Click below to listen to Episode 39 – Planning for Summer Vacation

Planning for Summer Vacation

Check out these tips when it comes to saving money while on vacation.

In this episode, Bob and Mary Jo talk about something fun that is on everyone’s mind this time of year – summer travel. They share ideas, tips, and suggestions on how to get the biggest bang for your buck while traveling. Not every vacation needs to be on the cheap, but sometimes we all enjoy splurging. However, the money that you save is more money in your pocket that you can do other things with.

We never know what could happen tomorrow, so it is important to do some traveling while you are physically able to enjoy it. If you think you can’t afford it, get creative! Save where you can and splurge in other areas of your life.

HOSTED BY: Bob Barber, CWS® and Mary Jo Lyons, CFP®

Mentioned In This Episode

Christian Financial Advisors
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Bob Barber, CWS®, CKA®
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Mary Jo Lyons, CFP®, CKA®

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EPISODE TRANSCRIPT

[INTRODUCTION]

Bob: Welcome to Christian Financial Perspectives, a weekly podcast where we talk about ways to integrate your faith with your finances. This is Bob Barber.

Mary Jo: And I’m Mary Jo Lyons.

Bob: Are you ready to learn how to apply biblical wisdom to everyday financial decisions?

Mary Jo: Join us as we look at integrating your faith with your finances. If it’s your first time listening, welcome to our podcast, and if you’re a returning listener, welcome back.

[EPISODE]

Bob:
Ecclesiastes 3:11-13, “He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart, yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end. I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live, that each of them may eat and drink and find satisfaction in all their toil. This is the gift of God.”

Mary Jo:
On this week’s podcast, we’re going to talk about something fun that’s on everyone’s mind this time of year and that summer travel. We’re going to share some great ideas – well, we think they’re great – tips and suggestions on how to get the biggest bang for your buck when traveling, but we’re not suggesting that every vacation should be on the cheap. Not at all. Certainly there are times in your life when splurging is definitely on the agenda. However, where you can save, that’s more money in your pocket for other things that are on your priority list. We’re going to have some suggestions on how to save, but some ideas on how to create some fun memories.

Bob:
Mary Jo, this is going to be therapeutic for me today because I’ve been building a new home and I’ll tell you, I’m ready for this summer vacation.

Mary Jo:
You’ve said that to me a couple of times now.

Bob:
In July, we’re supposed to go see my second cousin get married in Colorado and we’re going to take a couple of weeks up there. We always go to Colorado in the summer to get away from the old Texas heat. And when it comes to vacations, all of us, we need to do that because we never know what could happen tomorrow. Mary Jo, you and I have had some friends, and I know you’ve had close family ,that have come down with cancer. And we just really never know what tomorrow’s going to bring, and while we’re physically able to enjoy it. And we even hear cancer happening to young people nowadays. So take those times to be with family and enjoy one another. And if you don’t think you can afford it, we’re going to give you some good ideas today. We’re going to get creative. Save when you can and splurge in other areas of your life when you need to.

Mary Jo:
Bob, I just love this topic. I think it was a great idea. I love travel. It’s in my blood. As I was growing up, we took a summer vacation every year. My dad was a school teacher and we did a lot of camping. So we were always on a budget, but we’ve been to every state in the United States. They wanted to make sure we did that. Been to every president’s home, every battlefield, and my dad just loved history. We got to see all of that as kids. There were always road trips. So my brothers and sisters and I, we really enjoy those memories that we’ve learned to share. And what are your travel memories? What do you have from your past that you can remember?

