Thursday, February 12, 2009

The Big Summer Question

The sign of a good summer (IMO) is having a clear answer to the question: "What did you do this summer?"

When the summer is a mish-mash, you give a wishy-washy answer. When the summer is memorable and unique it has a clarity to it -- you give a clear answer.

Last summer turned out to be a mish-mash. It was *almost* a clear summer... Vee and Kee got jobs in New Zealand, but we couldn't get the work visas in time so we ended up spending the summer in the bay area with the kids going to camps and me doing the same-old, same-old, all of us doing fun (but random) activities.

I do not want to do another mish-mashy summer.

So, on a purely analytical level, basing decision on cost (since cost drives the decision), here's what we spent last year:

Summer = 10 weeks long
Camp = $250-400 per week, average $325 per week x2 for both kids
Total summer camp cost = $6,500
Weekends usually end up being something special, going horseback riding, tickets to museums and movies... I don't think we have gotten out of a summer weekend for less than $100
Weekend costs x10 weekends = $1,000
Total summer cost $7,500

Aee and I were playing with the numbers yesterday and found out that:
Tickets to Barcelona, Spain = $420 per person round trip
Total plane tix = $1,260
Rent a villa on the beach $170/wk = $1,700
Miscellaneous touristy costs at $100/wk = $1,000
Total summer cost = $3,960


Could it possibly be cheaper to spend the summer lounging on the beach in Barcelona than hanging at home? Nearly half the cost?


What am I missing?

Here are a few other budgetary factoids:

* Food -- You would think that eating overseas would be a huge line on the budget, but my kids eat light and like to eat in whenever possible. On previous long trips, our food costs have either broken even or been less than if we had stayed home as long as the hotel / villa / flat / apt has a stove.

* Car -- We would have to rent in an area with a bus line or have everything within walking distance. The kiddos are now strong enough to walk nearly everywhere. As long as we're not in a too-terribly isolated place, we can get by without a car. A rare taxi ride is ok. It would probably still be cheaper than the gas we would use at home on "as usual" gas use.

* Work -- My work allows me to go on autopilot, committing about an hour a day to the daily grind then I am available for other things (such as beach time). If I was on the beach in Barcelona, I would have plenty of time to continue work and possibly finish a project that is overdue, but still has promised payment at the end of it. Hum... I wonder (thrilling to the thought) if by some bizarre chance I might actually come out *ahead* when all is said and done...

If you have any advice for me, any words of wisdom or just general feedback, email me at my regular address. I'm still keeping comments closed because I hate moderating, but please do let me know if you have any feedback. It seems a bit odd... but it might work out!