sometimes overspend. We need to find some ways to enjoy our vacations without straining our finances or draining our bank accounts. Interestingly, there are some people who are not typically “savers” who are able to plan and save for their vacations, even if they are months or years away. The planning and saving is part of the experience. For them, the preparation and anticipation is half the fun.

If money is tight, why not visit some attractions closer to home? Chances are there are numerous destinations right in your own backyard that people from other countries are travelling to visit but that you haven’t experienced yourself. It’s surprising how many people from Ontario have never been up the CN Tower in Toronto, toured the Parliament Buildings in Ottawa or done a fall colours drive through Algonquin Park. Check out your own backyard.

If you’re heading south in the winter, an all-inclusive resort is an option. I’m not a fan personally, but I know people who swear by them. Different strokes for different folks and all that jazz. I find that all-inclusives rarely are all-inclusive, but if you just want to veg out on a beach or by a pool for a week without fretting about the cost of food, booze, or tipping then this type of resort might be the thing for you. Always remember that if you plan to go off the resort, you’re going to need your wallet.

Here’s my two cents worth on families and theme parks. Family vacations are about the children, and that’s exactly how it should be. As parents, we want to make the experience wonderful and memorable for all of our little princesses and wizards. Just remember though, despite their proximity in the dictionary, expensive and experience are not synonymous. Consecutive days in theme parks can be exhausting for kids, expensive for parents, and meltdowns are not uncommon (the kids sometimes get upset too). As someone wise once told me (my wife), more doesn’t always mean better, sometimes it just means more. One day in a park followed by a day in a pool or on a beach with nothing more than a $2.99 water noodle can be a better and more memorable experience for everyone involved.

Vacations can be wonderful, even restorative. One of the best things about vacations is that they are one of the few things that we spend our money on that actually gets better over time. When we spend our money on things—cars, televisions, phones, or commercial-grade food mixers—those things start declining in value, real and perceived, shortly after we get them. However, our vacations and the memories they create continue to be special, even improving, years after the trip has ended. We love to regale others with stories from our vacations, share pictures, and exaggerate our golf shots.

Just make sure you’re not still paying for your vacation while you’re reminiscing about it.

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