We are all inclined to believe that vacations abroad are perks for rich people. All-inclusive packages to Mexico, Cuba, or Costa Rica can be found at attractive prices and don’t seem so scary . . . but still, if you think about how much the average family of four must spend for a vacation abroad, it looks terrifying, and many people would just drop the idea and settle on some local cottage for a long weekend.
As a family, we always tried to get out of the routine and daily hassle at least once a year with a big trip where we could totally relax and turn off our phones. In 2017 we decided we were going to make it to Alaska. In the last five years, we had vacations locally in British Columbia, but this time we decided to sail with Disney, and it was amazing.
Spending Money On Vacation
The purpose of our savings and investments is to allow us to not work full time and have a joyful life. But being on our journey to financial independence does not mean that we should not be enjoying ourselves along the way. Of course, part of a joyful life is taking good vacations, and a vacation you have not been on before is even better. It was our first cruise, and taking it with Disney gave it a taste of magic and fantasy.
How Was Our Vacation?
One of the reasons we chose this destination was its proximity to the port. Because we live in Vancouver, we didn’t have to fly anywhere, which obviously reduced travel expenses significantly. Because we traveled with two kids, ages ten and seven, we decided it should be fun for them too, so we picked the Disney Wonder cruise. The beautiful Disney Wonder ship took us from Vancouver to Skagway, Alaska, and back. Tracy Arm, a fjord near Juneau, took our breath away.
To say we had fun is an understatement—we had a blast! We were royalty from the moment we set foot on the vessel to the moment we stepped down. We stayed in a Deluxe Oceanview Stateroom on Deck 6. The service, food quality, accommodations, entertainment, and personnel were just outstanding, if not the best I have ever seen.
I can keep going on and on about all the wonderful experiences we had, but I guess you are asking yourself by now why I am sharing this with you. The reason is to point out that going on a vacation is not an unachievable dream.
Plan Your Vacation
Plan your vacation beforehand. Some of you may say, “No way; I always book my vacation last minute and get a great deal.” It might be so if you don’t care about room type, dates, deck number (in case you are cruising), flights, connections, etc. Basically, if you are a freelancer, business owner, or whatever it is that allows you just to wake up and go, maybe yes. However, most of us have certain vacation dates, kids’ schedules, and other factors we need to coordinate, so planning is of the essence. The other way to look at it is when you plan ahead, you can also plan your budget. Our trip, for example, cost us about 7,500 USD, which is almost 10,000 CAD (yes, not cheap), but we planned the cruise a year and a half in advance, so we had enough time to save and make sure we had enough funds to pay for the trip plus some extra money for drinks, excursions, gifts, etc.
Make sure you do your due diligence carefully. Choosing the right travel agent or travel website is no less important than choosing the right mortgage broker, realtor, or bank. We personally booked with Expedia. We talked with a very nice woman who helped us through the process of choosing the right vessel, destination, and date that would accommodate our needs and not cost more than we could afford.
Pack What Necessary
Pack only what is necessary, but also don’t forget any essentials, because you probably don’t want to spend $10 on a $2 hairbrush while vacationing. But above all, do not forget to enjoy your trip. You work hard to earn your money, so when you decide to take your well-earned and well-planned vacation, enjoy every minute of it.
Many To Come
When you are back, do some thinking about what you liked and what you didn’t like and decide what your next destination or vacation type will be. We know we will cruise again.
In all three Alaskan towns we visited, I saw branches for the Wells Fargo & Co. bank, which we own in our dividend-paying stock portfolio. It’s nice to see that tourists like us use branches of the bank in which we are invested. The bank gains and shares its earnings with its shareholders—namely, us.
From an investment perspective, Walt Disney Co. (DIS) pays a 1.54 percent annual dividend, and its five-year dividend average growth rate was 27.69 percent. Its EPS growth rate over five years averaged 12.92 percent. In the last five years, its average payout ratio was 26.34 percent. Just to add to the numbers, we saw that Disney managed to fill all positions with the right people, from room service to the ship captain. To me, having the right people in the right places is the way to company success. Add to that consideration the unique content the company provides, and we will definitely consider adding Walt Disney Co. to our portfolio.
Wishing great vacations to all readers!