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Vacation Vacillation?

April 8th, 2013 at 06:10 am

An old friend of mine (ok, old boyfriend) was in the habit of going up to Kennebunkport, Maine every summer with his now ex-wife. They had a favorite inn he liked to stay at. My friend is not really the outdoorsy type, like I am, and has gotten kind of stodgy. He says he mostly just spent his time there hanging out at the inn, reading and going online. Umm, you could do that at home, for a whole lot less money! But of course, the scenery is beautiful, and this hotel is right on the water, not far from the Bush compound.

Now that his ex is out of the picture, he still wants to go up there in June and wants some company. So he’s invited me to come along, along with his sister. I have been dying to go somewhere and in fact, my last vacation, also to Maine, was about 5 years ago! I have skipped vacations becus I have been out of f/t work for so long, but now I have an opportunity to do something fun.

The thing is, it would be very expensive and if I had my own way, I wouldn’t have chosen Kennebunkport, which is especially pricey. Another unfortunate thing is that we'd be pretty much locked into going on one particular date in late June, when my friend's sister, a nurse, has already put in for time off. It just so happens that this is the cut-off time when many of the hotels up in Maine consider it the start of summer (higher) rates. So this 4-day period includes just 1 night at a lower rate becus it falls in the "shoulder" season and 3 nights at full rates in the peak summer season.

My friend and his sister want to stay at this very expensive inn which costs $250 and up per night. Since we’d all be getting our own rooms anyway, I came up with the idea of trying to find another less expensive place nearby that would allow me to save $$ on the room. I don’t plan on spending much time there anyway.

The cheapest place I could find was a simple motel that still costs a fair amount; with the 7% state tax, it comes to $142.50 a night, or $610 for the 4 nights we’d be up there. Meals, of course, would be an additional cost, and while I don’t have to have full course dinners each night, I would like to sample the famous lobster roll sandwiches at $13.50.
Otherwise, it seems like a fairly quiet town, so after doing some research about things to do, I would mostly just want to wander around with my camera on the beaches and around town. Maybe do a walking tour or rent a bike. My friend said he’d drop me off wherever I wanted to go, like the nearby Rachel Carson wildlife preserve in Wells. I could spend 3 or 4 hours there enjoying the trails and then they’d pick me up for lunch, for example. Not sure what his sister would want to do, but this would enable each of us to do what we wanted and still have company.

If I were planning a trip myself, I wouldn’t be going to this particular destination; there are many places closer to home (this is 4 hours), far less expensive and with more interesting things to do. However, if left to my own devices, I wouldn’t be going anywhere, so this is what I have to work with.

The arrangement is atypical, but if we didn’t do this I could easily see myself being very unhappy at spending so much money and then not getting to do things I enjoy. My friend is not athletic, isn’t a walker and has a fairly short attention span. My interests run more to the out of doors and communing with nature, especially with a camera.

This kind of points to the other reason for some hesitation on my part, because my friend can be very controlling and set in his ways. I have no doubt this was largely the reason his ex divorced him. He likes to call the shots at all times, and to me, that can be positively stifling. So initially, before he told me he’d invited his sister to come along, I was thinking a vacation with just the 2 of us wouldn’t work. Now that he’s invited his sister, I could see her being a kind of buffer who would probably keep me and R. from butting heads quite as much. She’s very easygoing and a few years older than me.

So, would you do it? I’m mainly concerned about spending so much money. With meals, and probably chipping in for gas, we’re probably looking at $1,000 for 4 nights up there. I think I could get my neighbor behind me, the one who just got a job I told her about, to feed my cats each day.

The little motel I found looks clean and simple. It’s the kind of place where the door opens directly into your room. Normally I think I’d be a little nervous about staying alone in a place like that, but this is hoity Kennebunkport, and I’d make sure my friend watched me enter the room at night before they left. The room has its own bath, a TV, mini fridge and microwave. So I would bring a cooler full of fresh fruit snacks, tea and cereal so I could save money on eating breakfasts out.

I checked availability and I think they still have rooms; some of the other places I checked seemed already pretty well booked in June.

