Last week, I spent several days in San Diego with family and friends, including my mother and her long-time boyfriend, my brother and his girlfriend, and my girlfriend. One benefit of visiting family for vacation every April is the fact that my mother seems quite willing to spend money to ensure everyone’s enjoyment, at least through this year. (If I continue to earn more money than I expect, that may not be the case for much longer.)
I decided to estimate how much my mother might have spent on our trip to San Diego as an exercise in curiosity. To be fair, I did pay some of these expenses, but only a small portion.
Lodging. A room with double queen beds at the Hyatt Regency Mission Bay may have cost $750 over the course of three nights. We had three rooms for an estimated total of $2,250. I believe she was able to receive one night free, but I’ll stick with estimates based on the full retail value. Add internet access at $10 per room per day and valet service of $20 per day. Add tax. Running total: $2,780.
Travel. The trip from my mother’s home in Orange County, California to the hotel in San Diego was 80 miles. At a rate of 50.5 cents per mile, the round trip in our car “cost” $80. My brother and his girlfriend drove separately, so I would consider than an additional $80. Cab rides throughout the four days added about $120 to the transportation total. Running total: $3,060.
Meals. Tuesday: lunch at a restaurant with an ocean view in La Jolla ($200) and dinner at Osetra ($300). Wednesday: breakfast at the hotel ($150) and dinner at a fondue restaurant in San Diego ($250). Thursday: breakfast at the hotel ($150), lunch by the hotel pool ($50), and dinner on a cruise around the bay ($300). Friday: brunch at a restaurant near the hotel ($200). As I didn’t see any of the bills, these prices are just estimates. Running total: $4,660.
Entertainment. My girlfriend and I visited the San Diego Zoo one day, and the tickets cost a total of $60. Food and souvenirs added an additional $40 to that cost. My brother and his girlfriend attended kayaking lessons, which I’ll estimate at $60. My mother treated herself and the other women to manicures and pedicures at the hotel’s spa. My brother and his girlfriend, only a few days from leaving for the next leg of their band’s country-wide tour, received facials and massages, and I had use of the spa’s shower and steam room. Based on the price list on the hotel’s website, this must have cost over $500 total. Running total: $5,320.
This doesn’t include the money my girlfriend and I spent to fly across the country, about $800. Estimated total: $6,120.
While it’s true that we could have saved thousands of dollars by traveling less over the past week, and I would be happy spending time with my family doing anything, having these yearly vacations gives me something to look forward to every spring. I may be wrong, but I believe my mother would consider this to be money well-spent. I hope to be in a position to provide similar vacation opportunities for my family at some point in the future.
Updated January 16, 2010 and originally published April 28, 2008.