January 21, 2015

Preparing for Vacation

I'm a planner.  It's one of my strengths and one of my weaknesses.  I over think things and over plan. Next month is our family vacation.  I love getting away from the cold Ohio weather.  We are taking a cruise leaving out of New York.  Nothing like leaving cold Ohio to go North.  But then we'll be heading South to Florida and the Bahamas.

I also just reviewed our vacation budget and we have saved the money to pay for or pre-paid everything we needed to for our trip.  This vacation is already 100% paid for.

Vacation To Do List:
  • Go Shopping for Snacks, Drinks and Wine - Budget $50
    • Snacks - I always pack a gallon sized Ziploc bag of many different types of snacks. Sometimes I pack two.  It always helps to have drinks and snacks on hand for the kids.  And it saves us money by not buying snacks along the way.  You would think there would be enough food on the cruise ship but we always end up eating through almost everything I pack. Sometimes you just don't want to leave the cabin for food.
    • Drinks - We'll take a cooler with bottled water, juice boxes and pop for the car ride and 1 night hotel stay.  I haven't decided how much pop to take on the cruise.  Mr. R is the only one that will not be happy without pop for the week.  But right now I can't pre-buy a pop card for just him.  NCL will charge us for a pop card for everyone in the cabin.   $177 for pop for 7 days is not in our vacation budget.  Maybe they will have a deal when we get on the boat or we can always buy it by the glass if Mr. R really wants it.  I'll probably pack a 12 pk to carry on and see how it goes from there.
    • Wine - We can take as many bottles on the ship as we want.  From reviews I've read, it seems some people are charged $15 per bottle corkage fee and some aren't.  I'll have to think about this more and do some research to see if it really saves much by carrying on the wine.
  • Transportation
    • Shuttle Service - We are driving to New Jersey the day before the cruise and hiring a shuttle service to pick us up at the hotel and drive us to the cruise port.  Our car will stay at the hotel for the week.  We'll also need transportation back to the hotel when the cruise is over.  I have 2 shuttle services that I've narrowed my choice down too.  I just need to make some calls, ask some questions and get it booked.
  • First Round of Packing - I typically pack and repack 3 times before a vacation.  What can I say, I LOVE packing.  The first round is everything I want to take and then realize its way too much and won't all fit.  This is going to be a hard trip finding a balance between taking extra to save money and over packing and being bogged down with luggage.
    • One issue with packing is that this cruise ship doesn't have washers and dryers to do laundry. They have a ridiculously overpriced laundry service that we won't be using.  On our last cruise I did laundry twice during the 7 day trip.  It's going to be hard to go 7 days without doing laundry.
    • I'm also responsible for packing for myself and the girls plus all the toiletries our whole family needs. Mr. R will pack the day we leave in 15 minutes, just throwing his clothes into a suitcase.
  • Contact our tenants and provide them with contact information in case any emergencies arise while we are gone and aren't able to get cell phone service.  
  • Let my parents know I'm giving our tenants their name and number in case of any emergencies. :)
  • Call NCl and get my credit card rewards points transferred over to our on board spending account. So far we have enough for $150 in rewards that will apply to our spending account.


  1. We just did a NCL cruise the first week of January. Call NCL and double check but I think you can buy the soda card for just one person. The question is will DH drink a lot? If a 12 pack or two would last the week - that is cheaper by far.and soda card is usually fountain - not a can.n also, room service is generally free except late night and pizza so you might want to try that for in room dining, can take time though. And there is usually a laundry sale one day - not cheaper just cheaper. It was 27 for a bag of clothes. And you can fit a lot in the bag. If you have status with them - at a certain level you get a free bag of laundry. For us we just used for tshirts/shorts /socks - packed enough underwear for the week but fewer clothes. Have a great time.

    1. Thanks for all the info! I hope you had a great cruise