2017 Trip to Las Vegas

The Mrs. and I recently traveled to Las Vegas. It was our first trip there. It was her first flight anywhere. She has a tough time with the take-off and landing. But, once we were up in the air or on the ground, she was fine.

This is the first time that she and I have taken a long trip together in a long time. This was not purely a trip for pleasure. It was a promo for a Bluegreen Vacations timeshare pitch. I'll write about timeshares on another post. Today, I want to focus on lessons learned as a new traveler.

The first lesson is probably no surprise. It is expensive to travel. This is coming from a couple in their forties who struggled to afford a weekend trip to San Antonio at a mid-range hotel. It is only until recently that we have some means to travel. Even so, we are doing it with discount airlines and promotional packages. At this point, we are still insulated from the full shock of the cost of travel.

There are problems with traveling to Las Vegas the way we did. For one, we gave up almost a whole day to sitting in a timeshare presentation. It was actually two half days because after buying one timeshare, we stumbled on a better deal. The point is that the trip was structured around something that was not necessarily fun.

Something else we learned was that we ought to have budgeted for the trip. This being our first "big" trip, we approached it like our weekend excursions, a cost that we could easily absorb in a pay period. Well, this was not so. Going forward, we will need to save up a chunk of money to pay for the trip. For now, the full cost has not hit. We used my American Express Premier Rewards Gold card to pay for everything. The trip just happened to fall after the billing cycle closed, so we have about two months to cough up the cash, which is doable. Still, it would be better to have savings at the ready to pay for a vacation. My guess is that we should have about $5000 at the ready.

The Mrs. and I pulled off this trip with about $1563 in expenses on the card. There were some transactions which I prepaid or paid cash. Over all, we spent under $2000. This included an extra night and car rental to drive home from an alternate airport due to a cancelled flight.

Our biggest cost was primarily dining and drinks. We did catch a show.

This kind of segues into owning a time share. If we took our children with us on this trip, dining alone would cost more than the travel and lodging. Mrs. and I have some long-term travel plans coming up in a few years. Living at hotels and paying tourist prices would make our travels rather short. This is why we actually did decide to purchase a timeshare. It has nothing to do with the timeshare itself, rather all that comes with it in terms to access to timeshare exchanges.

If we had a kitchen and access to two bedroom lodgings, then taking family vacations becomes much more sustainable. This is what the timeshare exchanges offer, affordable one-week rates and a kitchen. It's like owning a vacation home. But, I'll give you more details about that later. For now, the Mrs. and I need to work on paying down our expenses. The AMEX bill is still pending.  We can cover it. However, it would have been nice to have a pile of cash with "vacation" written on it that I could use to settle the tab.

I'll leave you with that. There has to be a way to make travel more affordable than paying tourist prices. So, much of my future work will be towards that end.