Budget? What Budget?

Today I post as part of BootsnAll’s 30 Days of Indie Travel project, a daily blogging challenge with a prompt for every day in November 2011. I've only just discovered the series, so I am arriving a bit late to the game. Today's topic: Travel Budget


The cursed budget....the spoiler of all that is good in the travel world. The king of the kibosh, and the dasher of Five Diamond dreams.

I hate budgets, both in travel and in real life, but like just about everyone I have a budget for both. The problem I tend to have is they are rather loosely enforced. When I plan a trip, things always start out big, and then as the time comes to actually write the check, I tend to think better of my current plans, and scale things back to a level which will keep my bank account out of cardiac arrest. The best example of this is our upcoming trip to Disneyland and Las Vegas.

When we started planning our trip out west, I had grand visions of where we would stay and what we would eat. These are the two most important things on vacation for me, and as usual, I dreamed big.  For our accommodations, I booked us a one-bedroom suite at the Hyatt Orange County, and in Vegas a Tower Suite at The Mirage. Fast forward about two months and several flaws with this arrangement came to light. First, we didn't need a suite in Anaheim, because most of our time would be spent with Mickey and the gang. As for Vegas, well I had a lot of gall reserving a suite that was bigger than our actual home.

Downgrade #1: A concierge level room in Anaheim, and a deluxe room at the Mirage.
Savings: About $1200

Mirage Tower Suite. Why did I think we needed two bathrooms?

In addition to scaling back the hotels, I also went to work on the dining plans I had made. When all was said and done with my original itinerary, there were a total of 6 Michelin stars on the books, and that was just for dinner. How I intended to pay for all those degustation menus is beyond me, but as with the hotels, I went on a slash and burn campaign.

Downgrade #2 - Lose 4 of those stars...
Savings: About $500

As you can see, my approach to budgeting for a trip is slightly different than most. I dream big, slowly drift back to reality, and in the end my trips usually finish right where they belong....under budget. OK, who am I kidding, I've never been under budget a day in my life. But at least the folks at Amex have yet to call and check my vital signs.

~Insert Dude-like Closing Here~

Deej