Well it's time again to show the world how frugal I am, and how dedicated I am toward the path of financial independence. I wanted to talk a little today about taking a vacation, and how I maximized my opportunities to earn myself a completely 100% FREE VACATION.
My family lives in Michigan, and I currently live in Florida. My particular job field requires yearly training to keep skills sharp. It just so happens that I wanted to take a vacation to Michigan this summer and it just so happens that a training class in my field is hosting an event in Michigan in early June. I badly wanted to see my family, and I'm extremely close to them. Whether I had to pay money for a flight, rental car and other associated costs or not, I was going to see them this summer. It did not revolve around finances. But, I figured if I could combine my training and my vacation time...why not?
So, I had a discussion with my boss about flying me to Michigan for the training class. He did some research and found no available classes in Florida. He figured if he had to fly me somewhere, it may as well be Michigan. After it was decided I had to fly for training, I filled out a vacation form asking for a week off following the training. That wish was granted. I made this request a little easier for my boss to accept. First, I told him my family lives 45 minutes away from the training site and I could stay at their house and drive to the training class, therefore saving the company a hotel room. I also told him I could borrow a car from my family, therefore saving the company rental car fees. This not only saved the company money, but allows me more time with my family. Would I rather be cooped up in a hotel room from 4:30 pm until I drift off to sleep or would I rather be at home with my family, spending time with them during training days? The answer is obvious. This option saves the company money and allows me a couple extra half-days of vacation time for nothing.
My training is June 9-10. I fly out this Wednesday, June 8th from Tampa International Airport and will arrive in Detroit Wednesday afternoon. I will fly back to Tampa on Sunday, June19th. After my training wraps up this Friday, the rest of the time will be mine. The flight costs me nothing since my work had to fly me for training. I will receive a rental car from my work to TIA, since that is also something that would have been given to me no matter what. So, travel from work to the airport and from Tampa to Detroit and back is all free. I am also able to piggyback vacation time on training time which allows me a little extra free time with my family. A win-win any way you look at it.
Because of this trip my posts in the upcoming two weeks may be affected. I plan on bringing my laptop, so I hope there is no interruption in service.
The other part of this vacation that is important to note is that I'm not flying to St. Thomas or Hawaii, or anywhere else exotic to "unwind". I already live in a pretty tropical/exotic location and I don't think that spending a thousand dollars on a mid-year vacation will help me relax. I'm using my vacation time to see family, and a best friend that also lives in Michigan. I think it's important to keep in touch with the people who you love most, and my small family is something I cherish.
I have figured that I saved approximately $1,500 by maneuvering my vacation and training together, and staying with family for free. This is comparing my vacation with an average vacation to a continental location (Chicago, New York, Las Vegas). That is no small sum, and actually exceeds the amount of money I'm hoping to earn in dividends for 2011.
Where are you going for summer vacation?
Thanks for reading.