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The Most Exciting Vacation I’ve Ever Taken-$900 Giveaway

August Blog GiveawayI have been on some pretty sweet vacations in my life. However, the most exciting one wasn’t my recent trip to the Pacific Northwest or anything free I’ve gotten with credit card points. It wasn’t my first trip out of the US. It wasn’t my trip to Italy. The most exciting vacation I’ve ever had was the very first one my family ever took when I was in second grade.

I remember that vacation like it was yesterday, although it’s kind of funny to think about it from an adult perspective. As I’ve mentioned before, my Mom and Dad don’t travel. My Mom would have spent her whole life never getting on an airplane if I hadn’t moved so far away. They have no use for vacations, but for some reason my Dad came home one day and said we were going to Florida, in a few days!

My sister and I were beyond excited. If  you grew up in my hometown in Southern Kentucky, almost everyone who vacationed went to Florida or Myrtle Beach, but I never thought I would get the experience. Being the workaholic that he is, my Dad decided to work one more day. Then, we would leave after work, drive all night, and get there by morning.

Who Needs Sleep?

Did I also mention that my Dad is one of those drivers who never asks directions or lets anyone else drive the car? My sister and I were laid out in the back seat with the instructions to go to sleep. I don’t believe our car had seatbelts back then, so she had her half, and I had mine.

Sometime in the middle of the night, my Dad drifted off to sleep,  and we went off the side of the road. My mother, the human alarm, starting screaming, and he somehow was able to correct the car before we flipped over. My sister and I were too little to be scared and thought it was fun, but my Dad was shaken up enough to let Mom take over the wheel while he had a little cat nap.

I remember her asking which exit to take, and he told her to keep driving, because he wouldn’t be asleep that long. I guess Dad was more tired than he thought, because when he woke up, we were 80 miles south of our destination!

No Room At The Inn

We eventually did make it to Daytona Beach. Did I also mention that Mom and Dad didn’t make any reservations? They thought it should be easy to drive up and get a room. Well, I guess all our neighbors were already there, because everything  in the vicinity was full except for this seedy little motel called the Shoreline.

Aside from the mattresses that were tilted so you almost had to hang on to keep from sliding to one side and the very minimal amount of cockroaches, it was an excellent place to stay. You know, to an 8 year old, it was the most amazing place ever. We got to go the beach and the pool. Mom took us to a water park that had dolphins. It was cool to get to go to a restaurant and order from your own menu. You don’t have to do much to impress your kids. I’ve learned that you can plan all kinds of fancy activities, and your kid is likely to find entertainment playing with rocks.

I guess to the seasoned traveler, we might have looked a little bit like the Beverly Hillbillies. I’m happy to say that we went twice more to Florida before I left home for college, and both times we made a reservation beforehand and didn’t see a single cockroach. Dad also let Mom and later, me, have a shift at driving. Mom has never let him live down that first experience, so he has tried hard to compensate over the years. However, that first vacation as a child, obstacles and all, will still remain the most exciting one I’ve ever taken.

$900 Giveaway

How would you like to have some PayPal cash to use for an exciting vacation or whatever you want? First prize is $500, second prize is $300, and third prize is $100. DC at Young Adult Money, Cat at Budget Blonde, and Sicorra at Tackling Our Debt have put together this giveaway, and I am happy to host with some other fine bloggers. It runs until the August 21st and is open to anyone with a PayPal account world wide.While you’re at it, enter here for your chance at another $100! Good luck!

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About Kim Parr

Kim Parr is a private practice optometrist, freelance writer, and personal financial blogger. You can follow her journey to 20/20 financial vision at Eyes on the Dollar.

28 comments

  1. Great to be co-hosting with you, Kim!
    DC @ Young Adult Money recently posted..My Dream Vacation $900 Cash GiveawayMy Profile

  2. OMG! Are you sure that we don’t have the same parents? I know that things were different then and they couldn’t just hop on the internet to make reserverations…but still. My parents would drive us all the way to Florida and then we would drive from hotel to hotel until they found one they liked. Ahhhh!!!!!
    Holly@ClubThrifty recently posted..Unfrugal Places To Visit…..and a Giveaway!My Profile

    • That sounds so familiar, and then the big swagger when Dad finally found one and came walking back to the car. My parents maybe stay in a hotel once a year if they have an early doctor’s appointment out of town, but they still don’t reserve it beforehand. I guess old habits die hard.