I would probably want to try to finagle it so that I had a new credit card bonus to work for on this trip, and since my friends don't do credit card rewards the way I do, I could charge their meals to my card and have them pay me back. So I could probably shoot for one of those cards with a higher spending target than I can hope to shoot for with my normal expenses.

11 Responses to “Vacation Vacillation?”

  1. MonkeyMama Says:

    I personally wouldn't go. Way too much money, and doesn't sound like it is going to be very enjoyable. ?? {I wouldn't go if I was posed this scenario with a full-time job. $1,000 for a 4-day vacation, for one person, strikes me as crazy insane expensive. But I may consider it if it would potentially be extremely enjoyable}.

  2. laura Says:


    I think I'd skip the outing. I do think that it is time for you to take a vacation (five years is too long!). And I'd pick something you like to do (outdoorsy thing) as opposed to being at an inn in an expensive place potentially doing expensive things with a person who might be controlling and stodgy. And maybe you do something slightly off season to bring the prices down.

  3. patientsaver.com Says:

    Hmmm. I did find a somewhat cheaper motor inn type place for $125 a night, so overall costs would probably be $750 to $800 for accommodations and meals.

  4. Nika Says:

    From everything you described, I'd pass. And not because of the money. It is just vacation is a precious thing and should really be enjoyed. I would not waste my time doing something I don't want to just to please other people. That is why DH and I don't vacation in a group.

  5. patientsaver.com Says:

    Well but that's not it, Nika. We'd each be able to decide whether we'd want to do something jointly, or do something by ourselves.

    I did forget to mention that one reason R. wants to stay at this particular hotel is becus they allow pets, but they have a strict rule about not leaving your pet alone in the room, so he would have to bring the dog everywhere we went. He would probably eat all his meals at fast food type places or places where you can sit outside, becus he'd have the dog with him. So unless his sister wanted to do a nice meal indoors somewhere, that wouldn't be an option for me since I'm not going to dine alone. The meal thing isn't a big deal for me, but having the dog always would further limit where we could go and what we could do.

  6. creditcardfree Says:

    Sorry to be a downer, but I also would not go. Although you state sister would be a buffer, I see R(based on your description) as someone who would want to control your outings...when they occur, how long, how far, where to eat because of the dog and so forth.

    I really think you need to consider a vacation alone or with someone with similar interests. The destination area sounds really, really pricy given your circumstances.

  7. ceejay74 Says:

    I think I'd skip this particular opportunity, but take it as a sign that you should plan your own vacation, somewhere frugal where you could do what you like. Since you like communing with nature, a solitary vacation could be pretty fun for you.

  8. starfishy Says:

    you don't really seemed that psyched about it - more like doing it out of convenience, so it doesn't seem like it would be worth the expenditure. 2 thoughts i had - did you check airbnb? maybe you could find a decent priced room in someone's house (if you're into that - probably not for everyone). Or, could you make a commitment to yourself to schedule a weekend away this summer doing somewhere you want to go that would be cheaper and have the activities you want to do? (just seeing what ceejay said as i finished typing - so same idea). or do you not want to travel alone? good luck with the decision!! Smile

  9. FrugalTexan75 Says:

    I concur with the others - this really doesn't sound like something that would be very satisfying. Both because of money/days and because of not being with people who enjoy similar things. From what you've said, I would think you would get more enjoyment out of maybe renting a cabin along a lake where you can kayak, swim, etc and enjoy nature (or perhaps camp in a tent if your health allows that.) You could still have a vacation, but probably for half the expense and triple the enjoyment. Smile

  10. snafu Says:

    Can I be blunt? The only positive thing you've mentioned thus far is that it is near water! Traveling with a controlling, set in his ways individual with a dog sounds like a trip from hades even if HE were footing the bill! What scenic bike tour/ride adventure vacation can you find on-line? Chose to do the things that you like! Do them in 'shoulder'season that helps your budget. Try a B&B if the price is more tolerable.

  11. creditcardfree Says:

    My aunt travels all over the world and the US staying at hostels. Are you aware of these? Might be an inexpensive way to get you to the places you want to go!

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