Are There Other Practical Options?


Who’s ready for summer vacation?  Or has your vacation turned into a stay-cation?

It’s no news gas prices have reached above the $4.00 mark here in the United States and elsewhere.  This has translated into the cost of just about everything increasing in price as well.

I saw a survey quoting 69% of folks WILL NOT be canceling their driving vacation plans due to rising fuel costs.  I was actually surprised by that number.  I thought more people would be influenced to stay closer to home while gasoline reaches a new all-time high every day.

I suppose vacation time is more sacred to families than what can be lost in dollars at the pump. 

New experiences to enjoy, family togetherness and needed decompression time must override the sickening feeling you get every time you fill up the car with gasoline.

What would happen if summer vacations disappeared altogether or shrunk to the point of small, overnight trips to the local lake or ocean?  Would that be enough to give the mind the relaxation it craves?

Or is it more important to give our kids and/or ourselves a bang-buster trip to remember and daydream about during winter’s dreary months?  Do the kids need a great trip to write about for that first essay topic in the Fall?

Is vacation time still priceless even though your travel dollars are worth less and less?

For me, the extravagant vacations of the past will have to be just that…in the past.  As I try to wrap my head, heart and finances around trying to get a vineyard planted, all other unnecessary spending must come to a halt, at least in the short-term.

We will spend time in Mendocino, Oregon and the Napa valley this summer.  All not too far but in many ways a world of difference from our little town. 

My kids will awe in the wonders of Glass Beach.  They will run, jump and play on our land in the Willamette Valley.  And they will have no problem raising heck at wineries in Napa, a place they have always felt comfortable.

So my question is, has anyone flat-out canceled their “driving vacation” plans. Has the cost of fuel made it totally unaffordable for you to go?  Maybe you’re staying home on priciple.  Or are you going along with your original plans regardless of the madness at the pumps?

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58 Comments

  1. Lori 1

    We will definitely go riding around the island a lot less compared to past summers. :(

    Reply
  2. Neen 2

    I wish. Unfortunately, Do and I drew metaphorical lots and it’s my job to drive our car from D.C. to the Bay Area as part of our move next month. No joke: we have been savings for these expenses since literally my first day in my post-college job, a year ago. I’m really really glad we did. Loans for graduate school are a given; it seems rather ridiculous to have take out loans to move to freakin’ grad school!!

    Reply
  3. Pretty much all of our trips the past year and for this summer are college visits. We have one more journey to the Carolinas, and that should be it! On another note, I am getting rid of my SUV and getting a hybrid in the Fall. As I see it, every little bit helps…

    Reply
  4. Howdy 4

    Although my summer will be all about moving at the end of June… my granddaughter and daughter are here visiting and we are going to go and do some day trips around the area in addition to visiting family that live within a 5 hour drive. I’m not interested in spending $$ on gas and $$ on high cost entry fees too so our destinations will be chosen carefully. I’ve always believed it’s more about the time you spend with kids and not how much money you spend.

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  5. Meg 5

    The new word for vacations this summer is “staycation” or “FAcation” from what I keep hearing. Both of these terms meaning that peeps will be staying home. We didn’t really have any trips planned other than by air this summer so it’s not too bad. We do go to Dallas all the time and that is a 350 stretch in itself. THAT is enough gas for me!

    Reply
  6. The price of gas will not affect what I do for fun and vacation…it does affect my errand running. But, my closest grocery is 15 mile round trip and my usual/preferred shopping run/dr, dentist,vet,hair salon is 60-80 mile trip so I think more about consolidating appointments.

    Reply
  7. The world is full of gorgeous and educational places I’d like my kids to see; that said, some of the best vacations I’ve ever taken have been pseudo-trips at home. Unplugging the TV, the computers, MOST IMPORTANTLY the phone… eating food usually reserved for vacation… even hopping in the car and trying to see our own town through tourist eyes.

    It’s better than it sounds, believe me.

    (By the way, there are actually lots of little things people can do to increase gas mileage, and I’m not sure they’re doing them: slow down. Take all unnecessary weight out of your car. Keep the tires filled. You’d be surprised how far it all goes.)

    Reply
  8. I saw the same report you did and I was kind of shocked. I thought more people would stay home as a result of the rising gas prices, but apparently not.