Bob:
I have great ones as a kid. Actually, I remember my parents, we did a lot of road trips and they would always say, Bob, if you would just not talk for just five minutes, we’ll pay you a dollar. Never did make it, but we we would do some camping and hunting and go into the mountains. But I tell ya, there’s no travel memories. And a lot of our listeners don’t know it, but my daughter, Jenna, is the one that edits our podcasts. And she could definitely tell you some good memories because we did so much traveling with our three daughters as they were growing up. But the memories were not always the destination, but it was getting to the destination. With three daughters, we had the suburban. My wife was a suburban mom, and we used to jam pack that suburban so full of stuff. It was so funny. It reminds me of yesterday, we went to eat yesterday over here at The Reel, some seafood. And we saw a tennis shoe just sitting. We got out of the car. There’s a nice tennis shoe on the ground. I remember when we would open up our suburban doors and we’d stopped like at a Buccee’s or something, things would come just flying out. There was so much stuff in the car and it was just this experience of all of us being jammed in the car. We listened to Adventures in Odyssey on these big road trips by Focus on the Family. That was what it was about was being together. Like you say, it was not necessarily about the destination. The destinations were great. It was about being together as a family and that time that you got to spend.

Mary Jo:
It was about the journey.

Bob:
Yeah, absolutely.

Mary Jo:
Yes. And my husband and I are very compatible in our traveling and we love to go and explore and we’ve created some great memories of our own in recent years. So, it is all about the journey for sure. But we do have some tips we want to get into. So our first and probably the most important tip is to create a budget.

Bob:
Oh no, no, no, no, wait, wait, this is a vacation. I don’t want to have to create a budget.

Mary Jo:
But you want to be able to take a vacation. This is the important part.

Bob:
I know. I have a great one here I want to share with you when you get through your’s. Cause I got a great idea we used to do.

Mary Jo:
Okay. So you want to determine how much you can spend without jeopardizing your financial future. I think you want to have a budget tracker. So figure out how much discretionary spending you can afford for the trip and divide this total by the number of days of your vacation. And that’s how much you can spend per day. So if one day you go over, then the next day you want to economize, and it’s kind of a great way to make sure you’re not overspending along the way, and it’s a simple process. I think that works for most people.

Bob:
What we used to do, did y’all do this, too, Mary Jo? We would actually put, like, let’s say on vacation, we were going to spend $80 a day or a hundred dollars a day. I’d put that in an envelope. And I would say day one vacation. And if I didn’t spend it all, then I would put it in the next envelope. If I did spend it all, we couldn’t go over unless you were going to rob for the next day. And I always tell Rachel, I say, now, if we spend this all, we’re going to have to rob from the next day and we’re going to have to budget the next day, but it was that old envelope budgeting system. Is that how y’all would do that? Or would you just keep track in a spreadsheet or something?

Mary Jo:
Well, we use the envelope system. In my house, my husband and I always argue over that word. I say envelope, he says envelope, but no, it’s a great system. I think it works for everybody no matter how you pronounce it.

Bob:
You can’t overspend when it’s not there.

Mary Jo:
That’s right.

Bob:
Another thing is travel rewards. A lot of us, if we’re real disciplined, we’ll pay our bills on those travel reward cards that are free. And you can sure rack up a lot of rewards and you can use that towards your vacation and get those card benefits. You don’t have to pay extra for it. And a lot of times, even like, if you’re traveling through air travel, like we’ve taken some trips all the way over to Hawaii, and you’re able to use even maybe an airport travel club. And we’ve done that. I like that also, not just for air travel, but like we’re a member of Marriott rewards and Hilton. And they have a lot of different types of hotels and every time you’re going to stay in one of those, like if you’re a business traveler, you can rack up those rewards many times and maybe use that towards going on a vacation.

Mary Jo:
We do that all the time, Bob. My husband traveled a lot for business. So we have really been fortunate to take advantage of all of those reward programs. And that’s one of the downfalls of traveling for business, but you get those perks that you can use for your family and your personal life. That’s how we’ve been able to travel so much, but you also want to be flexible. So when booking flights compare nearby airports. That’s not something a lot of people think about, but in Houston, it’s a big difference in cost whether you fly into the international airport or Houston Hobby, for example. Most big cities have those options. The smaller airports are often less crowded. You want to travel at off times, take late flights or early flights if they fit into your schedule.

Bob:
I can relate to that. We would do that with the kids. We would take those 6:00 AM flights. And they were like, what are you doing to us, dad?

