Vacation POTUS Style — at What Cost?

Written by Suzanne Olden on April 3, 2013

MH900305798Not sure if you noticed or not, but Spring is finally beginning to show itself. Warm weather makes us all think about summer vacations, beaches and fun. But if you’re like most people you probably don’t have the extra money to take one. Unless, of course, you’re the President of the US, then you’re probably planning several! With 3 months of 2013 completed, he and his family have managed to make room in their schedule for THREE of them! Of course, they don’t have the budgetary constraints you and I share. After all, they have TAXPAYERS to foot the bill!

Now before all the Bush haters out there start on me I will stipulate, up front, that given the same time period (i.e. one term and 3 months of a new term) Bush had taken more vacation days. The cost to taxpayers was not nearly the tab the Obama’s have run up. We were also not in the midst of the worst economy since the Great Depression (Obama’s words, not mine) or a sequester that shut down services and slashed budgets. President Bush also was thoughtful to taxpayers as well. He usually vacationed at his Texas ranch, the family compound in Kennebunkport, Maine, or would usually just take a few days at Camp David. No hotel costs. Camp David also didn’t have the Air Force One jet costs either. I know this because I can hear the helicopters fly over when they are headed there.

Let’s look at vacations from just this year for the Obamas. They spent the New Year in Hawaii. Obama flew back and forth twice. According to an updated figure from the US military, every time he takes out Air Force One, it costs the taxpayers at least $181,757 per hour! A one way flight to Hawaii from DC takes 12.5 hours, or $2,271,963. Doing some basic multiplication will show us that his 4 trips from DC to Hawaii and back cost $18.2 million dollars! Early reports of the entire vacation costing $4 million were obviously underreported. “But,” the media says, “the Obamas have ties there and are creatures of habit!” Ok, and? Find a new, less expensive, habit!

Flash forward to President’s weekend. The Obama women decided they needed a ski vacation and headed off to Aspen for a long weekend. Taxpayer tally for the weekend? $83,183. While the girls were away, Obama himself decided it was time for a golf weekend in Florida. He stayed at the exclusive and expensive Floridian Yacht and Golf Club and played with Tiger Woods. That cost us just under a million dollars.

School is hard and now that spring break has arrived, it’s time for another vacation! Sasha and Malia are tired and school was rough so they headed down to the most expensive resort in the Bahamas, the Atlantis Resort on Paradise Island. Life is hard … no word on how much that cost us, but why should the Obama’s care? It’s not their money.

For a bit of reality here, let’s look at my own family’s vacation history. 2013, none and none planned. 2012, none. 2011, the kids and I stayed with family members in Ft. Myers, Florida for 5 days, airfare was coach and typical Southwest sale fares. 2010, kids went to Florida to stay with the same family members for a week. 2009, none. 2008, none. 2007, husband and I took a 5 day cruise for our 15th wedding anniversary. We saved for a year. The last family vacation we took, all together, was in 2005. Last year was our 20th anniversary and we went … out to dinner. A vacation wasn’t in the budget, as much as we wanted to go on one. Yet the President and his family have taken 16 in 3 years!!!

I’m not saying that the President doesn’t deserve any down time or family vacations. What I am saying is that he needs to pay for his vacations HIMSELF! Our country is almost 17 TRILLION DOLLARS in debt. The sequester that POTUS insisted upon shut down and laid off military and air traffic controllers, as well as White House tours. Yet he has no problem spending upwards of $19 million dollars just on two vacations. Lord knows what Atlantis is costing us! This is our tab for only 3 months of one year. I would love to tell you what the last 4 years cost us, but I can’t. Mostly because the news outlets won’t report the number of trips and costs to us. Estimating based on 3 months of this year is really making my head hurt. You do the math!

No one is deserving of that kind of largesse at the expense of others. Americans are hungry, homeless, facing rising fuel and food costs, higher healthcare and health insurance bills thanks to Obamacare …everything is getting more expensive while paychecks are shrinking. What in the world makes the Obamas think they deserve to take long, expensive and luxurious vacations? Why not take a long weekend at Camp David? Hell, a weekend at Ocean City, Maryland will only run a few thousand even with the Secret Service!

Here’s an ever better idea. Try living like most other American families and decide that if you can’t afford it on your own dime, you don’t go. Just a thought.

Suzanne Reisig Olden is a Catholic Christian, Conservative, married mother of two, who loves God, family and country in that order. She lives northwest of Baltimore, in Carroll County, Maryland. She graduated from Villa Julie College/Stevenson University with a BS in Paralegal Studies and works as a paralegal for a franchise company, specializing in franchise law and intellectual property. Originally from Baltimore, and after many moves, she came home to raise her son and daughter, now high school and college aged, in her home state. Suzanne also writes for The Firebreathing Conservative website ( and hopes you'll come visit there as well for even more discussion of conservative issues.