Why We Decided To Cancel Our Trip To Austin This Summer & What We Plan To Do Instead

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.

Related: Traveling with A Purpose – Our Plan to Move Out of DC

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.  

Related: Is My Hubby Frugal or Cheap? I Can’t Decide. 

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

Total: $2,310

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.

RelatedHubby Decided Not To Be Cheap – Our $1,400 YOLO Trip

Our 3rd and final plan

Austin, Texas

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!

RelatedConsidering A Career Change To Programming – How It All Happened

Conclusion

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.

Related: 

My 1st Time Staying At An AirBnB – Yay Or Nay?

How To Travel Frugally – Our $387 Three-day Road Trip To Raleigh, NC

Hubby Decided To Travel Alone. And This Is What Happened.

Traveling With A Purpose – Our Plan To Move Out of Washington DC

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26 thoughts on “Why We Decided To Cancel Our Trip To Austin This Summer & What We Plan To Do Instead”

  • Have you thought about trying to travel hack the costs of the trips? With the right combination of credit cards, you could get your hotel and flight costs down significantly. That would cut your costs almost in half right there. Also, do you need 4 plane tickets? What is the age where kiddos stop flying for free? Things to think about for the next trip you plan 🙂

    • Totally agree, you might be preselected for the Amex Platinum 100,000 point bonus which is worth about $1,300 — it will easily pay for your flights.

      You can try a hotel branded card also, with 75,000 points that’s 3-4 days in a lower category hotel.

      These cards have yearly fees, but you can almost certainly get good value from them

      • +1 to even low level credit card hacking. This past winter we stayed in a VERY nice Marriott on the beach in Hawaii and one credit card sign up equated to 4 hotel nights. It was awesome.

        Also, Gwen, we’ve always paid for plane tickets for our kiddo even before the required 2 year mark because it is MUCH safer. So I completely get that part.

    • I’ve thought about it. In fact, Mr. FAF applied for a Chase Saphire card and got denied. I know there are other cards out there, so we just need to keep trying! We’d need 3 tickets (me, Mr. FAF, and our 4yo). I think kids under 2 can fly for free 😀

      • $80/day for a car rental seems really steep. I highly recommend renting through Costco – cheap rates and always-free 2nd driver.

        Also if you rent from an off-airport lot (take bus or Uber there) you can save a lot of money.

        Austin has great food trucks; I would guess you could go well under $100/day on food if you want.

        I have lived in Austin all my life so feel free to email if you want any suggestions.

  • $2500 for a 6 day trip sounds pretty cheap! You guys should rethink to go and just go for fun with the help of travel hacking. We haven’t needed to pay for air tickets since we been hoarding points every year – and if we didn’t hoard we just ask for a check so they give you money either way.

    • The thing is I’m not that excited about the trip since I’m worried about our infant getting sick. It’d just ruin all the fun. But we need to think about travel hacking since everyone is raving about it!

  • I think it’s a good idea to put off longer trips until the kids are older. It’s hard to travel with little kids.
    In a few years, your finance will improve and you’ll enjoy those trips more. Short trips work much better for us when our son was young. Enjoy the summer!

  • Traveling with a 10 months can be challenging, especially when they aren’t feeling well. You are brave to even consider. Our second baby is turning 2 next month and we started traveling more this past year. We were just in Austin, San Antonio, and Houston area last December. Just last weekend we were in Dallas, Texas so I am all Texas out. LOL Austin is a great place with lots of eatery, so keep it on your list and check it out the following year when the kids are a year older.

    In the meantime, if your kids are like mine, they really don’t care where they go. They just want to jump on the hotel bed and swim in their resort pool.

    • I don’t think my kids care either. My son would be just happy going to a nearby park. He won’t know the difference. Our 10 month old def doesn’t care. D:

  • I’m going to Atlanta for a few days — where is that duck noodle soup? It looks great!
    If you’re thinking of Virginia Beach, that is a nice location — I used to visit all the time as a kid. More recently, my husband and I stayed in Petersburg, VA, just outside of Richmond b/c we were en route to a wedding. it was amazing if you like antique shops — several within a few blocks. There is also great bbq and a nice bakery. It’s a gentrifying town so has a creative vibe. We stayed at an AirBNB that was charming and not too much.

  • If you do end up going to Austin, I would check out San Antonio as an alternative place to live! It has a pretty good tech scene (mostly IT security thanks to military presence) and is way more affordable than Austin. Plus, it’s only a quick 1ish hour drive to Austin for weekend getaways.

  • I have friends who just moved to Austin and love it. The cost of living is great for them, and they both work in the tech field. Hope you get to visit there soon, but for now, the boot camp plan seems like a great idea.

  • Hey guys, been reading your blog for a while. I am a local virginia and work in Crystal City. your decision process is identical to ours so I had to send you a note. We do this for everything =) and we have made that long trip before to toronto from DC and it didnt go well b/c the kids were sick (hats off to canadian health care). Anyways, Virginia Beach is amazing, if you havent been, they have cleaned it up, free entertainment, hotels are expensive and food is ok but we have our favorites, if you are interested, ping me and Ill send over what we have learned over the years. You guys will love VA beach, but most importantly you are not along in your decision process.

    • Haha I just looked up Austin on Pixabay and found this photo. I assumed it was a photo of Austin, but I guess it’s not? hehe

  • Austin is a great place to maximize your tech dollars. As someone working in HR for a tech company, I can confirm that developer salaries aren’t much different than DC or Boston, but your dollars will go much further.

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