I’ve Paid For This Twice Already…

Frugal living and debt reduction tips for a better financial future. This is one family’s story.

October 22nd, 2007

Do Vacations Spoil You For “Normal”?

Ah, vacation. A time to kick back, relax, and stop worrying about all the little things for a while. You’re not paying for the electric or water bill at the hotel (directly, at least), so crank up the air conditioning and take a long hot shower. Staying in a hotel, you usually can’t cook for yourself so treat yourself to food someone else prepared just the way you like it. It can’t hurt to live a little. It’s your vacation, after all. Or can it? What happens when vacation time is over and you have to return to reality and your “normal”? Do you slip right back into your normal life or does your brain and body rebel?

When we went on vacation this past week, I was looking forward to relaxing and treating myself a little bit to all the things we’ve been denying ourselves in the name of debt reduction. Yummy food someone else cooked, a nice cool breeze coming out of the hotel room vents…. but I must admit, at the same time I was a bit worried. Would the week in a hotel undo all of the hard work we’ve done the past 6 months on acclimating our bodies to less cushy climatic conditions, and the eating out every day make us crave more once we returned home?

The first night at the hotel, with the air conditioning set to 70 degrees, I found out the answer to the first question. I was cold! My body was so used to the 78-80 degrees that we kept the a/c on at home that 70 degrees seemed frigid. And contrary to what I suspected, my spouse felt the same way. He was cold too! And he even turned the temperature up a few clicks. This is a man who used to want the thermostat set at 68 degrees in the summer. Times change, and he’s adapting too. It doesn’t really bode well for our gas bill this winter, but we’ll adapt to colder temperatures… or we’ll start wearing hats indoors. Whatever works.

I must admit, the eating out was very enjoyable. We didn’t splurge too much or go anywhere very fancy, but just simple meals cooked by someone else really tasted yummy. I was careful to try and get the most bang for my buck – go to places I really wanted to go and order things on the menu I thought I would completely enjoy. I did consider costs – one night I ordered an appetizer for dinner because it sounded so good (and it was indeed a less expensive meal that way) and we didn’t go anywhere overly fancy (hard to do with two small children anyway), but all in all, it was great to get to eat out.

And, now that we’re home, we don’t crave eating out as much as we did *before* we went on this trip. It had been so long since we had eaten out that both my spouse and I were feeling a bit deprived pre-vacation. Sure, it would have been nice to spread the number of times we ate out over a much longer period of time, but that of course was not possible. We went to a variety of places with different cuisines we enjoy to make the most of our limited time of dining out experiences. We had italian one night, “american” another night (spouse is a hamburger lover), some authentic southern another night, and basically tried to limit “fast food” to when we were actually travelling and didn’t want to stop too long. Mmmmm other people’s cooking. And now I’m feeling okay about not eating out again until we visit our families at Christmas-time.

So, thankfully, for us, vacationing didn’t spoil us for reality at home. Which is good because it took a long time to reprogram my spouse. Although since it is getting colder and we are going to have to start discussing the “heat” temperature vs the “a/c” temperature, maybe a little re-acclimating would have been in order….

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11 Responses to “Do Vacations Spoil You For “Normal”?”

  1. I worry about getting spoiled by eating out again, too. I wonder if I splurge and go to a nice meal will I get out of the habit of cooking at home? Good to know you were able to “get it out of your system” while on vacation and feel satisfied.

  2. Looks like a vacation was exactly what you needed! You were able to indulge a little and appreciate your frugal ways.

  3. Good. Being satisfied is excellent. I’m one of those people who doesn’t vacation well, I think. I like breaks from my normal workload and chores, but I like to spend those breaks in comfortable settings. Mostly my apartment (or my home when I was younger). This has the downside that I still have to do most chores and cooking the same.

  4. :)

    I feel like eating peanut butter for dinner. So maybe I’m not out of the woods yet….

  5. I find that I although I enjoy eating out and so on when I’m on holiday, by the time I come home I’m usually craving some home-cooked English food, so its not a big deal. I also usually stay in hostels, so I’m really looking forward to getting back to my own bed. I guess I spend my money getting somewhere interesting, rather than on luxuries.

  6. I linked over to you from the Festival of Frugality and was so inspired by your travel story, budget inclusive, that I wrote an entire post about you :)

    You can read it here and blush!

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