My family has a trip coming up soon, so I have vacationing on my mind. Usually we plan and take a trip within a few months. This is the first time we planned our trip about a year before actually taking it. I’ve got to say, I think I like the last minute trips better! I’m not big on the waiting, but I refuse to take a trip on credit. That is the reason we planned our trip long before actually booking and taking it. What a great feeling to leave on vacation, spending money in hand, knowing that when we return home we will not have the stress of debt hanging over our heads. I love that part of vacationing but I really am not fond of the waiting phase. I’m more of a last minute, hop on a plane or jump in the car kind of person. Planning and waiting is not really my thing 😉 It definitely has taught me patience and I also have had time to find really good deals (although, when I book last minute, I can usually get a good deal on that as well). When I was growing up, we tended to visit the same locations over and over again. It was great to see family and to get to know an area really well, but with my kids, I really want them to explore the world and to experience new places. I want them to really appreciate what they have and to be open to trying new things. The part I love most about vacations is the relaxation and sightseeing. I love to get away from the tourist areas and really experience how the locals live. I used to love the hustle and bustle of a big city. Now, I prefer the gorgeous views and slower pace of the country. I still love to visit the city, but in moderation. I love budgeting where we will eat and what we will do, so that we can enjoy ourselves without the panic of racking up debt on the credit card. When we went to Disney last year, my husband was thrilled to be able to buy something he didn’t think he could buy, because I had set aside money in advance for each of us for spending money. He really liked being able to get something he really wanted without worrying about the cost. When you are vacationing, you never know what will happen so you have to be flexible. Sometimes things don’t go as planned, but sometimes the unplanned screw ups can be the most memorable. For example, when we were following our GPS through Arkansas, it took us to the middle of a muddy field-with no road in sight. We could have freaked out and gotten upset over the time lost, but instead, my husband decided it was a great time to test out our 4 wheel drive and we drove around the field (sometimes in circles) for awhile trying to find a road (and having fun muddin’). We finally made it to our destination, mud slopping off our car for days. 🙂 It was an unexpected adventure but it was very memorable. The kids still talk about it to this day. I have a lot of expectations for our cruise that is coming up in just 3 months, but I know that things could happen that were not expected. We are determined to go with the flow and have a great time no matter what. We will plan for the worst, pray for the best, and have a relaxing, enjoyable time. I hope you remember when planning your vacations to not hold too tight to your schedule, to budget overage money (I always plan 10-15% over budget), and to save up in advance to prevent regret, fighting with your spouse over money, and to cushion the cost of any unexpected deals you find along the way.