Updated on 07.31.14

The Simple Dollar Weekly Roundup: Vacation Edition

Trent Hamm

What kind of summer vacation does one take with a four year old, a two year old, and an infant? One great way to do this (for us) is to take a vacation with a large group, where lots of people are there to keep eyes on children in small, rotating doses.

So that’s what we’re doing this year. We’re going camping with my in-laws, including both of my sisters-in-law AND one of their significant others. With that large of a group, watching such a small number of children becomes easy and rotates easily. With just the two of us… I’m not sure any summer camping trip would be worth it.

The “It’s Too Expensive to Eat Healthy Food” Debate It’s usually not, if you plan for it a little bit – and the long term health costs are certainly lower with healthy food. I think the big opposition to it is that people simply don’t want to eat healthy because their experiences with healthy food were not positive ones and thus they try to come up with excuses for it. (@ casual kitchen)

Made By Hand: In Praise of Amateurs My father did similar things: he could never sit still. My favorite of his projects was the small greenhouse he built so that he could start plants outside in the very early spring. (@ get rich slowly)

How to Make Money on Facebook There are some things that you just shouldn’t talk about on Facebook. This is one of them. (@ brip blap)

How to Tame Your To-Do List It’s all about getting rid of the stuff that isn’t actually important or that you’re not actually going to do. A to-do list is a tool, not something to browbeat yourself with. (@ dumb little man)

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  1. Steve says:

    THanks for the mention! I couldn’t agree more about taking vacations with kids, although we “only” have 2 (ages 4 and 2). A 1:1 ratio of kids to adults doesn’t cut it…

  2. BJD says:

    Trent – it looks like your posting software needs to be updated for daylight savings. Your 8am posts are coming out at 9 am, and your 2pm posts are at 3pm. Iowa still part of central time zone and participates in DLS.

  3. Trent, that’s a fabulous way to vacation with kids! You get a break, and your relatives get some quality time with their grandchildren/nieces/nephews.

    Of course, extended-family vacations make for frugal ones as well: shared cost on food and accommodations, and no need to pay for a babysitter or daycare.

    A win-win all around! :-)

  4. lurker carl says:

    Once upon a time, TurboTax was both non-existant and unnecessary. Every line on income tax forms represents a successful legislative effort for some special interest group. It now costs me over $50 to do what used to be free.

    Thank you, Congress.

  5. kim says:

    Trent, I’m sure you’ve already done this but I think it’s worth mentioning. If you are doing a group vacation to spread out the childcare, make certain that the other adults in the group are aware that you are expecting them to help. Not everyone automatically thinks of or welcomes this responsibility.

  6. Moby Homemaker says:

    Have a great summer vacation, Trent!!
    We are heading out today–to visit the grandparents. A nice, cheap family trip!!!

  7. Kate says:

    I totally concur with #5Kim—At a recent family vacation/reunion a couple with two pre-K children decided that my children (teens) should be their default babysitters. It was a very uncomfortable situation for my children who were there not to work as babysitters but to enjoy their vacation, too.
    Your family sounds very supportive and welcoming to your plan but like Kim I thought this needed to be mentioned.

  8. My husband and I always go on vacation with our four kids and only ourselves to watch them. When they were younger, vacations weren’t all that relaxing for my husband and myself, but now that our youngest is 4, vacations are SO much better than they used to be!

  9. Tammy says:

    Um. No. Not unless everyone involved is ‘on board’ with the babysitting plan. I’ve had far to many bad experiences w/ family members and their unruly children who just *assume* that since I’m there (or my daughter or whomever) THEY can sit and relax while someone else will chase their kids. They’re YOUR kids, they’re YOUR responsibility. We never, ever expected anyone else to watch our daughter when we were present. Sure, that meant that we’d stay home more than we’d like – or we’d have to hire a babysitter – but everyone else wants to relax too. It’s not right or fair to make them watch children that aren’t theirs.

  10. Maureen says:

    THIS VACATION PLAN DOES NOT WORK!!! We’ve tried it for a couple of years when the kids were smaller. There were too many unattended kids near a pool. One sister in law didn’t even watch her own kids and expected everyone else to do it. Another time this same sister in law was put in charge of watching all the kids (she volunteered) and she spent the night on the computer while the kids tore up the house. Make sure everyone is on board with this plan.

  11. Kat says:

    Good point about the vacation plan, it really really depends on the family. My side would be insulted if we assumed they would be watching the kids, but my husband’s family would be insulted if we DIDN’T let them watch the kids. His parents and siblings LOVE that sort of thing, but we still make sure it is okay with the person watching and designate who is (“grandma time,” time with a certain aunt or uncle, etc) and not just assume that someone is paying attention, or else you run the risk of everyone assuming someone else is watching the kids, and no one really is.

  12. Kristin says:

    Watching someone else’s kids on my vacation doesn’t sound fun or relaxing. If your family offers the help, you would be stupid to refuse that offer.

  13. Kate E. says:

    We also have two kids (3 and 1) and have decided that we will not go on vacation until they are older unless we go with other family members. (As one of my friends said: Vacation is just moving your pain somewhere else.) :) Even if those family members are not watching the kids the whole time, there is still someone else there to help entertain them or talk to them. We also like the fact that we can leave after the kids go to sleep and go do something together since someone will still be at the house with the kiddos and can call us if there is a problem.

    I hope you have a wonderful vacation this summer.

  14. Janis says:

    My first reaction to your vacation plans was the same as Kim (#5) and others. My husband and I don’t have children, but we have a lot of young nephews and nieces and even – thanks to a blended family – great-nephews and nieces. Some of these children I have gladly volunteered to babysit, while others… I’d rather have a wisdom tooth pulled without anesthesia. In any event, when spending vacation with family, I would always want to know *ahead of time* if I’m going to be expected to pull child-care duty.

  15. rosa rugosa says:

    Camping – with small children – and extended family = I would SO rather spend a week at the office! There is just NOTHING about that scenario that sounds the least bit pleasant to me! But that’s just me, behold the wonder of personal preferences!

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