Mary Jo:
But then they’ll sleep once they get on the plane.

Bob:
Yeah, that’s right.

Mary Jo:
Sometimes, you can save with connecting flights versus a direct flight. It’s not as convenient, but it can be cheaper. If your plans allow it and they’re offering vouchers, most of these airplanes today, they all overbook. And if you’re in an overbook situation and you’re flexible and you can wait a day to travel, go ahead and step up and take that free voucher. And certainly if your plans aren’t set in stone, check for last minute deals on cruises during your travel dates. Be open to going anywhere. And in fact, like you said, Bob, you’ve got the travel itch. Well, we’ve just moved. We’ve had a lot of family issues going on. So this summer we don’t really have anything on our agenda, and it feels so strange. So my husband and I were saying, well, what can we do? And I said, well, why don’t we just pick some times when we want to go and a few days before we’re ready to go, let’s just be open and see what kind of deals we could find and be very spontaneous. Now that he’s retired, he’s much more open to that.

Bob:
Some insights now that y’all are retired. We have a lot of retirees that listened to our podcasts. And I’ve heard about that on the cruises here in Texas, you could head over to Galveston and you can actually go up to the cruise window that day. And if they have extras, you can get a really, really good deal, but you gotta be willing to go at the spur of the moment. And a lot of our listeners with kids don’t have that option, but if you’re retired, you definitely have that option. We just talked about waiting till the last minute, but a lot of times you can’t. You really want to plan ahead for travel, too. The flights get really expensive at the last minute. So you want to plan ahead for that. Look for possibly free admission times. If you’re going to go visit museums, as an example. You’ve got some other ideas, I know, for like when you go to the big city.

Mary Jo:
Yes. And you were talking about kind of planning ahead, don’t take the first deal you see. So you want to compare all the options and prices, and there are a lot of websites that make that available to you. So do some comparisons for sure. One of the things we love doing when we’re in the big cities is doing the big red bus tour, so you can get on and off. And it’s a great way to kind of learn your way around the city and make a note of the things you want to spend more time at. But we have really enjoyed those when we’ve done it. So, I encourage that. Another option, and I think that a lot of our listeners fit into this category. I hate to admit that I’m getting closer, but look for senior discounts and some of them even start at 50 and 55, but hey, if you’re a senior take advantage of it. It’s one of the perks. Why not? And you want to look for free galleries, art galleries. We love to do that. Walking tours. We also did a ghost tour and an underground tour in Denver, and that was fascinating. Some of these older cities like Seattle, that’s where we did the ghost tour. And it was really interesting. So look for those kinds of unique things. Kids love it. Another good tip, make sure you research your best options for cell phone service. That’s especially true traveling internationally. So you may want to buy an international SIM card for your phone in the country where you’re going to visit, but go to their website or give them a call and find out what your options are. Make sure you’re not getting charged for roaming calls. And there’s always an economical way to approach that. Thinking about your transportation in big cities. Walking, do walking vacations. Use public transportation when possible, but if you do that, just make sure you’re safe and keep alert and know what’s going on around you. But we’ve had great success using public transportation – the subway, the train, the trolley car. When we were in San Francisco, we went to the trolley car museum, and it was very, very interesting.

Bob:
Mary Jo, I can tell you like doing those vacations in the big cities. For me, I like to go do the hiking stuff in the countryside.

Mary Jo:
We like a combination.

Bob:
I know a lot of people like to go to the big city travel. So another thing we talked about earlier is like getting those discounts and that’s traveling off season if you can. I know that we work with a lot of folks that they even homeschooled their kids. So if you’re homeschooling your children, go during those times when the other kids that go to public schools are in school and you can get some really good prices traveling off season. Of course, there’s the retirees that could do that too. Many times, the weather is so much nicer than going during the summer. As you know, it can get so hot in July and August.

