Budget vacations and how a timeshare spoiled them for me

Like many people, my life drastically changed when I had children. In fact, I don’t think I went on anything resembling a “vacation” for the first four years of my children’s lives.

I’m not complaining. We had our own home, and I was able to quit my job after my second son was born and become a full-time domestic engineer. My situation blessed me and my sons. I know plenty of other mothers wish they had a similar option.

Recently, I posted about scrapbooking some of our family vacations. The first one in the book is a camping trip my husband and I took with our six-month-old son to Fort Stevens.

This trip never would have happened if: 1)Jeff’s parents hadn’t loaned us their camper; 2) gas prices were then what they are now: and 3) renting a campsite cost as much per night in 1991 as it does in 2014. Good grief! Even for just water and electricity it’s as much as half a hotel room back in the day.

My childhood vacations were few. They never varied. We would take our canvas tent into the woods and pitch it near a stream where we could fish for trout. We dug a hole for our “bodily functions” and ate what we caught.

Okay, one time we took a road trip to Oklahoma. Best time I ever had once we got there, but the trip itself is probably why the idea of being trapped in a vehicle for a thousand miles gives me stomach cramps.

My sons have great memories of camping. Sleeping in a tent is an adventure to every boy on the planet. Seriously. They would ask us to set up the tent in the yard so they could “go camping” at home.

Image from tripadvisor.com

Because this was our main vacation outlet, my husband and I purchased a trailer. (Need I mention that we had to purchase a new TRUCK first because the old one didn’t have enough torque to maintain the speed limit up steep inclines? *rolls eyes*) Camping is fine, but camping in an RV is my preferred method.


Top reasons why I prefer an RV:

  1. I always have to use the bathroom in the middle of the night. Walking a few steps in the trailer beats clonking across a spooky campground. Nothing wakes you up faster than coming face to face with glowing eyes in the middle of your sleepy-eyed trek to pee.
  2. Cooking with an RV is much easier than fighting with a propane-powered camp stove. Also, a microwave expands snacking options. Yes, we still want a campfire for making s’mores.
  3. Sleeping on a real bed makes for a more alert me. Even with an air mattress, sleeping in a tent on the ground is sleeping on rocks. Yes, I am the Princess and the Pea princess. Plus, have you ever known an air mattress to hold its shape and size under the weight of two grown adults?

All of my contentment with camping changed when we bought into a timeshare. Seriously, no packing up all your dishes, towels and bedding and then unpacking and washing it all on your return. Isn’t that a big enough selling point?

Of course, there have been drawbacks to the timeshare – not getting into the place we wanted. No condos near a destination we wanted to travel. Thousands of dollars up front and then yearly maintenance fees that keep going up year after year.

As far as the accommodations during an actual vacation? We have never been disappointed with either the property we owned or one we rented by exchanging ours. We have been in condos in Palm Springs, Phoenix, Anaheim (and it superseded the earlier trip staying at the HoJo by a landslide), Orlando, West Yellowstone, Lincoln City, Depoe Bay, Newport, Leavenworth, Long Beach and Seaside.

Other than the whole laundry landslide, having a kitchen so you don’t have to eat out every meal is the biggest plus (aside from clean sheets and a private bathroom).

What is your idea of a “budget vacation”?

2 thoughts on “Budget vacations and how a timeshare spoiled them for me”

  1. Our vacations this year are staycations, which are the easiest ones on the budget of all. Our daughter will be away for three separate weeks this summer, so I’m taking a few days off work each time to spend with my husband. Works for us!!

    1. Sounds great! I love vacationing at home as long as I can relax rather than tackle the ever-present never-finished list of improvement/cleaning projects.
      Enjoy your time alone with your husband. It’s an important ingredient to keeping a marriage strong, healthy and happy.

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