Monday, January 18, 2010

Let the Vacation Planning Begin!

We have had a difficult time trying to plan our summer vacation this year.  For whatever reason, we just could not work out the dates for vacation this year.  We already have too many things planned, but after much indecision, a final decision has been made!  We are going to Washington State to visit my Brother-In- Law and Sister-In-Law!  This trip is long overdue, as every time we tried to figure out how to do it, we would come back to not having enough vacation to make it there and back and a visit, too!

Well, we took advantage of a built in holiday -  Memorial Day, which gives us a longer weekend.  We are actually able to go for 14 days with taking only 5 days off.  We really discussed not taking the Airstream with us to save on gas mileage and time (I know that was a sin!), but finally decided that for a family of 6 plus a dog, it is much more econmical to pay a little extra gas mileage, and not have to get hotels out and back.  Plus, we have more room to pack clothes and food in.  We found after a weekend in a hotel over Christmas, that we can barely get everything in for 2 days, let alone 14 days!

Needless to say, let the planning begin!  For some, it may seem a burden to plan out many of the details of a vacation as much as I do, but hey, I hate to worry about food and laundry while on vacation (and believe me, with 4 kids, there's a lot of both!)

Something we haven't done in the past though, is stay at State Parks or Wal-mart parking lots in the past.  Usually, when we have been on a long trip, we stayed safe by having reservations at RV parks at our destination.  Locally, we love the state and county parks, but when going across country, we felt more secure in trying something new and saving money along the way!  (We also had family to check out the best parks in Washington for us.)

So, with that in mind, we will be making some repairs adjustments to the Airstream in the near future to accomodate a long trip.  Some of the things that have to be done on our Honey Do list to the right are:
  1. Redo electrical
  2. Hook up battery power (again)
  3. Convert the goucho into bigger bed....(I pray!)
  4. Make Table
  5. Install Gas lines for heater
  6. Install Heater
Stay tuned to our trip updates in the near future!  We don't have long before our trip!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Streamin' on the Cheap

As we enter the year 2010, it seems that the economy doesn’t have much sunshine in its future. In my opinion, this is a great time to be an Airstreamer, because we have what others need in desperate times – an Airstream! Many may think that I have now lost my mind, but I want to tell you why I think that owning and using an Airstream, is truly a cost-effective way to travel and enjoy family time.

As a family of six, I need to mention the savings along the road. There are so many rewards to taking your own bed, kitchen, and bathroom with you. For families, an Airstream can free up funds to do things you never dreamed you could provide during tight times. Really, the road is the limit as to what you can discover in this great nation that we live in! I want to point out some of the savings that can be found down the road.

Our family is often too big for one hotel room, so the cost of a vacation is double, just in rooms! The cost of sleeping is usually around $25 a night for us in a campground, giving us a savings of $150+ per night! If you add that up to our usually 10-day vacation, we could get an Airstream with our $1500 savings! One year of staying near home enabled us to save up money to buy a “new” Airstream last year. I was reminded at Christmas of the work it takes to load and unload and load and unload a hotel room with kids! We only add our clothes and food to the Airstream and go – so simple!

We have so often taken a trip and haven’t quite gotten on the road at the right time, so the kids (and Dad) are hungry an hour or two down the road. We can pull over at any wayside, park or parking lot and cook dinner. Most times its just sandwiches, but hey, we could make a five-course meal if we wanted! Our fondest memories of trips have been on those stops, because it never fails that someone can’t resist us and knock on the door to tell us their Airstream stories. Our savings for dinner – at least $60! Multiply that by three times a day and a ten-day vacation we have saved a whopping $1800! Now, all together, our savings for one, ten-day trip would be $3300!

Of course, you may be thinking, “well, you still have gas expenses.” Gas prices will depend on how far you go. Maybe some years you don’t go as far, and others you do. Several years ago, we took a ten-day trip to Glacier and Yellowstone National Parks with three kids and a dog. The total cost was $1200 including all entertainment, eating out, gas (which was over $3/gallon) and souvenirs. I planned and packed all food and clothes for the entire trip (I just was not going to do laundry on my vacation!). The experiences we had as a family were priceless!

I never count the food we bring and make ourselves, or even the occasional grocery run, to be an expense of a trip, because we would eat at home and have the same expense at home. It takes more planning, but we find our trips to be more enjoyable, because we don’t have to think about what’s for dinner tonight! I always pack extra treats, like plenty of S’mores too, which makes it more fun along the road.

Overall, I want you to remember as you see your own families and friends cut out their leisure time and vacations because of the economy, be sure to remind them that there are other options besides staying in a hotel or condo for a week. Disney is not the only destination, either (although you can do that in an Airstream, too!). We have a whole United States to explore and meet new friends. Be sure to share your passion!

See you down the road…

Monday, January 4, 2010

Happy New Year!

I hope that you enjoy last January's picture of our backyard after a snowstorm on the heading.  We don't have such a great opportunity to take a picture of both the Airstreams this year, as they are spending their winter in a separation.  The 1963 is in the back yard, while the 1953 awaits next to the garage for a possible winter get-away with Dad & the kids!  It's been in the minus temperatures over the New Year, so it's not looking good, although the 1953 is in the 100's when the furnace is turned on.  (We usually have to just have it on pilot, or it turns into a little sweat lodge!) 

I pray that God bless you in the New Year - 2010!