  3. Haha, great story! Just goes to show you that the real value in a vacation is the people you’re doing it with and the sharing of experiences. And of course, nothing like a little childhood wonder to make something feel extra special.
    Matt Becker recently posted..DIY Car Maintenance: How to Change a Car BatteryMy Profile

  4. What a great story, Kim. :-) It reminds me of our first trip, a camping trip to Itasca State Park. I will never forget tubing down the start of the Mighty Mississippi River, perusing the amazing gift store, complete with a boatload of Indian trinkets and clothing items, and puking like a banshee due to the motion sickness I had as a child. :-) It’s really not the destination that makes the trip, but the experience, isn’t it?
    Laurie @thefrugalfarmer recently posted..Paying off Debt: How to Recover From a Blown Budget MonthMy Profile

    • It really is. I can look back at some of the places I thought were great as a kid, and they really aren’t that great. The thing is that it was time you got to spend with your family when no one was worrying about keeping the house clean or making sure our clothes were ironed. I was thinking back the other day about playing with my cousin in the summer on the hay bales my Grandpa kept for his cows. You would have thought we were at Disneyland.

  5. I think we must have the same parents! ;) My Dad is the same exact way. He won’t ask for directions, does all the driving himself and never makes reservations. It’s crazy, but it makes for some interesting stories related to places we stayed as a kid.
    John S @ Frugal Rules recently posted..The Best Vacation I’ve Ever TakenMy Profile

    • That must have been the parenting mold back then. My dad is actually pretty good about not getting lost most of the time. Believe it or not, he actually studies maps for fun. Several times, I’ve been telling him about a place I’ve visited where he’s never been and he can tell me which road you would take to get there.

  6. Not planning for reservations can bite you in the butt! We went to key west planning on staying the weekend (it was a 4+ hour drive) and had to drive back that night because there was a Harley Davidson convention in town. No room and Harleys everywhere! Crazy!
    Mrs PoP @ Planting Our Pennies recently posted..Just Out Of School, Deep In Debt, Job Sucks. What To Do?My Profile

  7. My favorite trip was to the UK a long time go. We traveled with friends up and down England and Scotland.
    krantcents recently posted..Things you must do to succeed at real estate investingMy Profile

  8. I think it must be a generational thing – not making hotel reservations. LOL! And yes, I do think kids see things through very different eyes than we do. I had to spend an entire day at the City Clerk’s office to get a passport for Taylor. I was at my wit’s end, but Taylor was having a great time playing with all the other kids waiting with their parents. When she left, she asked me when we could came back so she could play with her new friends. :)
    Shannon @ The Heavy Purse recently posted..Achieving the Family Save Goal – When in RomeMy Profile

  9. I LOVE your story. Sounds a lot like my own father!
    Tara @ Streets Ahead Living recently posted..I want to get off Verizon… give me a suggestion!My Profile

    • I could tell lots of stories that are similar to this one, mainly with my Dad thinking he doesn’t need any help, when he actually does. I think lots of men must be like that.

  10. So fun to read about everyone’s favorite vacations today!
    Nick @ ayoungpro.com recently posted..What Would Make You Take a PaycutMy Profile

  11. It is funny to see what we view as a child. You probably wouldn’t stay in the same place as an adult, but it was awesome when you were a kid. Great story Kim!
    Grayson @ Debt Roundup recently posted..Overlooking the Cost of Vacation in Favor of the Experience + Cash GiveawayMy Profile

    • If that place wasn’t condemned by now, then I certainly wouldn’t stay there. It was a dump, but back then, I couldn’t see what my mom was so upset about!

  12. Love this travel story! My parents, who never travel, took my brother and me on a cross-country trip from Indiana to California when I was four. I still remember the absolute thrill when my mom told me that I could keep the little wrapped soaps that were stocked in our first motel room. It was like getting an exotic gift. After that, my brother and I had to take turns getting the soaps and shampoos and we practically ran into each new motel room. You are so right when you say you don’t have to do much to impress your kids when traveling!
    Patti recently posted..Vinegar and Baking Soda – Not Exactly Frugal for the LaundryMy Profile

  13. I remember going on a family vocation when I was five and remember how magical the whole experience was. I went back to the same vocation spot 25 years later and it was nothing like it. I think we become harder to please as we get older
    Peter recently posted..Shopaholic? This One’s For You!My Profile

  14. Great read and I can so relate to your story. I don’t get to vacation very much. My last one was fantastic. We went to Rhode Island, Maine, Cape Cod and Nantucket.
    Cindy Brickley recently posted..Follow my blog with BloglovinMy Profile

  15. Most exciting vacation was taking my two children when they were small to Disney World. Thanks for a great giveaway!

  16. The most exciting vacation Ive taken was this past February, my family went on a cruise. It was so relaxing. We went to Honduras, Mexico and Belize. It was the first trip my husband and I have ever taken together, so that was a nice change.

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