COLUMN: Cost of living won’t stop this vacation

Reporter's Viewpoint

My approaching vacation has me trying to calculate how much money I’m going to have to spend on travel costs.

I’m travelling to the Interior to visit my parents, canoe, fish and enjoy some time off in the sun, if the weather holds.

First of all, to get off the Island I’m going to have to take the ferry. Flying would be an option if I didn’t have a cat or have to carry as much junk with me.

I have to bring his scratching post, litter box, toys and other items so he doesn’t decimate my parent’s house. It’s almost laughable, but my cat has more luggage than me. I think he might be a little spoiled.

I contemplated taking a trip overseas or to a sunny Caribbean destination, but the taxes on the trip caught me by surprise. I quickly changed my mind when I learned the taxes on a trip to Las Vegas were more than the trip itself. I’m not sure how that works.

Now, I’m bracing myself for the ferry price. The cost has made me stay on the Island more this year instead of travelling the occasional weekend to visit my grandmother in Abbotsford.

I find it interesting the ferry corporation is blaming the high Canadian dollar for lack of ridership.

I have no doubt the soaring loonie and more people heading south of the border is having a big impact. I also know from talking to a number of friends and others that ferry prices are making some people think twice about hopping over to the mainland for a weekend excursion or family visit. The prices are influencing some people’s choices.

Gas prices are also impacting my travel plans. I’m glad my vehicle has great fuel efficiency for its age (1992), but it could be better.

Sometimes I wish I had a hybrid car, but the expense is too much. No matter how much I would love to lessen my impact on the environment, it’s going to be a while before that happens. Hopefully, there will be better alternatives by that time.

The problem is too many things are increasing at once and people’s wages aren’t keeping up with rising costs.

I cancelled my cable a while back so I could save an extra $50 to $60 a month.

It didn’t seem worth it anymore. I kept missing the three shows I really wanted to see and got tired of having to pay for the highest tier to get the only channel I really wanted to watch – the Space channel. Yes, I’m a science fiction junkie.

I’ve stopped many activities because it just means money will be going out the door.

I’m big into saving, but it’s getting harder and harder to find places I can cut costs without having any life at all.

I rarely go out. I don’t buy morning coffee, I don’t smoke and I don’t drink. All of those issues that can be money pits aren’t a problem for me.

Buying prepared foods is a drain on the pocket book and I have been guilty of it lately.

Usually I try to make big batches of food on the weekend and package them up individually to store in my freezer.

I have my electronics plugged into power cords and try to remember to pull the plug out of the wall when I’m not using then to save on hydro costs. I’m not sure how much that is going to help but at least it’s something.

Before I take my vacation, I’m going to examine ways I can cut costs without sacrificing too much fun.

However, on my trip, I’m not going to worry.

Given the time I worry about pinching pennies during the rest of my life, I think I should at least enjoy two worry-free weeks.

reporter3@nanaimobulletin