September is our big month for vacations most years, but this year it is looking like our only month for vacation. The last few years we have spent a week in Portland, Oregon, revisiting our favorite hiking spots and eating at all the cool little eateries, and also attending at least one day of the Reno National Championship Air Races. M love, Love, LOVES aviation and planes. It’s rather endearing, and I can usually be amused enough to endure a day or two of it. This year we are attending Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, so I am hoping this buys me a free pass from other air local air shows. With driving down on Thursday night and driving home on Monday it will be a lot like vacation. Last year we drove down on Friday night, went to the races Saturday and Sunday, and then drove home Sunday night. We were both exhausted, but especially M, who always drives. This year, I decided we would stay over an extra night and drive home Monday. We will get home early enough to have time to unpack and before I return to the office on Monday.
So I was making reservations last night and firming up the logistics of our travels. Last year we took the shuttle bus from downtown Reno out to the airport, and let me just say it was $80 (for 2 days) well spent. Yes, it was a ridiculously expensive bus ride for non-drinkers, but worth every penny in the hassle and stress of searching for parking and then getting out to the freeway after being outside all day. The way costs are adding up it’s going to be an expensive event. Here’s what I have so far:
- Hotel – 4 nights – $150/night with taxes and fees = $600
- Shuttle tickets – $51/each for the 3 days – $102
- Event tickets – $120/each for the 3 days – $240
- Pit passes – $100/each for the 3 days – $200 (M may be willing to have only a single day pit pass. We can save $130 if we visit the pits only one day.)
We are at $1100 and have not even factored in food and drink, and a tank of gas there and back. If we spend less than $1500 for the entire event it will surprise me.
This event represents about 50% of our base annual vacation budget. The money is sitting around waiting to be spent, but every time I sit down and add up our planned spending I have sticker shock. Because this is not even in my top 10 of vacation destination events I am glad to have planned accordingly earlier in the year. I would be a lot less zen about this adventure if I had to raid other goal funds to pay for it. But M loves this stuff, and we have the cash and can afford to indulge his passion this year.
Our adventuring budget is always rather fluid and growing throughout the year. I start the year with our base amount, then add to it each month throughout the year. It is nice to have the occasional spontaneous weekend away, knowing it is in the budget and funded. In addition to September’s travel, we will either be going to Monterey or Las Vegas for Thanksgiving and back to the coast in October just because it’s October. Those will be more modest trips with modest expenses, though.
Oh well. This is why I budget, right? To afford the things we really want?