We just returned from a vacation to Disney World and a cruise to the Caribbean. It was a long, expensive, and memorable journey, and I hope all our family members will remember it for a very long time. To be honest I like this category of spending because gathering the experiences together is what will stay with us and be remembered by our kids. It was also a wonderful way to finish 2019. When we attain financial independence, we will have free time to gather even more experiences. Although it was expensive, vacation was a happy way to spend in 2019. It was much better spending on travel than upgrading my old 2007 Honda Civic, which I am postponing until the car is undrivable.
Disney and Universal
In the first week we visited three Disney World parks, three Universal parks, and Sea World, all in Orlando. The Disney parks were Magic Kingdom, Epcot, and Hollywood Studios. At Universal Orlando we visited Universal Studios, Islands of Adventure, and Volcano Bay. All parks were selected based on reviews on the internet. The tickets alone for me and the two boys cost about 3,000 CAD. It was an unforgettable experience that was worth every dollar.
Symphony of the Seas
The second week we cruised from Miami, which is about a three-hour drive from Orlando. The Royal Caribbean ship Symphony of the Seas took us to the East Caribbean, stopping at Saint Martin, San Juan, and Coco Cay in the Bahamas. Coco Cay island was paradise on Earth. The cost totaled around 8,000 CAD, including gratitude, for our family of five.
We explored Miami for a few days during the third week. We took a bus tour, visited Sunny Isles (AKA Little Moscow), Miami Beach, and Little Havana, explored Everglades National Park, and had dinner at the Oasis restaurant, which specializes in Uzbek cuisine. Evenings were spent on a nice Airbnb house patio in one of the residential areas of Miami. This part of the trip cost us around 3,000 CAD.
Happy Spending Cost
Let’s add the airfare cost of 1,600 CAD and the food, which was about 1,000 CAD, to get a vacation price of about 17,000 CAD. It was certainly worth it. We saw many new places and the weather was sunny at 27 °C. We ate Uzbek cuisine, which tasted like the food from the country where I was born. On the ship it was a new experience to spend a couple hundred dollars playing poker in the casino; we also bought a couple of inexpensive pictures at the auction and attended musical, ice, and water shows, jazz evenings, and more. The ship features a small ice rink, patented by the Royal Caribbean Company, and no other cruise company has it.
In August of 2017, we cruised from our home in Vancouver to Alaska, and I
described that vacation in this post. I mentioned then that Disney shares might be a promising investment. If we bought shares today, we would receive only capital gains of about 50% mixed with dividend hikes. On this trip we saw the entertainment industry at its best. It is amazing how such surroundings can make you willing to spend money. The only disadvantage I see in investing in the entertainment industry is the risk that this spending will dwindle if the economy slows or goes into recession.
We do not go on many vacations, so some of the spending was unpredictable. I was under the impression that buying tickets for the adventure parks, cruise ship, and airliners would be the biggest portion of the money spent on the vacation. Tickets should be accounted for, but there were other categories that were not taken into consideration prior to our amazing trip. These expenses included taxis, restaurants, the Everglades park, a bus tour in Miami, food, the casino on the boat, and shopping items. It is much easier to shop while on vacation. As the budget planner and CFO of the family (my wife calls me that), I am okay with the spending so long as we stay on our path to financial freedom. A brief check shows that we will be very close to achieving our financial goals set in the 2019
Financial Goals post.
Many to Come
Now it seems that I have never spent so much continuous time with our kids; we were together days and nights for almost three weeks. We plan to do it more often.
I am glad we have already set up income streams that will increase in time
without our intervention. Our income streams also make me feel relaxed when we spend money on vacations because I know that our plan for financial freedom works and we will get there. Now I am even more confident than ever in our path to financial freedom even with the happy spending on a vacation like this.