Mary Jo:
Absolutely. We go a lot in September once the kids are back in school. So we have another couple that we travel with a lot and we tend to always plan something at that time and we’ve had great success. So, we encourage that for sure. And another thing we want to do is make reservations in advance. I had learned something really interesting the other day that I had no idea. When you’re shopping for tickets online, make sure you are browsing incognito and using private browsing, especially when booking flights. Airlines, they actually can track the prices you’ve been quoted previously. I had no idea so they know what they’ve given you. So you want to make sure they don’t see your tracks and leave those breadcrumbs so that you’re getting the best possible deals.

Bob:
Another one, Mary Jo, is you really want to reserve everything in advance, if you can, to avoid that disappointment of being able to get that reservation if you wait till you’re too late. Another thing I want to talk about and share is that those vacations can be things like a family mission trip or even a trip to the Holy Land to see the Bible come alive. Everyone I know that’s gone over to the Holy Land and visited, and I’m still wanting to do that. They said, it’s just like taking the words off the Bible and making them real. A few weeks ago when I was at a mayor’s prayer breakfast, a guy that was sitting on my right talked about the mission trip he took with his family. He said they got more out of that than they have gotten from the Disneyland trips. You don’t have to go far. You can do a local mission trip or just one right on the Texas border. There’s just so many people that need help. And many of the times your church will sponsor those. Mary Jo, you live in Rockport and Hurricane Harvey relief was such a great trip to take as a family to go help people.

Mary Jo:
Absolutely.

Bob:
The kids are seeing the parents at their best and you’re creating a true memory and sharing a legacy that is not just always about us and about me, but it’s about helping others. So think of that when you think of vacations.

Mary Jo:
Yeah. So many opportunities to give rather than just indulging ourselves. I love that Bob. You want to avoid eating out for every meal. That’s another way to save where you can. Maybe rent an extended stay suite with a kitchen and buy your own groceries. Maybe have breakfast and lunch in, or take sandwiches with you on the go. We’ve done a lot of reservations on VRBO. So vacation rental by owner. And that way we get a condo instead of a hotel room. And we’re always able to do some cooking and breakfast, things like that. Eat where the locals eat and avoid the tourist traps. The hotel concierge can kind of point you in some of the best directions, but off the side streets, get off the main drag and you’ll find probably much better food and certainly lower prices. And also the local markets for amazing food experiences. When we were in London, we took advantage of that. And there are so many of these big, huge community markets and it’s a great people watching area. So, we went to Chelsea Market in London and just had a phenomenal time sampling foods, watching people, and it was just a great way to spend an afternoon.

Bob:
Rachael and I, we always go to Yelp now and we look for those local restaurants and that’s where you can find those small little ones that you would never find through a big chain. And that’s a great idea. Talking about vacation rentals by owner, we’ve been using that for years, Mary Jo and all of our trips that we’ve done, we’ve done several trips to Hawaii. We’ve always done that, so much better than staying in a hotel. It was less, and we did do some cooking on our own and it really saves a lot of money and it’s better.

Mary Jo:
Absolutely. All right. Another good idea, Bob, something we had was a food tour. Have you ever done a food tour?

Bob:
No, I haven’t, but it sounds like a lot of fun. I mean, I’m starting to notice as we’re going through this, you’re a lot more experienced in travel than I am. Where did you have the time to do all this? Did you ever work?

Mary Jo:
I certainly did. But in the corporate years my husband got five weeks vacation and that’s the beauty of working for yourself a lot of time. So we take a lot of long weekends. And one of the things we really enjoyed doing was food tours. We did one in New Orleans and we did one in London and you get to sample food in a lot of different hotspots. So a lot of the big chefs will do it and you’ll go into one restaurant for an appetizer. And then the next one is for a beverage. And then the next one’s a main course, then a side dish, and then a dessert. And so you’ve seen like six or seven great attractions and sampled a lot of different foods. And they’re usually narrated, so you have an expert in the local culture and lore of the city.

Bob:
I’ve got to ask you. So how do you find a food tour?

Mary Jo:
You just Google it.

Bob:
You Google food tour. So like, if I wanted to find a food tour here in New Braunfels, I could just Google “food tour in New Braunfels”?

