Daily Archives: August 25, 2011

East Coast Canada Vacation Budget Recap

If you want to skip the number crunching and just look at some pretty pictures, check out my sneak peak post here.  For the numbers, read on.

PF Confession: I admit that I don’t usually budget for vacations.

I mean, I kinda know how much they cost, but I haven’t really sat down to crunch the numbers with BF before a vacation.  This time, I did a back-of-napkin rough calculation for our 10 day trip, and I was a little appalled at how even a domestic trip can be so expensive.

Luckily, BF and I came under budget but there is definitely room for improvement. Let’s take a look at the numbers. These numbers are my part of the trip only.

Actual Vacation Expense $1,704.34

Flights

The Airlines were having a 30% off sale at the time we were traveling.  Unfortunately, we missed the 40% off sale by one day.  Drats!  Train tickets were also on sale when we booked them for 50% off.  Score!

Taking the train was really nice and a highlight of our trip.  BF and I got to do some reading while enjoying the scenery, and we also had a nice lunch on the dining car.  It felt very fancy and historical – like we stepped back to the 1920’s.  Definitely recommend this.

Accommodations

We stayed 10 nights.  Two nights were “free” since BF paid with reward points.  One night, we stayed in a university dorm room.  The rest were a combination of B&B and Inns which ranged between $110 to $120 a night.

I tried to use my Entertainment book to get some savings, but I don’t think there was too much out east that had deals.  I’m thinking if we had booked our hotels ahead of time, we may have been able to score some deals.  However, since we only stayed a couple nights in each place, it’s hard to say.

Food

BF and I ate out a lot. A. Lot.  It’s something that we both enjoy doing and we really take advantage of it during vacations.

We had too much a lot of great seafood for lunch and dinner (at times).  We also started our obsession with lobster in the most expensive city of Halifax (~$40 for 1.5lb) and ended our journey in the cheapest town of Alma (~$7/lb).

However, it is difficult to cook in B&B’s and certain hotels.  Next time, we may try to stay in a place with a kitchenette and stay longer.  That way we can cook more of our meals.  We definitely could have saved some cash by planning and making  our lunches.

Attractions

I had budgeted for a fair amount of bicycle rental and attractions, but we actually ended up doing very little of either.  Most days were pretty gloomy, wet and cold, so we ended up walking or driving.

This included our tickets for the Alexander Keith Brewery tour and admission to Bay of Fundy’s Hopewell Rocks.   Luckily for us, we visited Green Gables and the beach on “Park Day”, and didn’t have to pay for any admission tickets (~$35).

Car Rental & Gas

Car rental was pretty expensive.  Since BF and I were renting the car from the airport location, we paid a premium (+16%).  Since we were not returning the car to the airport, we paid another $50 for drop-off fee. Ouch.

Looking back, we didn’t really need our car for the 2 days we spent in Halifax.  Most attractions around the city are within walking distance of our hotel, so we could have saved almost 2 days worth of rental and the stupid airport fees (~$170) – ouch.

Oh well, live and learn, right?

Gifts

I bought Anne dolls for my sisters, a bottle of wild blue berry juice for my parents and a post card for myself.

Conclusion

I was able to spend less than I originally anticipated – which is great, but we spent more than what BF had in mind.

BF and I agreed that there were things we could have done to save money and would not have affected the enjoyment of our trip too much.  We could have done a bit more planning for accommodations and meals, and of course, our car rental.

It was a vacation, after all, so I am trying not to beat myself up over it.  I am glad we had a little recap so that we can better plan our next vacation in a way that is both enjoyable for us and our wallets.

How much do you plan and budget for vacations?  What are some tips or suggestions you have for me and BF?

Cheers,

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