    We had wanted to take a trip out to California this summer to see my family and new nephew who arrives in a few weeks, but we decided against it. The price of plane tickets is astronomical, and add to that the price of a rental car and gas to drive us all over the state (my family is scattered between Newport Beach and the high dessert) and the trip would have cost us more than we could afford.

    Instead we are going to stay in state and spend a week at Cape Cod. We’ve rented a really nice cottage in Eastham near a beach. We plan on just going down, vegging out and relaxing. We did a big trip to Florida and Universal Studios last year, so this year we’re keeping it smaller and much more simple.

    I think your kids will have a great time at the vineyards. I’ve noticed with kids all they really need is space to run and play. If they’ve got that, then they are more than happy.

    Reply
  9. Karly 9

    We are actually taking our first “real” vacation this year. We’ve gone before with other family, but this year it is just me, my husband, and our kids. I can’t wait! However, I’m guessing that we’ll spend around $400 on gas alone and about that? I am sooo not excited. I envy all you people who live so close to such beautiful places. We are smack in the middle of a cornfield. 😉

    Reply
  10. grace 10

    my home is 700 miles away (insert tear-streaked face here), so that trip alone pretty much scraps any visions of a separate vacation for me. i have, however, decided to take a train into nyc (my first time), so that shall count as my vacation this year. don’t worry, i’ll spoil myself with food. :)

    Reply
  11. Julena Jo 11

    Like Karly, I am also in the middle of a cornfield. My hopes for a vacation have been reduced but not eliminated by the soaring gas prices. However, I am hoping we can find time and resources to do at least a smallish trip. There’s no emoticon for crossed fingers, is there? :)

    Reply
  12. Elle 12

    No, we won’t be canceling any plans. We love day trips, and the kids do, too. And since NH is a small state, day trips are not very difficult–everything is pretty close. Part of our stimulus check will go towards a new pool, though, and that will make the long summer seem less “Mom, we’re BORED!” hehe.

    Reply
  13. Steph 13

    I won’t let it stop me. I need some sort of vacation. We don’t usually go real far, just up north a ways. There are quite a few places that we can go that aren’t too far away, so that helps too. Have a great time at the vineyard!

    Reply
  14. Harmony 14

    We have never had any planned trips..*gasp*..how awful is that?! It is sad but true, not to say that we don’t go anywhere…we just do not plan anything out. While the gas prices should hold us back, I do plan to maintain the “in the moment” lifestyle and head out as the days call for it. Wait, wait, wait…We did plan 2 trips…anything involving flights would need to be planned…right?! LOL…maybe I am not as carefree as I thought I was :)

    Reply
  15. sharon 15

    We drove to Phoenix for Memorial Day & we probably spent more money on gas than it would’ve cost to fly there. Oh well. It’s nice to have the car and be on your own schedule. We’re driving to LA to visit family this weekend, so I suppose my answer is NO! :) American Airlines 1st baggage charge is damaging, though.

    Reply
  16. Dixie 16

    We will totally be sticking close to home….with gas prices rising, grocery prices rising…just can not swing it…we usually drive to SC every summer….we just can’t justify it this year.

    Reply
  17. Alisa 17

    Our “big” vacation this year is to visit relatives via the airplane. Already paid for, so we’re still going. I’m sure the trips to the beach, etc. will lessen this year. There are a lot of gas stations around here that charge a tad less if you pay with cash. We’ve been doing that instead of the card at the pump. That way not only are we saving money and making a statement, we’re also sticking it to the credit card companies. Small steps maybe, but they make me feel a little better!

    Reply
  18. Our travel plans are still “All Systems Go.” We’re driving for 8 hours to our first destination and then 4 hours the next day and then at least an hour for three more days until we do the revers (4 hours and 8 hours home). But, ours is a trip to see all the family we left behind when we moved to our current state. We try to go back at least once a year. Flying wouldn’t work, because of the podunk places in three different states we need to go…so driving it is.

    We also try to do a “real” vacation in addition to this Tour of the Midwestern Trifecta, but the driving is pretty minimal on that (comparitively)…we live pretty close to some really cool stuff.

