Our 2010 Vacation: Plan For The Unexpected and Those BUMPS In The Road

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As many of you might now, we have been on our family vacation since December 23rd.  We have had some limited computer time, but we have shared a couple of ways in which we have saved on this vacation and will continue to share more on our vacation savings in hopes that it can help many of you save too.

We told you that the next thing we were going to share was we saved on theme park tickets, but we are going to share another story first.

In our first vacation post, we mentioned two things:

  • Don’t take a vacation that you cannot afford because it can get you into a lot of trouble!
  • Always plan on your trip costing more than you expect and plan for the unexpected financially.

In all of the vacations and getaways that we have taken, whether in our thrifty or unthrifty days, there has never been one time that the budgeted spending and/or time went exactly as planned.  Something always happens whether big or small to mess up our plans, cause us to spend more.  We have learned that its just a fact of life when vacationing! That is why we advise on setting your budget, plan to beat it with deals, but also include at least a 10% buffer for the unexpected.

So with that precursor, let us tell you about a BUMP in the road that cost use $361.00 of unplanned vacation expenses.

Last Tuesday morning, we were traveling down one of the Southern California Freeways to get to Disneyland.  Our beach condo was about 35 minutes from Disney and it was going to be our Early Magic Morning day to get in 1-hour earlier that the park opened, so it was about 6:30 in the morning.

We were traveling in the car pool lane on a busy interstate and was making great time! Then, all of the sudden…..our tire blew – it didn’t go flat, it flat out exploded! Al was very calm and had great control as I was panicking and saying, “what is THAT and what is going on?!?!”  I had no idea what would make that type of ruckus as it didn’t sound like a flat to me.

Al just quickly pulled to the left shoulder as we were in the car pool lane.  It was a scary place to sit as the sun was coming up and traffic was picking up.  I was in the passenger seat and watched the cars in my rear view window and seeing how closely those fast moving cars were coming to our mini-van and then the car shaking as each car passed.  Al tried to get as close to the cement wall to get us as much out of the way as possible that he couldn’t even open his door and I couldn’t open mine as it opened right into the car pool lane that was increasing by the minute with traffic. All that was going through my mind was all of the car accidents where people were on the shoulders trying to repair a flat and getting hit in the process! My heart was racing…..

We were stuck….. but we had a glimmer of hope as we are AAA members (we will share more about AAA at a later time) and so we didn’t need to get out at that point.  We called AAA and they said they would be there in 30 minutes.  But…. even with that, how would the person coming to help us be able to work on the car in this situation?

And then we saw something that was a HUGE relief! In our rearview mirror, a police officer had his lights on and was weaving across all lanes of traffic on the freeway and completely stopped the interstate.  He then directed us to the right shoulder and an area that was 3 car lengths wide to get us out of that heavy traffic that would be rush hour soon!

We were praising God that this officer saw us and was able to get us out of that scary situation before it turned bad!  This California Highway Patrol officer was so amazingly helpful. After he got us to safety, he made sure that we had help we need and stayed with us to help out in any way! Praise the Lord for his grace and mercy! There is no price or discount on safety.  The officer saw us only after we were in the shoulder for a couple of minutes and so it was not long at all that we were in that scary situation; he spent a lot of time with us, making sure we were ok and had someone coming to help us.  We are so thankful for this officer, his concern and his kindness!

About 30 minutes later, AAA showed up and was able to put on our spare tire with no glitches!

blown tire on van

Our tire was shredded (the above pic wasn’t our van/tire, but its a close idea of how the tire looked), it looked like an 18-wheeler blown tire, but on a run-of-the-mill mini-van! We called and found a close national brand tire store to get new tires. They said there was no wait and was only 5 minutes away, so we thought we might not be able to make this our early morning entry, but we can get to Disneyland close to opening time still!

We arrived a few minutes later and was then told it was an hour long wait….. But, after waiting for 25 minutes, we found out that they did not have our size of tires in stock.  We then had to find another place to go and so we headed to the next closest tire center and they said they could have us in and out in 20 minutes……

Three hours later………..two new tires, a repair and alignment (we really did a bang up job) and $361.00 tab, we were back on the road! It was around 11:30 at this point and we decided to call it a day! We went back to our condo and just rested, relaxed and had prayers of thankfulness that we were protected and that this incident was only $361.00 and not more!

So, we did not plan to spend an extra $361.00, but we were prepared! Between the initial trip budget we set and saved for, then how much below that we came from finding awesome deals on our vacation and that 10% extra above our budget, it was okay! Not preferred, but planning for the unexpected is what is expected when vacationing!

Now, we are writing this as we are preparing to leave Pahrump, NV which is where we have been the last couple of days visiting our snowbird grandma.  Ironically, she leaves the cold winters of Northern Utah to get out of the snow, but look what we woke up to (3 inches of snow) and will be driving in today!

In the 15 years she has been coming here, this is the worst she has ever seen.  On rare occasions, they have seen snow, but it does not stick or stay.  Typically it is around 70 degrees here at this time of year 😉

So as we are leaving here today and trying to get home, there will be much more prayer taking place today too!

To catch up on more of our vacation savings:

We also wanted to share with you our steps on how we prepare our vehicle when we go on a trip.  We did have our tires checked before leaving town and did the routine things we mentioned before, but as we said above, sometimes things happen even with the best planning.


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