Sunday, March 23, 2014

The Week Before

Vacation!  Finally! Despite good intentions of blogging four days this last week, I didn't get it done.  You know how crazy things get right before a break?  Add to that a full moon, two morning meetings and long evening workouts, my week was spent before I could say "Is it Friday yet?"  Funny how that happens.  

My classes did a project planning their ideal spring break on a budget, albeit a highly unrealistic budget of $15K.  I wanted to them to think big and consider things they haven't before.  I also wanted them to see the how much things really cost, especially when you wait until the last minute to book a vacation.  For some the exercise was eye opening.  They thought about cab fare, and gas to the airport.  They considered passports and airport snacks.  Others have had so few experiences they don't know how (or why) to consider time at Disney.  And that's ok!  It's ok to do cost comparison.  That's exactly what I wanted to see from them!  I also wanted them to write out a budget, giving them something similar to a checkbook register to calculate balance remaining and total spent.  The most interesting thing about the budget tracker was the sheer shock at seeing how much some things cost and how they decreased the balance.  Those who chose not to complete the budget sheet tended to spend more money whereas those who tracked each expense were more cost conscious. They also earned a higher grade simply for following directions.    

Those who didn't track expenses were also more likely to not take the assignment seriously.  I heard comments like "I'm never going to do this" and "I've never been on spring break before so I don't think should I plan one now".  Is this a product of poverty or is this just apathy for the assignment in general?  There seemed to be a correlation between poverty and the apathetic attitude surrounding the assignment.  It's sad to see 13 and 14 year olds not dream simply because of lack of experiences.  $15000 was overwhelming for them.  Perhaps I needed to reduce the amount and encourage thrifty spending.  

Growing up we never went on spring break.  It's not that we couldn't afford to, it just wasn't a priority.    My husband's family were dairy farmers.  I've always wanted to do something special for spring break with my kids.  Two years ago we went on our first spring break.  Since them I've wanted nothing more than to sit on a beach for a week every spring.  Last year wasn't feasible with my job.  This year finances don't allow for it.  This class project inspired some hope that I could find something for us that involved warm weather, sunny beaches, and affordability.   I was optimistic.  Alas, it didn't.   I've found some great deals on accommodations.  Travel expenses are another story all together.  And that is where planning wins out.  As much as I love to be spontaneous, the Type A in me freaks out, ok, more like has a full blown meltdown, and needs to know when, where, and how much.  It's the how much that gets me every time.  Ultimately the weather kicked the idea clean out of the park.  Cloudy, rainy and cool every place I could kind of afford.  Well played, fiscal responsibility.  

Now this doesn't mean we will sit around here and do nothing.  We will likely take some day trips, maybe an overnight  in a hotel with a pool so the kids can swim.  The Children's Museum is on the list, as are Bass Pro,  Cabella's, perhaps a trip to Chicago, and definitely some shopping. 

Until next year, sunny beaches.  

What do you do for spring break?  Are you a spontaneous vacationer? 

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