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What’s your time worth?

I had a potential client tell me the other day that she had spent “hours” scouring the internet to find a quote that was $10 cheaper than the one I had given her for her vacation.  Let’s assume she spent three hours — that would mean her time was worth about $3.50 per hour? Even if she only spent two hours, that’s $5.00 per hour, which is still below minimum wage. Even my 13-year-old daughter makes $10 per hour to babysit!

It’s an extreme example, I know, but it illustrates a mindset that baffles me. Why would a busy professional spend hours on the internet trying to save a few dollars on a vacation? Wouldn’t that time be better spent on work, or family, or just about anything else besides sitting at a computer stressing out about something that’s supposed to be relaxing? Not to mention the fact that if they go ahead and book with the rock-bottom vendor they found online, what kind of service are they going to get? 

Most of us only take about two weeks of vacation a year, and we dream about it (and save up for it) for weeks and months before hand. My clients know that, by putting the planning process in my hands, they’ll be getting a great vacation (tailored specifically to their needs and desires) at a great price, and they won’t have to spend hours on the internet worrying about it!

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I saw a great article in the Wall Street Journal today about priorities. The “Yoder & Son” column (a weekly feature about personal finances from the point of view of a father and son) talked about their Christmas vacation in Slovakia this year, and whether they should have held back from this kind of spending, given the economy.

It’s the kind of question I see clients asking themselves all the time right now, and I think Stephen and Isaac Yoder sum it up nicely when they talk about priorities — it may not be important to spend money on “things” right now (expensive cars, fashion, etc.) but it’s still very important to them to invest in experiences.

What lesson is Isaac learning from this profligacy? I hope it’s that the world is too fascinating a place to miss, and that the lessons lost by staying home are often too pricey. I hope he has learned that it’s possible to live beneath your means and yet make whopping exceptions like this trips — when those exceptions pay back in immeasurable ways.

I couldn’t agree more! Even in an economy like this, I’ll never second-guess money spent on building memories with my family.

Are you a pool person, or a beach person?

It may seem trivial, but it’s actually a good question to ask yourself (or for your travel agent to ask you) when you’re planning a warm-weather vacation.

If your ideal vacation centers around an infinity pool and a swim-up bar,  you might want to focus on some of the newer adults-only resorts in Mexico, Jamaica, St. Lucia, and the Dominican Republic — many of which have lavishly-landscaped “lazy river” pools, private plunge pools, romantic swim-up suites that open into the pool, and more.

If, on the other hand, you’re dreaming about talcum powder beaches and aqua blue water lapping at your toes, you’ll want to make sure you’re headed to a beachfront resort in a Caribbean destination like Grand Cayman, or Aruba — both of which are known for long, wide stretches of beach. Or, maybe you’d enjoy the pink cove beaches of Bermuda, or one of the deserted beaches of the Out Islands of the Bahamas.

One thing you would definitely want to know up front is that there are some tropical destinations that don’t have typical “postcard-perfect” beaches. In Cabo San Lucas, for example, most of the beaches are too rough for swimming. On volcanic islands like St. Lucia, the sand may be black. And on coral islands, like the Florida Keys, the beach may be very rough and pebbly.

Myself, I’m a pool girl now. I used to be a beach person. Growing up on the East Coast, our vacations usually included a week at the shore, in places like the Hamptons or Cape Cod. But as I’ve gotten older I’ve lost my taste for sand in my suit, and I prefer to lounge by the pool with a good book and an umbrella drink.

Sounds pretty good right now, come to think of it!

Welcome to the Annie’s Escapes Travel Blog — a central gathering place for travel tips and advice, photos, trip reviews, travel questions, and more.

We’ll keep the site updated with our thoughts and ideas, and if you love to travel, please chime in. 

For more information about Annie’s Escapes, visit www.AnniesEscapes.com

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