Smart Financial Decisions: The Best Purchase Of Our Frugal Vacation

Retiring on my terms

Last week, I wrote about our decision to spend less than half of what we spent last year on our family vacation this year.

A year ago, we stayed at a luxury oceanfront resort.

This year, we stayed at a nice inn, which was about half an hour away from the public beaches.

There were many perks at the luxury resort last year, one of which was that a staff member would help bring your chairs and other belongings down to the beach, and set up a large beach umbrella or portable tent for you.

While this was nice, it also made me a bit uncomfortable. I’m a grown man, in reasonably good shape, with a wife and two children. I don’t need someone to carry chairs or set up a tent for us.

I know some people are all about the service, but I am all about self-sufficiency.

Anyway, by not staying at the beachfront resort, we no longer had access to this service.

Our family did enjoy the shade provided by the umbrellas and tents last year, so when we decided we wouldn’t stay at the resort this year, I started investigating potential solutions we could purchase on Amazon.com.

Given that we enjoyed the product we bought so much, and since I recently started this blog, I decided to try to sign up for the Amazon Associates program.

Don’t worry, I’m not going to turn Retiring On My Terms into a blog that does nothing but pitch products of dubious value.

This post is more a test to see if this middle-aged Gen Xer can properly link his new blog to the Amazon Associates program, than an attempt to make money. If this works, and there is an occasional product I purchase in the future I strongly believe in, I may try this again. If not, I’ll happily spend all my time on my usual chatter about credit cards, 401(k)s, and garage sales!

That said, I am required to disclose that we are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.

You won’t pay more for the product if you click on one of my links and make a purchase, but I will get a small fee from Amazon for bringing them a customer.

Now that I’ve gotten the disclosure out of the way, let’s talk about the product we purchased that the ROMT family loved.

It’s called the Pacific Breeze Easy Up Beach Tent.

And it was so much better than an old beach umbrella!

Retiring On My Terms
The ROMT family’s Pacific Breeze Easy Up Beach Tent, set up and ready for action!

First of all, it was very light. It weighs in at under five pounds, and comes with a lightweight carrying case with a strap, so it is incredibly easy to carry, which is helpful if you aren’t staying at a luxury resort with people to do your bidding!

Second, the tent provides UPF 50+ sun protection. Mrs. ROMT is a bit obsessive about sunscreen, hats, and long-sleeved shirts to protect our fair-skinned family, and the Easy Up Beach Tent provided another level of protection, at least as long as we were in it.

Third, the tent really is “Easy Up.” It literally takes seconds to set up, and seconds to take down. Very convenient!

Fourth, the Pacific Breeze tent came with both stakes, and ingenious sand pockets, to make sure it stays in place. The sand pockets are a cool feature. There are five of them positioned around the perimeter of the tent, and you fill them with wet sand to weigh the tent down so it doesn’t blow away. Last year, our umbrella blew down the beach when the wind changed, as did a tent that we used, which was anchored only by stakes, which don’t generally do much in the fine beach sand. We were at the beach this year using our Pacific Breeze tent on sunny days, windy days, and overcast days, and with the sand pockets filled and our belongings in the tent, we never once felt it was at risk of moving, no matter how hard the wind blew. When you are leaving the beach, you simply turn the sand pockets inside out to dump out the sand before you pack things up.

Fifth, I love the fact that after you disassemble the tent and fold it up, IT EASILY FITS BACK INTO THE CARRYING CASE, even if you haven’t folded it perfectly. I have had tents, chairs, and other products in the past that were almost impossible to fit back into their packaging after being used, unless you possessed both an engineering degree and the patience of a saint. Maybe Pacific Breeze just made the carrying case a little larger than it needed to be to make it easy to pack up, but whatever they did, I appreciate it!

Sixth, the price was reasonable. The regular price is $99.99, but we purchased the tent on sale for $69.99, and that price is still available as of 7/25/2017.

In retrospect, the only thing we would do differently is purchase a larger tent from Pacific Breeze. The dimensions of the tent we purchased were 87″ L x 47″ H x 49″ D. As you can see in our picture, we could easily fit beach chairs for Mrs. ROMT and I into the tent, with our belongings behind the chairs, but a little more space would have been appreciated. For an extra $30, we could have bought the Pacific Breeze Easy Up Beach Tent Deluxe XL, with dimensions of 95″ L x 52″ H x 51″ D.

In the interest of being frugal as we pursue financial independence and early retirement, we went with the lower-priced model, but if I had to do it all over again, I would buy the model that was slightly larger.

Given that our stay at the inn was so much less expensive than staying at the beachfront resort, we paid for purchasing our own tent (rather than borrowing an umbrella or tent from the resort) in less than a day. I expect the Pacific Breeze Easy Up Beach Tent to provide our family with many years of comfort and protection on our trips to the beach, and would definitely purchase from Pacific Breeze again in the future. They really make a nice product!

Please click the link below if you would like more information about this product, and thank you for reading. I’ll be back with a more traditional post about our path to FIRE next time!

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