So I've crunched the numbers on a couple of vacations versus stay-cations and have some very interesting results. Unfortunately, as I started writing this it became a full on travel brochure for New Orleans, so I'm going to skip some of the details and go straight to price. Tomorrow I'll spend some time talking about the millions of reasons why New Orleans is the best place in the world.
For the sake of this experiment let's say that my husband and I are going to take a long weekend beginning on Friday August 21st until Monday August 24th. Our options are to stay in town and entertain ourselves, or take a trip somewhere within reason. We have narrowed our destinations down to Orlando, Savannah and New Orleans.
I figured we would fly out on Friday and return on Monday so we are going to need flights, 3 hotel nights, dining and entertainment for each option.
If we are staying home we are going to need a lot of entertainment, and probably one night in a hotel so that we can feel like we're actually vacationing.
Before we begin I do want to say that yes, there are alternative options like camping to consider. If that is your thing then by all means, do it. I do not camp.
Let's start with New Orleans
Flights: $400 for two adults (going after labor day on Southwest would reduce this to $260 total)
Hotel: $79 per night for the 4star Westin Canal Place.
Transportation to and from the airport and trolley rides to Garden District: $100
Breakfast for 3 days: less than $20 with Cafe Beignet coupons.
Lunch: $40 for two days, one day will be included in an activity.
Dinner: About $50 because dinner is often the overlooked meal on vacation and tends to be lighter than lunch.
Haunted History Tour: $16 with coupons found HERE .
New Orleans Cooking School Classes: $24 with coupon online.
Tour of St. Louis #1 cemetery: $12 on Sundays with Save Our Cemeteries or $16 with Haunted History.
French Quarter, St. Louis Cathedral, LaFayette Cemetery, Garden District homes, art galleries and more: Free
Total cost for New Orleans: About $850
(Truth be told, I probably wouldn't do that many paid activities, but I was trying to make this a "typical" vacation.)
Orlando is next, and I've got two vacations lined up, one with the mouse, and one without:
Flights: $350 for two.
Hotel: Motel 6 Kissimmee Main Gate West $25 per night.
3 day Park Hopper pass for two: $542.
Breakfast: included in room rate
Disney Total: $1142 Aprox.
Universal Studios Vacation:
Hotel: Renaissance Orlando Resort at SeaWorld $89
1 Week Discounted Universal Park pass: $99 each (same price as a two day pass)
Lunch $100 (likely this will include a trip to downtown Orlando where there are nicer restaurants)
Universal Total: $1015 Approximate.
Flights to Atlanta: $450 for two (flights to Savannah were about $600 each right now so this is a better deal)
Rental Car: $130 for 4 days plus gas (about $50)
Hotel: Doubletree Hotel Savannah Historic District $109 per night.
Dinner: $150 (this will likely include a trip to Paula Dean's The Lady and Sons for some fried goodness)
Haunted Pub Crawl: $10
Trips to Tybee Island, Bonaventure Cemetery and walks around the historic downtown: free
Savannah Total: $1231
Now let's see how the stay-cation adds up:
Now keep in mind, I can't just go to places I would go to every day, that is not a vacation. And in fairness, I am not going to include an estimate of the extra money I would spend shopping with those extra days off
Museums: $10 for DMA , Nasher and Modern. Kimball is free
Parking: $10 near most
Six Flags: $31 each with online special.
One Night at the W Dallas: $299
Dallas Aquarium: $20 each
I would have added a Mavericks game if it was the right season. I tried to check on the prices of Rangers tickets (even though I don't like baseball) and could not get the page to work.
And I'm out of fun things to do here in Texas. Total cost: $496. Plus I still need to eat, drive my car to all of those places and use my own air conditioning because it is 100 degrees here now. So let's add an additional $200 to this for a total of $696.
I'm not sure who is going to agree with me, but I'm willing to put in the extra $150 to spend that time in New Orleans. And I am also down with throwing $400 on to that to go to Savannah since I have never been there before.
To me it's just worth it to get away. With a little more time to prepare (remember, I came up with this idea last night), I'll bet I could reduce the cost on all of those trips. I'll go more into detail on how to get the best deal later. Tomorrow I'll start with New Orleans. I'll even have some nice pictures.