Mary Jo:
Yeah. And so some of those smaller communities may not do it because it’s harder to get around. Typically, they’re walking tours, but sometimes they’re biking tours. One thing we did in Charlotte one day was we did a pedal tour where they have these buses that are converted to bicycles and you get a group of people. I will admit here on our podcast about Christian Financial Perspectives, it was a brewery tour. We sampled a little bit of the local brewer, but it was so much fun. In most major cities, it’s an a fabulous thing to do.

Bob:
I’ll tell you what, I’m going to hire you to be my travel agent next time.

Mary Jo:
I do a lot of research. I’ve come up with daily agendas.

Bob:
Yeah, I need to get you. And we have a client here that has taken like 28 different cruises. So if you ever want to take a cruise, you need to go see her. If I want to go to a big city and see all the things I’m going to come see you, and I’m going to let you do all my agenda for me. I mean, I’m just amazed at all this stuff you’re coming up with. I’ve never thought of all this stuff.

Mary Jo:
Well, my sister and I are kind of great at doing that. I learned from her. Another thing you want to do is make sure you bring snacks and pack a refillable water bottle. So those are just some great tips. I’m sure that’s not news to our listeners, but just a good reminder. And now in a lot of the cities, even in New Braunfels, the street food vendors, that’s also pretty interesting. You’ve gotta be careful, but in big cities like New York and even in Mexico Cancun, or Cozumel, those kinds of places. Look where all the locals eat and you can get some of the best stuff. And if you’re like in The Bahamas, look for those local conk shops. If you’ve not had conk salad in The Bahamas, that is something you have totally got to do.

Bob:
I’m going to put you on the food channel. I think you know more about more about food and cities than anybody I’ve ever met.

Mary Jo:
Well, I love to cook. So I want to I want to learn.

Bob:
You know Rachael loves to cook and we always did that, too. Did incredible snacks. And we go on a lot of hiking. We’ve always done a whole lot of hiking and people would laugh. They would see, and they would come up, we’d be up in the top of the mountains and she would pull out a tablecloth, and we would put that down. And I mean, it was like a four or five course meal up in the mountains and everybody was kind of looking around and we’d say, well, you want some come on, come on over here, and we’d give them some.

Mary Jo:
See you’ve got your own food memories.

Bob:
I do. Yeah. There you go. I didn’t even think about it. You just help remind me of that. All right. We’ve got some more tips here.

Mary Jo:
We do. One of the things we want to talk about maybe is a, this is kind of new, but embrace the sharing economy. So it’s probably more appropriate for our younger listeners, but if you’re open to trying new things, maybe rent a room on AirBnB, if that appeals to you. You can certainly meet some interesting new people, but a lot of people rent out rooms in their places. So it’s a very economical thing to do.

Bob:
Oh, our two oldest daughters have done this. They’ve gone to Europe really cheap, and it’s amazing how cheap, and they’ve all done it through Airbnb. Now that’s not for Rachael and I. We’re more of the Marriott type or Hyatt. We’d rather stay there, but you can save a lot of money by doing that. I’ve been amazed how they have taken these amazing vacations and found them through Airbnb.

Mary Jo:
I’d love to hear from our listeners if they’ve had some great successes there. I don’t think I have that kind of courage, though. Another good one is to rent someone’s car for the day. This is probably more European in the big city again, but a lot of people don’t use their car every day and they want to get some income off of it. It’s an option. I’ve heard of people doing it and then bike-friendly cities. So that’s another economical thing to do to get exercise and tour the city. And now they have those scooters everywhere. I even noticed we were in Corpus Christi the other day, and now they’ve got scooters all up and down the Bay front. So if you want to go exploring, you just hop on a scooter, but you might want to make sure you have good medical insurance. I’d fall right off that thing.

Bob:
Oh, sometimes I’m scared to walk around those things. I’m afraid somebody is going to plow over me.

Mary Jo:
Bob, I know you had some packing tips.

