Ways to Cut Costs on Trips With Your Loved Ones.
Like many people, perhaps you find that your finances are still a bit shaky as the economy struggles to come back. Should you even dare consider something as seemingly frivolous as a family vacation in these lean times? You absolutely should, for there are numerous ways to significantly cut costs on that trip you would love to take your loved ones on.
Does my family really need a vacation?
If it’s been a good while since your family last took a vacation, you all probably feel the need to get away, and you should act on that. It’s good for everyone to have a break from the day-to-day grind and a change of scenery now and then.
Of course, movies and TV shows love to show families on vacation bickering to the point where parents can’t wait to get home and back to work, but as you may already know, trips don’t have to be spent that way. Your family vacation can and should be a shared time that is interesting, educational and relaxing.
Planning is key to a value-priced vacation.
Long before you begin setting the specifics of your trip, it is a good idea to start saving money. Just a few dollars a week over a year’s time can really help take the sting out of vacation costs. Open a vacation account at your bank or credit union. You can even involve the kids by having them pull money together through cashing in bottles and cans, doing chores for neighbors, etc. Make it a joint effort among all the family members.
Next, begin considering what sort of vacation you want to take. Foreign travel? Walt Disney World? Washington, D.C.? Develop a general idea. At this point it is a good idea to set the ground rules. Let the kids know from the outset if the trip is going to involve camping in a forest and leaving the video games behind; there is less chance for complaining later.
Use the Internet to find deals. Peruse websites that offer discount hotel accommodations, car rentals, etc. Consider package deals. There are sites that predict what airfare may be at different times of the year, and you can take full advantage of these if you have the flexibility of travel outside of the peak season. Remember that “peak season” can mean different times of the year depending on your destination.
Consider other ways to cut costs.
Here are some other things you can do to trim costs on a family vacation:
- Bring a babysitter along.
- Drive instead of fly.
- Plan outings during your vacation that don’t cost a lot; contact local tourism associations such as the Chamber of Commerce for help with this.
- Always ask for discounts.
- Plan “down time”; you don’t always have to be going somewhere or doing something while on your trip.
Finally, make sure you set and stick to a budget. As part of this, limit souvenir purchases by setting a dollar amount for each person to spend.
By following a plan, utilizing some simple money-saving tips, and keeping to a budget, you and your family can enjoy a wonderful vacation without stretching yourself too thin financially and definitely without going into debt.