This week’s Tuesdays on the Run topic is a potentially touchy one: Budgeting for Destination Races. Thanks as always to Patty, Erika and Marcia for hosting what is sure to be an interesting discussion!
Budgeting for destination races is a tricky topic because everyone’s definition of “destination race” is different, as is everyone’s budget. My husband always laughs at the idea that running is “cheap” exercise because you can easily spend a fortune on race fees and gear. How do you keep that in check?
For me, I consider a destination race anything I have to fly to rather than drive. For the most part, that’s been runDisney events. My biggest strategy in ameliorating the cost of Disney races is to incorporate them into our family vacations. For Princess, Wine & Dine and the upcoming 2017 Marathon, we plan our family vacations around races. If we would fly to vacation anyway, might as well do it at a time there’s a fun race, right? Fortunately, I have the support of my family and the schedule flexibility with my vacations to do this (although that may change now that O is starting kindergarten).
For the Star Wars race weekend, which I undertook alone, we considered that my birthday and Christmas gifts for the year and used frequent flier miles to offset the costs. For the Marathon weekend in January, we’ll be staying on our DVC points and not (gasp!) going to the park at all for the weekend because the price of tickets for such a short stay is getting a little out of hand. Obviously, that’s a trip without Oliver because there’s no way a 5 year old could SEE the Magic Kingdom and not go in. My husband may have trouble with that too!
Other things that might help offset the costs of destination races:
- Register early, as registration only gets more expensive as time goes on. Be sure to look around for any coupon codes on blogs or even on Groupon for some races.
- Find a roommate, if you’re comfortable with that, to decrease the costs of a hotel a bit.
- Get groceries rather than eating out for every meal. At Disney, I’m a big fan of GardenGrocer for grocery delivery to the room, both for convenience and to save a little money on eating out. It also lets me eat what I’m used to pre-race.
- Use your gift giving occasions, like birthdays or Christmas, to ask for gift cards to offset the cost (like airlines or Disney or hotels) or even a race registration.
Mostly, though, be careful about letting the fear of missing out drive you to spend more on destination races than you can afford. It would fabulous to run all of the Disney races and I drool over pics from San Francisco and DC and New York races, but I could run locally for a few years for what it would cost for one trip for a Disney race. You can have a great experience for a fraction of the cost, locally or within driving distance, so don’t let the pretty pictures out in social media and on the web suck you into spending more than you should.
How do you figure out a race budget? Do you have trouble sticking to the budget once you’ve set it?