Bob:
Yeah. When it comes to that, we know now that these airlines, first of all, you gotta be careful when you’re making reservations today on many of these airlines, because they will really get you on the bags. So look for those airlines that don’t charge for bags. My favorite happens to be a Texas company. I call it the company plane, and ship ahead. This is something that we’ve not done ourselves, but I’ve heard people are doing this. And of course, carry on. And an idea that my wife does, now, is she uses those bags. So you put your clothes in the bag and then you roll it up and then it gets all the air out of it. And you can put a whole lot more luggage in your carry on when you do that, have you ever tried that before?

Mary Jo:
Absolutely. You vacuum them out. Now, I haven’t done it in packing. I’ve seen people do it, but when you get in the hotel, you’re not going to have a vacuum to do it on the way back home. So I was kind of like, well, okay, well, it’s great when you go.

Bob:
You need to get the kind like this, then you don’t vacuum it. You just roll it, you roll it up, and it pushes the air out. And then you just let loose when you’re done and it doesn’t come back.

Mary Jo:
Awesome. One of the things about packing that we’ve learned the hard way is anticipate changing weather conditions. I’m sure this is a no brainer, but just a reminder, but plan for rain, chilly nights, warm day. So dress in layers. And the real important reason for that is to avoid having to run to the store to buy a new coat when you forgot your sweatshirt at home. Those things can really add up to your sudden expenses.

Bob:
Well, I’ll tell you what, Mary Jo, we’ve done so much hiking in the summertime in the mountains. You can go from 80 degrees down to 40 degrees very, very quickly when a storm is coming in. So you have to, like you say, dress in layers. Another thing that some people they say, well, I can’t afford to go on all these vacations like you do, Mary Jo. So they might want to consider a working vacation and think about a skill that you might have that you might be able to barter with. As an example, I like what you put up here. Maybe they can build a website. That’s what my son-in-law does. He builds websites, and maybe they could go over to Hawaii and build a website for somebody and they can get free room and board in exchange for that labor. So that is a great, great idea. I like this next one that you’re going to share. Oh my goodness. Because I’m thinking about Mike now.

Mary Jo:
If you’re a boat captain and we might have some in our listeners, but there’s other things as well, but why not offer to captain someone else’s fishing yacht. Say they keep it in Costa Rica for the fishing season or The Bahamas and they need to bring it back. Well, why not volunteer to navigate that boat back over here to the United States. It’d be a fun trip, fun vacation, and you’re using your skills, and getting paid to do it.

Bob:
Mary Jo, I’m looking at this next one. This is an idea that I have never thought of. Where in the world did you think of this? I’m telling you, you need to be a travel agent. If you love to drive, maybe there’s a winter Texan that needs someone to drive their RV back to Minnesota. Now, where did you come up with the idea? Is this something that’s really real? Have you heard of this one? Cause that sounds like a great idea.

Mary Jo:
Absolutely. You can find all these notices and you just kind of think about it. We live in the land of winter Texans, and they often come down here and one of them get sick. And so, they need to take the RV back home. There’s always postings for things like that. You just kind of have to get creative and be able to take advantage of it.

Bob:
Well, that’s a great idea. Just last weekend, I know that my oldest daughter and her husband, they went and rented an RV, but this is a great idea. So you can think about those winter Texans. I’m going to tell them about this one.

Mary Jo:
There’s another idea I’ve read about recently. And it’s called WWOOFing where you get free beds and meals if you want to go work on a farm. There’s a network, it’s actually a worldwide network, of organic farmers who often provide housing and meals to workers that want to come work on their farm. So what a cool experience that would be? Some countries have hundreds of participating farms. There’s a website it’s called WWOOF.net. So WWOOF.net. I think that would be fascinating.

Bob:
Can someone just give you a phone call after this podcast if they need some help with all this?

Mary Jo:
Absolutely. That’s part of my financial planning service.

