Welcome back to the blog! A little while ago I made a blog about planning my version of a Picnic Collective event. Check it out here! I really liked doing that so I thought I would do it again but as an adult destination birthday party. Destination events are not only for weddings so keep reading about my simple destination birthday party. This is something I want to do for my birthday and I thought I would take you all step by step in my decisions and how I plan it. If you like anything you see do it and let me know how it goes.
I am a Capricorn and one of the truest things to the whole description of what my personality is. I like luxurious things. This can sometimes have a bad connotation in modern vernacular but I think of it as I like to do things full out, I am a person where like certain events I want to wait till I can have it really nice rather than rush and have something less nice and put together. This does not mean that I only want to fly first class and stay in 5 star hotels and never get dirty. I love camping in tents and other things but I also would rather stay in a hotel when traveling abroad versus a hostel or couch surfing. That being said, this is going to be a dream birthday event but also reasonable. When I say a ski weekend, would I love to go to Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort and go skiing under the northern lights? Yes. Is a 21k birthday weekend event ever going to be realistic in my life? Absolutely not. Also the main point of this blog is to show ways you can do these fun luxurious events without being Warren Buffett. But to quickly digress how amazingly beautiful this is, and if you can afford to do this I say do it absolutely because it’s a bucket list thing. Maybe I will do another blog about how to plan a northern lights event for a reasonable price….
Antyways back to the birthday event. Today on the blog I will be planning a fun but also more affordable ski Weekend getaway!
The first thing I do with any event I plan is start off with a budget, it does not matter if this is a birthday party or a engagement weekend, the budget is the most important. This is why: 1) It sets the expectations and capabilities of the event. 2) It forces you to prioritize the different areas of your event. 3) It helps control the event. When I say create a budget it doesn’t mean anything is set in stone it just means how much of your income do you want to spend on this event if it is a personal one. There is no exact number or formula as it all depends on how big this party is and how you normally budget your money. But before choosing who to invite or where to go it’s important to sit down and put numbers and percents to this areas. This way it cuts down the options of comparisons when it comes to choosing a location and venue and the activities and itinerary.
*Event Tip: I like to tell my clients to overestimate prices to include season inflation and also give themselves wiggle room in cases of plan or price changes.*
When it comes to location I want real snow, I love California but there is definitely a difference between going skiing in Big Bear and going skiing in the UP and I am lucky enough to live in the Midwest where we do get snow and it’s easy to find somewhere to ski. When it comes to choosing a location I consider the following criterias:
- Guest List: This is super important when it comes to travel, I have friends who do not love flying or may get motion sick, so choosing something that is a 10 hour drive away or a 5 hour plane ride probably wont be to fun.
- Lodging: For this event I want to stay in a cabin so I am going to choose a location that has cabins available big enough for my group of friends, but also has a kitchen and living space.
- Distance and activities: When it comes to location where would we be sleeping in relation to where the slopes are? Would we need to rent a car or drive. Are their other things to do like snow shoeing and bars. Where is the nearest grocery store, hospital things like that.
For my event the location/ resort I am choosing is Boyne Mountain Resort, it is a manageable drive (I love road trips with friends), it has grocery stores nearby and it has so many fun activities to do like flat tire biking and snow shoeing. They have cabins and this particular resort fits all my needs without breaking the bank, but don’t worry I am going to continue to share tips and tricks to save money. I always allot the most of my event budget when traveling for events, for the lodging and resort fees. A common misconception with any travel or destination event that is smaller sometimes people think it’s cheaper to just do an air bnb and then figure out the rest, but this can often be more expensive especially when resorts will offer a package that can include activities, food and lodging. I am a type A person and will definitely do a spreadsheet the outlines all my wants and needs with the event and the cause doing it different ways.
