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Summer is finally here! I am so excited about all the fun summer activities, especially picnics, pool parties, and potlucks, most of which have to do with eating (hehe).
Mr. FAF and I have also talking about going to Austin, Texas this summer.
This is part of our travel plan to explore different cities with a tech hub and low income taxes we can move to in the future.
Last summer, we went to Raleigh, NC and spent a total of $387 on this three-day strip.
Although we thought Raleigh was a beautiful and peaceful city, we decided that we probably won’t move to Raleigh in the near future.
Next on our list is Austin. Mr. FAF visited the city briefly and really liked it.
Austin has a big tech scene, no income tax, and low housing prices. The city also has good Chinese food, which Mr. FAF loved.
Our 1st plan
Originally, Mr. FAF planned to do a road trip for our family of four (including our 10-month baby girl).
However, after our baby got sick and was miserable during our DC – Atlanta road trip in April to attend Mr. FAF’s wedding, we decided to postpone long distance road trips until our baby is a bit older.
Mr. FAF drove a total of almost 40 hours within 4 days. I offered to drive, but Mr. FAF said no. He probably didn’t really trust my driving skill.
(Fun fact: Mr. FAF was the one who taught me how to drive, and that’s how we became Mr. and Mrs. FAF.)
Our baby ran a high fever throughout the trip. I was so worried about her I couldn’t fully enjoy the wedding. On the last day of the trip, I almost flew back to DC with our baby and let Mr. FAF drive home with our son. In the end, the fever subsided, and we all drove back to DC together.
Mr. FAF also got scared and felt guilty because he wanted to do a road trip to save us about $1,000 on plane tickets and car rental. But that amount, in my opinion, is not worth the pain our baby and the stress we went through.
Mr. FAF and I also got into a couple of arguments on the trip since I thought he was just being cheap and didn’t care enough about our kids’ well-being.
But that was just me being dramatic and angry. I know he wanted to save money for our family. We agreed that from now on, if a road trip is more than 4-5 hours one way, we will fly instead of driving.
Roasted duck noodles in Atlanta. The food was good, but we couldn’t fully enjoy it since our baby was sick.
Our 2nd plan
In late May, Mr. FAF brought up the topic of Austin and said that he would plan a trip for all of us. Mr. FAF’s paid time off is reaching a cap at the end of June, so he will need to take time off or lose it.
Mr. FAF spent a week looking into plane tickets, car rentals, and hotels. I told him I didn’t want to stay at shabby motels anymore. The place doesn’t have to be swanky, but at least it should be nice and clean. I’d also prefer to have breakfast included so that we can just eat a lot in the morning and have more time traveling.
When we went to Atlanta, Mr. FAF found a 4-star hotel for $80 a night on HotWire.com, and it was a totally different experience from staying at a motel.
I was hoping that he could find something similar in Austin. After a week of research, Mr. FAF told me our estimated costs for a one-week trip to Austin below:
Plane tickets: $250 * 3 people = $750
Car rental: $80 * 6 days = $480
Hotel: $80 * 6 days = $480
Food: $100 * 6 days = $600
When taking into account miscellaneous expenses, we were looking at a $2,500 trip to Austin for six days. When I heard the figures, I wasn’t so thrilled.
Part of me wants to support Mr. FAF and his dream, but part of me just wants to do a day trip around DC and save money.
One way we can travel for a much lower cost is to go as a family when Mr. FAF goes on a business trip or when he gets an in-person interview with a company in Austin.
I had a paid-for work trip to Los Angeles, Seattle, and Portland three years ago, and Mr. FAF traveled to Seattle for a conference for free last summer.
We could have traveled together as a family. Then we won’t have to pay for hotel, food, and one plane ticket. That’s what I’m still hoping for instead of dropping $2,500 on a summer trip.
Our 3rd and final plan
You read it right, our plan kept changing over the past few months. After hearing the $2,500 figure for a 6-day trip to Austin, I was leaning towards not going. But I didn’t want to disappoint Mr. FAF, so I just kept quiet.
A couple of days later, Mr. FAF told me something which made me so relieved, “I decided to cancel our trip to Austin. Instead, we can just take two days off every month and do a coding boot camp so that you can make faster progress.”
I was happy that I wouldn’t have to worry about an expensive short trip that I wasn’t really enthused about and the possibility of our baby getting sick on the trip.
I was also touched that Mr. FAF wanted to spend his days off teaching me. It might not sound romantic to a lot of people, but it sounds like love to me!
Instead of going to Austin this summer, Mr. FAF and I have been thinking about going to Virginia beach. Virginia beach is only a 2-hour drive from our house, so we can do a one-day trip.
If we want, we can stay overnight and drive home if our baby gets sick. I am also excited about trying a seafood platter again. Mr. FAF and I had it when we went to Savannahea, Georgia a couple of years ago, and I loved it!
After all, traveling should be fun and worry-free. I know I should travel to faraway places to enjoy life instead of worrying about money and sick kids all the time. But I think we will wait until our baby turns one and we have a bit more savings for expensive travel.
For now, I will be happy as long as we get out of our house and go somewhere with beautiful scenery and food good. And we don’t have to drop thousands of dollars for that.