Bob:
This next one is a real big one and this is a big one, especially for where I live here in New Braunfels. I’ve heard of a lot of families actually doing this. It’s called a staycation cause there’s so many things to do in our region. And you just become a tourist in your own town. Like here, you just go to Gruene or you go to like the Natural Bridge Caverns, or you go to Schlitterbahn or go visit all the missions down in San Antonio or go up to Austin on Lake Travis. There’s just so many things that you can do. And you start thinking about it locally, what can we do? I mean, I know a lot of you don’t live in Central Texas, but wherever you are, there’s probably a lot of local attractions that you can use. And I’ve even heard of people, they pack up and then they come back to their house. Like we’re packing up to go on vacation.

Mary Jo:
Bob, one of our big regrets, not necessarily a regret and we’re back in Houston a lot, but we left town without going by that mural where it has the big Houston painted on the side. And it’s a great place to get your Kodak moment and take your picture. And most big cities have those now. So, little fun things like that that just don’t cost anything. One of the things that Mike and I were talking about was we’re a big Houston Astros fan. So we love going to the baseball game and we sit in the cheap seats. Every stadium has those. So it’s a great way to take the family out to a ball game and look for the day when they have deals in the stadium. Every Tuesday in Minute Maid Park is dollar dog night. So that’d be a cheap way to feed the family. So sit in the cheap seats, get the dollar hot dogs and have a great fun time.

Bob:
Mary Jo, when we come see y’all in Rockport, I want to go visit the Corpus Christi Hooks cause it’s minor league baseball, but it’s so much fun. And it’s such a beautiful stadium down there in Corpus Christi overlooking that Bay and that bridge. That’s just beautiful.

Mary Jo:
We went to see the Corpus Christi symphony there with “Asleep at the Wheel”, so that’s a good Texas name. So Asleep at the Wheel played with the symphony last week. It was awesome.

Bob:
Another thing is don’t discount camping. I mean, we all love to go camping. I mean, I won’t say we all love to, but some of us love to go camping. Mary Jo, I was telling you about my camping experience with one of our daughters that wanted to go stay on Matagorda Island for three days. And that was quite an experience but if you’re on a tight budget, camping is something you can do very inexpensively, unless you’re like we did that one trip. We went and spent about a thousand dollars on camping equipment before we went and never used it again, but we gave it to all our kids.

Mary Jo:
We had the same kind of experience. We spent all this money, got a new tent, and went camping and then got a horrible rain storm. And the tent leaked and my husband got up in the middle of the night and he reached over and grabbed the middle pole of the tent, pulled it all up with one hand, throw it in the garbage. So, we never went camping again.

Bob:
In renting an RV. Nowadays you can rent an RV. There’s a website for that, just like rentrv.com or something like that. I don’t remember the actual website, but it’s kind of like VRBO, and Mary Jo, I got a great story here. We went down to the beach there in Port Aransas about a year ago. And I saw some families, like one big family. They rented about four different RV’s. You could tell they were they were all cousins and they made this little camp, they put it in a U and they put picnic tables out there. And you talk about a time of togetherness. It just looked like so much fun. It looked like so much fun.

Mary Jo:
We saw the same thing last year when we were up in the Grand Tetons in the national park. A lot of international travelers actually come over and do that kind of thing. Great idea for a family reunion or something, maybe a smaller family reunion, but great idea.

Bob:
And get out and visit those national parks and take advantage of all that hiking that they offer. It’s very inexpensive. I mean, you can buy a park pass for $5 or $6 a day, and it’s just amazing places that you’re going to see. You’re going to meet some really fun people too that love nature. Just love those nature trips.

Mary Jo:
Absolutely. And if you’re a senior, make sure you take advantage of those national park cards so you can get in for free. Bob, I think this next one that we share with each other is so important and it’s for our parents that are out there that are listening. We just want to encourage you to be present with your kids. They just want to spend time with you. And it doesn’t matter what you do or where you go, but just be there with them and enjoy some technology free time with each other. We all get so consumed with our devices, but this is an important time in your kids’ lives and be there for them. I just think it’s a thing we miss out on today.