*Event Tip: when you are staying in any resort or hotel lodging make sure you read the entire fine prints about payments. Make sure you know what your rate includes and what will be expected at check in. Will there be additional fees, and how much of a security deposit. One of the largest misconceptions or traveling budget mistakes comes from assuming the booking and online payment is all the money required for the lodging part of the trip. *
Transportation has the most fluidity when it comes to financial involvement and management with your destination event. I kind of touched on this when I talked about choosing a location. For me this event is important because the people that join me do not accept the financial responsibility to fly everyone to another country for a birthday party. I would not suggest that unless you have the expendable income to do so, but at the same time there are always better ways to spend money. I digress, when it comes to transportation for an event like this I want to think about each part where I spend money and the value it is putting in. I live in the Midwest so it’s not hard to find skiing locations in January for the most part, I wouldn’t ever fly out anywhere just because using transportation is a good way to connect with friends and whoever you invite and I think it’s hard to do that on a flight.
All of that being said in this fictitious situation I would definitely choose driving up to the resort. I say this because it is cheaper than flying or taking the train, and road trips are so much fun to me, I have a diverse friend group so doing like 2 or 3 cars and everyone just talking and getting to know one another is a great way to kick off the weekend. When it comes to driving the resort in this scenario is only like 4 or 5 hours away so that is only a tank or so of gas which comes to 25 dollars for my car. It is so inexpensive because if everyone chipped in and we have 5 people in a car that’s 5 dollars a piece. In comparison to a 100-200 dollar plane ticket plus bags, plus transportation to the airport, or a 100 dollar train ticket plus transportation.
This defiantly goes back to how you budget your event, and how much you have left after paying lodging, transportation and food. I am defiantly the person who makes an itinerary for every event and vacation ever. My itineraries always include pertinent information like lodging arrival times and departure times, but also activities times, near by parks, restaurants and grocery stores. I like doing this because it helps me stay prepared but also you never know when you may need that information.
In this scenario, the resort I am going with has a package with the cabin rental and it includes two activities that they offer and breakfast each day. Then you can always add additional activities. I am going to choose Skiing and Flat Tire Snow biking, because it’s my birthday and this is not real. In a real situation I would probably ask my friends what they want but we’d still be doing skiing. Aside from what the resort offers, if you drive to your event location I always say do your research, see if there are cool thing near by like national parks or land marks and you can spend a day just exploring which is fun and free.
Also I won’t have a food section because another fun activity is cooking, stopping by a grocery store on the way in and grabbing food to make is something my friends and I always do on a road trip. To me it is so fun to just have fun listening to music and cooking and baking with friends and just relaxing at night. Bring board games or even a laptop to connect to a tv or have it on for games can be fun but in this event disconnecting from technology is very appealing, to just be able to connect with nature and friends.
*Event Tip: I always say when planning activities or an itinerary for an event I like to go with a list rather than a timeline. Insert nonnegotiable activities that maybe provided or necessary then have a list of fun free and low cost activities. Doing the research can save money and also allow for a fun time.
I was debating putting this in here because it is supposed to be planning MY birthday event, but I also realize that as an event planner when it comes to ourselves we dial it down because no one ever really wants to work on their special day, and doing to much with my event is work. At the same time if I was planning this event for a client I would definitely do a little more in terms of event decorations. When you do any type of destination event (excluding weddings) and you do not have an event planner, keeping decorations minimal is suggested. Just because they are a lot to pack and set up and then clean up. Simply bringing some balloons or color coordinated plates and cups is a fun simple way to really make this a bit more fun.
If you were working with me as an event planner I offer my clients the option to have me stock the fridge with food if they wanted to cook, if not I would coordinate a meal delivery service option or set up restaurant reservation. I also set up and clean up decorations for them normally on the first night of the trip but it varies event by event. A plus for going with event planners is our job is to have all the information and do the research so all you have to do is come to me tell me what you are looking for and I help you with your budget then send proposals of the event including everything I went through here. A common misconception with event planners is that it’s only for rich people but our job is to help you plan your desired event and save you money. Paying for an event planner can sometimes be cheaper than planning it yourself and overpaying for your event.
That is it for my mid 20’s birthday party event. Planning adult birthday parties are easier in the sense of activities and entertainment because we can be entertained more easily, the trickiest part is budgeting and making sure this is a fun event that is also affordable, because no one has fun a their birthday party if all you can think about is how much everything costs and its financial repercussions.
If you liked this idea and wanted to do this for your next party feel free to reach out. There are several more ways to save money when planning this party!
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