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Does Sampling A Vacation Make Financial Sense?

Have you ever paid big buck for a vacation, only to get to the location and realize that it was terribly overrated and overpriced?  The vacation would end up being a horribly expensive experience because you packed up the entire family and flew them to the location, only to be disappointed and much poorer?

Sampling Vacation

If so, then perhaps a Sampling Vacation would work better for you?  In a sampling vacation you (and maybe a buddy) would go on a vacation (for a few days) to a destination optimizing the fly time and hotel accommodations so that it’s as cheap as possible, especially compared to carting the entire family to the area.  Once there, you can move faster than if you had the entire family with you, and then relatively quickly determine if it’s what you expect or not.  You could even determine what sights you would want the family to see based on your accelerated sampling of the vacation activities and strong points.


Ala Wai Canal


Where did the name Sampling Vacation come from?

A sampling vacation is what a guy from work uses to determine the vacation planning for his family.  You see, five years ago, his wife bought him two weeks of time over in Paris to study under a chef, as a surprise birthday gift.  He went over and enjoy both the class and countryside so much that he took his family (wife and two kids) after they saved up for a few years.  Today, he travels during the cheapest times to a vacation location, to sample the environment for a few days, then determine if both he and his wife want to take the family there or not.  If not, they have a standby locations that they go to and still enjoy, like Hilton Head Island or Disney World.


Palm Trees After Sunset

The only sampling vacations that I have been on, are the ones for blogging conferences and work related trips.  There are a few places out west that I would like to take the family on vacation when my kids are older.

Sunset Surfing


So the real question is, “Are such sampling vacations worth it or a waste of money?”  I know that when I’m on a business trip, it’s definitely worth it since I’m not paying for it on my dime… but the guy I work with, I’m not so sure it is.

For me, I think if I were able to sample a vacation for around $400 or $500, it might be worth it, otherwise I’m sticking to work related paid trips to sample areas for vacations.

Dreaming about vacation already,



13 Responses to Does Sampling A Vacation Make Financial Sense?

  1. I’ve never been on a vacation that I didn’t enjoy, and my husband and son might have different opinions anyway, so I don’t think this would make sense unless I were to use it as an excuse to take additional vacations 😉

  2. I had never thought of that before, but I also don’t have a family and kids. When it is time for me to use my precious vacation time, I go all out and try to make the most of every moment. I have been places that I enjoyed less than others, but I never had a vacation I hated.

  3. I’m with you. A work trip is good for sampling the area, but I don’t think I’ll pay out of pocket. I’d rather take the family with me even if there are problems. It’s not fun being in a strange city by myself.

  4. Aweekend trip may be a good way to sample, but I think investigating the location can be achieved using the internet. I use a number of online sites to find out information and where to saty, what to do and where to eat.

  5. It’s just the two of us (my SO and I), so it doesn’t make sense for one person to go out of our way to sample a vacation… besides, I do so much research on my vacation destinations that I feel a sampling trip is unnecessary.

  6. At this point, I’d take ANY sort of vacation I can get — sampling or otherwise.

    My husband doesn’t have a need for work travel right now, but it’s worth it to keep in mind for the future for maximizing it.

  7. I guess it would make sense if you get really get a cheap vacation for one. However if its going to cost over 1k then I am better off just reading reviews or asking friends. Plus you really dont know how things are going to be years later. If go to Europe and it takes my family years to save up a lot of things could have changed and it end up being a waste. i think the better way to sample is if you had to go on a trip any and you check it out for your family while you are there.

  8. This actually isn’t that bad of an idea, but with the Internet as big as it is today, I have found that you can get some killer deals on sites such as BookIt and TravelZoo. Both of these sites have 5 day, 7 day and other larger packages that are cheap enough so that you don’t have to rush.

  9. For very expensive destinations, this might be worth the time and money, but most of the time, I would rather roll with the punches and find a new hotel or something if vacation was terrible.