Bob:
Absolutely. Put the cell phones down when you’re having those mealtimes together. Your kids may not like you for a little bit, but they’re going to remember those times they spent with you, not the times they were on their cell phone and creating those memories. Like you said, the fun car games. I remember we were always trying to look for all the different license plates across the nation as we were traveling and listening to Adventures in Odyssey, the ferry rides when we come down to like Port Aransas, instead of going through Corpus, we like to go the other direction around and take the ferry ride. They enjoy that. Feeding the dog ice cream cones. I think that was your idea. Tell me some stories there. That’s gotta be hilarious.

Mary Jo:
Well, my dad had a bit of a sweet tooth and we would like to go by Dairy Queen a lot and we’d all get our ice cream cone and he’d always buy for the dog. He’d sit and eat his and he’d feed the other one to the dog. And a lot of people don’t feed their dog ice cream, and it just gave him a lot of pleasure. It was one of those memories that I have from all our trips as a kid. And remember, they were all road trips and we would have to go through Austin and the Hill country to get to a lot of places from South Texas. And we would always go up near you Bob, and go down highway 181 and stop at Bart’s Restaurant. So I know a lot of our listeners in this area and they’re familiar with Bart’s, but we’d always go in for that homemade bread. I’ll never forget that memory of going in and having our ham sandwiches and taking home bread with us. And then when we would be in Rockport, there was a restaurant that was kind of an institution around here back in the day. It was the Duck Inn, and there was always this one waitress there. She had this coal black hair and she always wore it in the same hairstyle. I can just still see her in my mind’s eye. Those are the things your kids are going to remember.

Bob:
Our kids remember all the Lockhart barbecue trips and Mary Jo. Now our family has been eating at Kreuz’ barbecue over in Lockhart, Texas, which always makes it in Texas monthly as some of the top barbecue in Texas. For five generations, we’ve been eating that barbecue. Remember that funny story I was telling you about this one lady that was serving me from about the time I was 15 to about 50. And at 15 years old, she looked like she was about 70. 40 years later, she still looked like she was 70. I was thinking this smoke must be preserving her because how is it? This woman’s gotta be 110 now. The world just has so much to see. We really encourage you to get away this summer on those vacations, go out and see things. You don’t have to go across the world though. You can go across your state, even across your city. And there’s just so many great experiences to share with your family.

Mary Jo:
Bob, one of the things that I think we also want to keep in mind is new experiences. These are the kinds of things that keep you young. They keep your mind sharp. So you want to keep your brain working and healthy, living new experiences and exploring is one of the best ways to do that. Bob, from your experience, what is the number one thing that you’ve learned about traveling that you’d like to share with our listeners before we wrap up?

Bob:
It comes back to the beginning. It’s the time. The number one thing I’ve learned is the time that you spend with your spouse, with your children. Now we have a grandchild. It’s the time without a doubt. I can’t emphasize that more. It’s not the destination. It’s getting to the destination.

Mary Jo:
The journey.

Bob:
Yeah. It’s the journey. There you go. And what about you, Mary Jo? What’s that last thing you’d like to share about what you’ve learned with our listeners?

Mary Jo:
I think mine, I’m going back to the budgeting thing. It’s to avoid becoming house poor. And what I mean by that is don’t spend so much on your house and your car that you don’t have money left in the budget for travel because this is the fun thing in life. So, we like to make sure we don’t overspend on those things so that we can travel and have fun because life can be short. That has hit me smack in the face this last few weeks. And so, we definitely just want to get out there and see the world.

Bob:
Life can be short, and we want to encourage all of you to live for today, but plan for tomorrow. Get out there, stay safe, and have a wonderful summer.

[DISCLOSURES]

Comments from today’s show are for informational purposes only and not to be considered investment advice or recommendations to buy or sell any company that may have been mentioned or discussed. The opinions expressed are solely those of the hosts, Bob Barber and Mary Jo Lyons. Bob and Mary Jo do not provide tax advice and encourage you to seek guidance from a tax professional. Investment advisory services offered through Christian Investment Advisors Inc. DBA Christian Financial Advisors, a registered investment advisor.