“Vacation is what you take when you can’t take what you’ve been taking any longer.” – Unknown

This week, my wife and I are on vacation.  We didn’t actually plan to be on vacation, but when I spoke to our biggest client on Friday, he told us that he was going to be gone the following week, and it would be most convenient for him if we took our vacation at the same time.

We have five days off, a luxury we rarely see, but they came very unexpectedly.  We had no time to plan or to save for any type of real vacation.  Since this time off came on the heels of some unexpected expenses, and we are keeping our credit cards paid off, we basically have no money to fund any kind of travel.  Since this will likely be the only time we’ll have off until the December holidays, we need to make the most of the time we have.

It seems like whenever we have time off, we have no money, and when we have money, we have no time off.  The irony of the situation was further exacerbated by a letter I received Friday afternoon from my credit card company.  It read:

Congratulations.  We’ve increased your credit line [by $1,700].  It’s our way of saying thank you for maintaining such good credit.

My credit limit is now high enough that I could buy a moderately-priced new car with my credit card.  The idea that I could go out and buy a new Scion xB, a Nissan Cube, or a Smart Car just by waving a piece of plastic at the dealer completely blows me away.  I’m not in the market for a new car, so I’m not tempted, but the idea of using just a tiny fraction of that impressive credit limit for a vacation is hard to resist.

It’s hard to stay on target.

After considerable discussion and agreeing that we shouldn’t go into debt, my wife and I decided to spend our vacation doing the following low-cost activities:

1.    Projects around the house.  We’ve got a number of household projects, chores, and repairs that haven’t been done because we’ve been too busy with our regular work.  We plan to spend at least some of our time off completing these projects.

2.    Spending time with friends.  Although we do spend time with our friends, we don’t get to spend nearly as much time with them as we’d like.  For the past couple of days, I’ve spent my time hanging out in my neighbor’s garage, helping him with a project he’d taken on as a side job.  Mostly, I’ve been doing things like finding parts, holding flashlights and cleaning up messes, but it’s been fun spending time chatting with my neighbor and not doing my regular work.

3.    Cooking and baking.  For the most part, meals at our house are a rather rushed affair.  We often find ourselves eating quick-to-prepare foods because we never have enough time.  We will be spending part of our time making time-consuming foods we can’t make when we are working, like homemade bread.

4.    Being lazy.  Much of our time is spent doing structured, goal-oriented work, so we are trying to take time to simply be lazy and do nothing of any particular importance.  We might take our RV over to a nearby county-owned (and inexpensive) campground for a few days and be lazy there, but we are still discussing how even such a small trip would fit into our budget.

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