    Thankfully, we’re in the financial position to handle it, and my car gets REALLY good gas mileage. :)

    Reply
  19. Stephanie 19

    My husband, 2 boys and I are going to the San Francisco Bay Area in August to help celebrate my dad’s 60th birthday. Without the help of my parents, we would not be going. It’s the first trip together for us, the last time we all went was when I was 3 months pregnant with my youngest. After that we probably will only go on trips to Galveston for the next few years.

    Reply
  20. vanessa 20

    Have plans to drive up to cape cod this summer and no way I will cancel those!! However, we are in Brooklyn and do not drive here, so we do not really feel the strain that so many others are, now. Maybe I shouldn’t be so harsh on the yucky smelly subway stations…

    Reply
  21. Leslie 21

    I FEEL the gas prices..I spend more than $800 on gas a month. I just had to have that new Yukon XL..Oh well!
    You comment about swiss cheese on my site….I am a cheese sissy! I know its crazy! Gorgonzola??PUKING!!

    Reply
  22. Claudia 22

    My honey flew to FLA this morning. He said his flight was half empty. Sign of the times?

    As for me, anytime/where with my family is a vacation. Or is it withOUT them? I never can get that quite right. 😉

    Reply
  23. Do you know that in Saudi Arabia they pay 59 cents a gallon for gas? We are being plundered and since we have made ourselves import dependent I guess we are eating our just desserts. i’m all for local trips, close by trips, anything that can be done without having to fly a stinkin strip search sky bus. Air travel is not what it used to be. We are driving 11 hours to Florida. Beach gotta have it.

    Reply
  24. Unfortunately, we are in the 31 percent who are not taking a driving vacation this year. We’ll probably go camping a couple of weekends, but no major trips.

    Reply
  25. Teri 25

    I am moving to the S.F. Bay area this Summer with my kids… so I guess that is a combined “vacation”. I switched to a smaller car because of gas prices. I actually like it better! But it would have been nice to take a vacation away doing something fun…. moving is not really so much fun! I guess this just makes us more “creative”. Yes, that’s it, creative! Trying to put a positive spin on 4.00 or more a gallon! Not working really, is it!

    Reply
  26. Wendy 26

    We’re still planning a miniroad trip. Ontario to the Finger Lakes. I have to camp, and for what we save in camping fees in NYS – we make up for in fuel. Compare $35 a night to the $13 we pay in NYS!!!

    … and as much as US can complain about gas prices, Canadians complain harder – but just remember people – at least you’re not in the UK. :-)
    😀 MUHAHAHAHAA!! And they wonder why people are leaving that country? Rip-Off Britain! 😀 (haha… sorry, have to have a mini rant about the ol’ homeland – don’t miss it!)

    Reply
  27. Natalie 27

    It would never cause me to cancel a vacation, but I definitely keep it in mind when PLANNING a vacation. We are going to Disneyland in November (no plans for summer) and we are driving. It’s not a long drive from AZ to CA, but I cringe a little thinking about what it will cost in gas.

    I am surprised that most people seem to be less affected/concerned by gas prices than I am. Maybe it’s because I only have one income and it stings a little more.

    I will give Europe their higher gas prices, but they also have a FABULOUS mass transit system. I would complain about gas prices here a little less if I had the same luxury.

    Reply
  28. blair 28

    I am so bummed out about the gas prices I am organizing my errands on a weekly basis rather than a daily basis… as for vacation, I am looking into doing something with my mother that is not too far out of town, but much cooler than Phoenix.
    does any of what I just wrote even make sense to anyone but me?

    Reply
  29. Willa 29

    We are staying home! We can’t afford trekking all over the place at these prices.

    I just found your blog, you were written up in my cities newspaper in Louisiana! What a great site!

    Reply
  30. Margo 30

    We are staying closer to home this year – it’s just too expensive to drive down to our usual destination in the Carolinas. We’ve had the family meeting and decided that we’re going to go local and hike the beautiful state parks that we usually just pass by. As Maggie said – as long as we’re unplugging the phone, we’re away from it all.

    Reply
  31. Our trip is still on. We are stressed about the price of gas… so we will be cutting back in other ways on our trip.

    Reply
  32. The kids are doing their own thing this summer, K2 will be finishing nursing school, so I guess it’s what TOG and I will do…
    I think it might impact the amount of hiking that we do. With a round trip to a trail head being around 80 miles, that could add up over the summer. However, we’ll probably make hiking a priority and do less of some other things. It breaks my heart, but I don’t really see us getting to Canada this summer. Perhaps we’ll do some hiking in Oregon or Eastern Washington though.

