A Little More Each Day

One working mama learning to run & to maintain my 100+ pound weight loss!

TotR: Budgeting for Destination Races

on May 10, 2016

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!

ToTR logoBudgeting 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?

imageFor 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!

Half Marathon: My favorite California Adventure photo!

Half Marathon: My favorite California Adventure photo!

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?

6 responses to “TotR: Budgeting for Destination Races

  1. mkadens1 says:

    Great ideas on ways to “reel it in”. It does get pricey really fast! I look back at all the races I dragged my kids to when they were little but as you mentioned, once they are in school, it gets that much harder.

    • Oliver doesn’t know that we’re going to Disney without him in January. He thinks it’s a work trip. Thankfully I travel for work a lot, so we should be able to get away with that little lie.

  2. lachicaruns says:

    Adulting is so hard sometimes. I haven’t done any Disney races and have yet to even consider them because most reviews I read mention just how expensive they are. Is it worth it?

    • They are miles above anything else I’ve done in terms of entertainment along the course. It feels like an event as much or more than a race. That said, it is really expensive, especially if you don’t live near one of the parks.

  3. We are always going to destination races (mainly Disney) so we always get Disney Gift certificates for Christmas so that always helps w the cost when we go.

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