Minimalism and Your Money

The intersection of a minimalist lifestyle & personal finance

The No Regrets Road Trip

This is a follow-up to the original post on our road trip to Florida. That post broke down the costs and savings of our trip. This post covers the “why” of our trip.

We wanted to head down to Florida to see my parents during our vacation this year. As teachers, we are very limited on when we can go away. Basically, the only time we can go away is when the rest of Massachusetts goes away. The airlines realize these weeks are popular so the price gets jacked up. In the past, we have gotten lucky here or there with a decently priced flight, but more often than not, we end up paying quite a bit more than we would throughout the rest of the year.

As I chronicled in the previous post, this April vacation brought those prices to a whole new level. Flights were out of the question.

Driving from Boston to Florida?!!?

Then, I got an idea. Why not drive to Florida? Well, quickly, Ashley (and just about everyone else) gave me plenty of answers.

  • Google Maps listed the trip as taking approximately 24 hours, and that didn’t include any breaks along the way.
  • Driving for that long of a period of time can be exhausting, for the adults and the kids.
  • Speaking of the kids, how many minutes into the trip will they start asking, “are we there yet?”
  • What about bad weather? This could be dangerous.
  • What about traffic? We might be in this car forever!
  • How many bathroom breaks will we be taking with 2 young kids?
  • We’ll only be there for five days. Will it even be worth it?

But, despite all of those very good and logical reasons NOT to go, we still decided to do it.

The No Regrets Road Trip

Lots of alligators along our walks

In our last post, I expanded on the costs and savings of our road trip. In this post, I’ll explain why we decided to road trip to Florida and why we have no regrets.

This trip consumed 3,211 miles and 58 hours of driving within an 8 day period. Both bookends of the journey were absolutely exhausting. Flying will always be the preferred method of travel, but if I had to do it again, I would.

Loss as a Motivator

We had basically given up on the idea of going to Florida until the last minute. So, what changed our minds?

In the past two months, I have seen two of my good friends lose parents. This 1-2 punch really put things into perspective for me and reminded me that life can be short and unpredictable.

The point is, we often take for granted the length of our lives and the lives of others. We spend much of our time worrying about the future instead of focusing on and enjoying the present. We live for tomorrow when today is our only guarantee.

Facetime Won’t Cut It

My parents are snowbirds. They live here in Massachusetts during the summer and head down to Florida as soon as the temperature drops below 55 degrees. While they are here in the summers, we see them all of the time. Usually, we will go out to dinner with them every Tuesday night and then see them every other week or more beyond that. They also come home for about three weeks in December, including Christmas, so we get to spend time with them then.

Throughout the rest of the winter, a few Facetime calls on the iPad are some of the only times we get to “see” them. Unless, of course, we head down to Florida to see them. We have two school vacations in Massachusetts, one in February and one in April. We normally head down in February. In fact, this year we did Disney with them.

When April vacation came around, I originally held back. I figured, “They would be home in a few weeks. So was it really necessary to go visit?”

But the losses of my friends’ parents along with my overall commitment to become more present and to live in the moment led us to this road trip.

Making Memories

A game of bocce with Gram and Grandpa

We had five full days together once we made it down there. I look at that as priceless time to be able to hang out with my parents and my family. We are so lucky to have the opportunity to vacation down there, and I want to make sure we take every chance we can get to spend time with family.

I have some great memories of spending time at my grandparents’ houses. I remember swimming at the beach at the end of the street, bouncing a ball off the front steps and lots of afternoons in the screened in porch with one set of grandparents. On the other side of the family, how could I forget those trips to the convenience store to get slush, ice cream cones in the pantry, and playing catch in the side yard? I loved hanging on the rocking chair with Nana, watching Grampa cook and just listening to him talk, and I remember Gram’s hugs and her always letting me eat a few extra Sno Caps candies with a grin on her face.

It’s because of those memories from my childhood that I am so glad my kids get to spend so much quality time with their grandparents. They will always remember their time in the Florida house. They will remember searching for gators in the lakes, swimming in my parents’ pool, and playing bocce. Even when my parents are back up here in Massachusetts, C and B never get to have five straight days and nights living with their grandparents like they do in Florida.

Would I Do It Again?

A Stroll on the Butterfly Path
  • The cost was significant, albeit much cheaper than it would have been if we had flown
  • The time driving was long
  • The trip was exhausting
  • The number of days in Florida was short and flew by

But I have no regrets about this road trip. I would do it again in a heartbeat if I couldn’t find a moderately priced flight. There is no price, financial or otherwise, that can be put on the time we were able to spend with family. In the end, we gave up four days of our lives driving in return for five days with family. That’s a deal I’ll take every time.

What are your best memories of time spent with family? Have you ever been on a crazy road trip but had no regrets?

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2 Comments

  1. Diane Forster

    My favorite time with family growing up was at our cottage in New Hampshire. We would go up most weekends in the summer with either or parents our our aunts. Cousins would come and we would swim and play cards or games at night. Special times! Wish we still had it. It would be a great place to spend time with the next generation.

    • minimalismandmoney

      That sounds like so much fun. I feel like those sort of vacations are the most fun. It’s great to be with the whole family and be separated from all the busyness of life.

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