    Reply
  33. While we have not cancelled, we have chosen to stay a bit closer to home. No driving across country. We will go to a neighboring state (probably Texas).

    Reply
  34. Fortunately for me, my summer vacation plans were set aside months ago when we decided to do a full kitchen, bar/dining area and backyard renovation!

    The only thing that’s killing us are the constant gas fill-ups to get us back and forth to the Home Depot!!!

    Reply
  35. Egghead 35

    Other than some trips to the Oregon Coast and maybe across the state to visit relatives we will stick pretty close to home. Dang it.

    Reply
  36. We live here in vacation mecca here in the Okanagan Valley. People flock here in the summer to our beaches and lakes for wakeboarding, hiking, wineries, etc….so I guess if I am stuck here over the summer…it is fine with me:D

    Reply
  37. Kiki 37

    They only pay 59 cents because they don’t have to pay for the fuel to ship it…

    I have a friend that has a lake house in the Poconos for the month of July. I will drive up there, and not move the car for as long as I possibly can.

    I will probably eliminate one (or more :( ) visit to my niece & nephew since I have additional “required” trips for weddings and an Uncle’s 75 birthday.

    Reply
  38. I wish that we were not taking our mandatory vacation! Our whole stimulus check is going to the “vacation” that we are taking to move to Washington. Oh well.

    Reply
  39. HoneyB 39

    We were going to go to Maine the 2nd week of July (after my son’s wedding) but with the cost of everything (including the wedding!) we have decided to stay home. Its sad, but maybe next year we won’t have so much going on. I do think people need to get away sometimes to “clear” their mind of the fog at home and work!

    Reply
  40. Jules 40

    I’m on the east coast…we are very fortunate to have some really cool places to visit in 3 hrs or less so we will do a few weekend trips…Newport, The Hampton’s, Jersey Shore…then perhaps a little golf around the corner with TSANNIE and MentalP:)

    Reply
  41. When you are running on a shoe string budget already, these increased gas, grocery, electric and other higher prices really hurt. I have a two week trip back north to visit my family in Wisconsin from the gulf coast in late July and early August, and bought my plane ticket months ago. Down here, I don’t drive any more than I have to, and the much higher gas prices will prohibit me from being able to work on some rehab projects. That and I am eating less than I have been. No dog or cat food yet though…

    Reply
  42. Flea 42

    Gas prices aren’t driving our decision this summer. We’ll be taking a couple of long weekends around the state with our kids and dogs, exploring, then a longer weekend in the fall. Re-siding our house has driven the decision, and deciding to side it ourselves, thus gobbling our time and money.

    Reply
  43. whoops. when you said Nobel Pig I thought you wuz talking about Dubya. Then I realized, the torture prezident is not noble.

    Reply
  44. It’s not just the gas prices, what about the cost of food? Where I live it cost about $2 for a cheap loaf of bread… Why? and with kids (4) I would need about a loaf a day. And now the airlines charging for baggage. Might as well lock myself in a cupboard for the summer and call it a trip

    Reply
  45. Liz C. 45

    I say “Why let the children just inherit all our money?” We’re going through with our plans. Three different trips, but hey – we’re entitled at this age. It’s time for us to run around & have fun. I did all the required mom/kid trips w/ friends in tow… several times a year. We always had fun whether it was skiing in Taos or skiing at the lake. Schlitterbahn or Six Flags. But gas times were better back then. Since we’re 5 hours from any major city, it’s always been a long, expensive haul no matter where we go.

    Reply
  46. Our vacations are done for the summer. Our trip to the beach always happens at the beginning of May, so the gas prices, every year, start to go up on our return trip home..around the 12th.
    And we did a short Memorial Day jaunt as well. And now we’re home in the heat and the garden and not traveling. It’s bad enough getting back and forth to work and we have changed our thinking about how we cook..no more running to the store for one ingredient. I cannot help but think about Sweden, a friend is from there, 8 bucks a gallon for gas, free college, free health care, happy people.

