How to decide when traveling on a budget?

So the last time we talked about deciding. Here’s what we decided:

  • When do we want to go?
    • Since it’ll be awhile till we have any public holiday… we decided end of Feb or early March would be great
  • How far do we want to travel, in a car or on a plane or via train?
    • Plane is fine if it’s less than 5 hours (like our car ride to St. Louis)
  • How much are we willing to sacrifice routine and schedules?
    • A lil is ok… but we’ll stick to the Logan’s routine as much as possible
  • How important is it to have something to do with the kids?
    • Very important! 
  • What are you kids interested in doing or like to do?
    • Logan loves water
    • Lena loved the beach the last time
    • Both love dinosaurs
    • Both love the aquarium
  • Which part would you want to save most money on? Travel or accommodation or activities?
    • Might be able to use airline miles
    • What about all-inclusive packages?
  • Where should we go?
    • We are flexible in this section as long as it fits in our budget
  • What’s our budget?
    • No more than $3,500 in total!
Our travel Trello board

So, we documented everything, narrowed down our search and move forward with our next step… RESEARCH!!!
And boy was this hard… when you don’t care where you go, as long as it’s a warm beach in February or March… it’s still a very broad search.

Florida is warm… but with global warming not a 100% guaranteed warm…
Scratch that!

All inclusive or what?
So we did some searching… actually… A LOT OF SEARCHING!

Please ignore the mess in our family room…

We had our laptops next to each other doing research together… but it’s so hard to pick a place because we didn’t really care where we were going as long as it is less than 4 hour flight that does not interfere with nap time; easy access to beach; all-inclusive for 4 nights around our budget…

Here’s what we have learned:

  • We’ve learned that it’s way more expensive if you book flights separate from bundle for All-inclusive resorts
  • There’s ratings from the websites, and reviews from All-inclusive customers that you should read. Highly encourage you at least look at three sites on ratings, reviews and pricing before booking. Some sites we’ve looked into:
  • There’s a lot of “gotcha” when booking All-inclusive hotels (based on what we’ve read)
    • Some things are Elite / VIP package visitors only
    • Making dinner reservations everyday (why???)
    • Kids under 12 not allowed in some restaurants
    • Not include shuttle
    • Etc.

So based on the research we have done, we are going to give Resort Vacations To Go concierge service a try to see if we can stay to our criteria. Will keep all updated 😀

How do you decide on your vacation? Share your experience with us!

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