I’m currently winging my way down to San Antonio (where The Alamo is), except in a car and not with wings. My wife and I are signed up to join some of the members of The Atlantic Paranormal Society with an investigation of spirit activity in a gorgeous inn. We’ve been talking and daydreaming about doing something like this for years.
Even so, I know some of you will laugh at me, so I won’t spend any more time discussing what’s real and what’s not. Instead, I’ll talk about how much it’ll cost for us to go on Vacation #1.
First, here’s the equipment we’re bringing, which has already been paid for, and not on a credit card:
- Digital voice recorder for capturing electronic voice phenomena – $50 – I wanted something high quality, not only for possible EVPs, but also potentially for on-location interviews for some other future creative endeavors
- Electro-magnetic field detector – $20 – at this price point, it’s basically a toy. More serious investigators get the kind that engineers use, and the one we got actually had the word “ghost” in the name. It’s pretty cute.
- Infrared digital thermometer – $14 – even though this is also inexpensive, it feels pretty solid and seems accurate so far
- Extra batteries – about $9
And then there are the pricier items, the stuff that isn’t paid for yet, and which we won’t be able to make use of again in the future:
- A five-hour class and a four-hour investigation – $300 for the two of us
- Somewhere to sleep Friday and Saturday night (what’s left of it) – $200
- Gasoline to get to and from San Antonio – $50 at the outside, since I recently filled up the car
- Optionally, one of many downtown walking ghost tours – maybe $40 for both of us
- Lunch and dinner – I’ll have to get back to you on that, but it doesn’t have to be expensive
So, ignoring meals, we know we’ll be spending $590 this weekend. Normally, when we go on vacation, I approach it with some excitement and some dread, because 1) I don’t go into a vacation with any estimate of how much we’ll be spending, and 2) most things get charged to a credit card.
This trip is going to be different, because we’re armed with an estimate, and more importantly, we have enough cash in the bank to pay for everything. True, we’re using the money that more prudent people would call an emergency fund, but a twinge of guilt about that is still preferable to the slow panic of knowing that your vacation is going to be charging you interest for a long time to come.
Not this time.
No, that panic will likely come in May, when we go to California for Vacation #2. However, we pre-paid for that conference, which includes lodging and meals. All that’s left is the airplane tickets and the car rental, and the other day my wife said she was going to set aside some of her recent bonus money to help pay for that. The conference tickets themselves went on my credit card, which I’m aggressively paying down, so that sounds fair.
Vacations seem smarter this year, relative scientific merits of ghost hunting notwithstanding.
Published or updated February 18, 2010. If you enjoyed this article, subscribe to the RSS feed or receive daily emails. Follow @ConsumerismComm on Twitter and visit our Facebook page for more updates.