    Reply
  47. We’ve never taken very frequent or extravagent vacations. I think we’ve taken 3 big family trips in our 18 years and those were definitely budget–driving instead of flying, mostly tents instead of hotels, and camping/outdoor/free stuff instead of Disney World or the like.

    We didn’t have a family trip planned for this summer, but different members of our family are taking some small trips. This weekend MIL and SIL are taking the three younger kids to Worlds of Fun in Kansas City (3 1/2 hours). Next week the boys are headed 2 1/2 hours south to a weeklong paintball D-Day re-enactment and I am headed 4 hours north to archaeology field school. In July I’ll be driving 14yods to a two week wrestling camp 2 hours south of us. He’s been working hard all year to earn money for it. I’m tempted to tell dh that I’ll just camp out nearby to save gas, but really I’m a little anxious about ds going all alone. In August dh has been invited to California for a Bible study thing. They bought his ticket and he bought me one so I could come along. I’ve never been to California! Hmmm…that actually sounds like quite a lot. It’s more than usual anyway.

    We are trying to cut back in a lot of different areas and especially on driving, but it is hard when you live 30 miles from things.

    Reply
  48. We’ve had a flight to the east coast planned for about a year so that vacation is happening. We DID, however, cancel our yearly 10 hour trip to Tahoe this summer. We figured it would cost us about 800 just in gas.

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  49. Tipper 49

    We will be staying close to home this summer. Our area has been especially hit hard by the housing mess. New construction being the main stay of our county and it has slid to zero building. So between the gas and my husband being a contractor there’ll be no extra driving.

    Reply
  50. As a struggling artist (that is what I call myself as I delve deeper & deeper into my wine related project) I have been limiting extravagant expenses for some time now. The cost of gas and rising costs for other commodities has me further devising as many creative ways to “vacation” without the need to travel far distances or spend gobs of money…

    I wonder if these tough times can shift the thinking in this wonderful nation of ours away from materialism and more towards appreciating the important things in life such as health and family….

    Reply
  51. mitchsmom 51

    We got a pool instead of doing a big trip, so we’ll be “vacationing” all summer in our own backyard!

    Although we loved our fancy vacation last year, I don’t think my kids will care one little bit that we aren’t doing one this year.

    I would say we have defintely changed our driving habits… we live 10-15 miles out of our town so we wait until we really *must* go to town instead of going for every little thing like before.

    Reply
  52. Shirley 52

    We are still going on our vacations: one a family diving trip to the Caribbean (most likely Mexico), a motorcycle trip for hubby and me (not due to gas prices–this vacation we do every year), hubby has a diving trip planned to Bali that’s been planned for 2 1/2 years, and finally, we’ll probably do short vacations to visit friends out of state. Like Ann from MT, we have changed errands because we are 25 miles from “town” and 65 miles from doctors and other appts, as well as our son who is in college. I’ll make other concessions if need be, but not on our vacations. They mean a lot to all of us.

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  53. Erin 53

    We’re on vacation now. My mouth drops open everytime we fill up. Love the clafoutis-they look so beautiful with the dusting of powdered sugar. This is my first time on your blog and I’m smitten with the name.

    Reply
  54. do some freelance travel writing and then you get a vacay at someone else’s expenses! It works well: car sits idle for 5 days or so, ergo saving on gas, utilities aren’t used for same amount of time and you get to be treated like a princess!
    Go enjoy yourself, and then send me some of your pitted cherries! :)

    nice job!

    Reply
  55. Cynthia 55

    Well, we’re thrilled at the fact that we have to put on 1200+ miles on the highways this summer! We’re going to North Carolina to get our BABIES very soon :)

    Naturally, though, that’s a ton of money in gas. Right now in our town gas is $4.55 a gallon. No that is not a typo. Ulp!

    We did, however, buy a new car that’s significantly more gas-efficient (though larger than) my Jeep Grand Cherokee. That’s good news, at least.

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  56. That looks absolutely fabulous. Mouth watering. The little ramekin dishes make the presentation terrific too.

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  57. What a lovely looking dessert! It looks perfect for summertime!

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  58. Mrs. L 58

    I don’t think people have changed their “general” already planned vacation plans. We have a trip to Disneyland that we booked ages ago for the end of summer. We are still going. What we are not doing is taking those “weekend” jaunts to places even close by since gas is so expensive.

    Reply

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