Vacation Savings Tips

AAA

Escaping from the confines of a cubicle or a classroom for a fun-filled vacation is something most people dream about. The good news is that you can enjoy your holiday without spending exorbitant amounts of money. Read on for tips on how to stretch your vacation and your budget.

Do Your Research

Think about what you'd really like to do on your vacation and create a list to narrow your choices - whether it's hitting the beach, going shopping, climbing a mountain or visiting a museum. Consider whether you can do this somewhere nearby, or whether you know anyone who has done your chosen activities before on a similar budget. Alternatively, travel agencies or even chat rooms on the topic can provide great advice on accommodations, places to dine, things to do and tourist traps to avoid. Internet sites such as Yahoo! Travel, Expedia and Priceline are often useful when seeking reasonable fares.

Look For Deals or Coupons

Peruse newspapers, magazines and websites for advertised deals (or coupons) on items like hotels, rental cars or other methods of transportation you'll be using. Major airlines also offer some good money-saving packages, and many clubs or organizations offer discounts to certain demographics such as students and senior citizens, so be sure to ask vendors what discounts are available and whether you qualify. Booking online can often save you up to 30%.

Shop Around

Don't just call the hotel and airline directly to make reservations; call them to inquire not only about price, but also to determine whether any of the travel websites enable you to plan, price and book the trip online. Many travel websites direct travelers in bulk to certain destinations, which can mean cheaper rates than you'd be able to fetch on your own. In addition, some travel organizations offer discounted rates to groups, when asked. If you don't ask, you might not be offered the discount - and don't forget to negotiate!

Pack A Lunch

Unless you've landed a great all-inclusive vacation, one of your biggest expenses when traveling is dining. Consider packing a cooler with your favorite lunch or dinner items. Alternatively, you could visit the local supermarket each day to shop for some of your meals. This can save you a lot of money over the length of your trip.

Have A "Staycation"

A great way to save money is to find a destination that you and your family can enjoy that is close to home. This way, you can avoid costly transportation such as airfare. Alternatively, you can have a "staycation", where you relax at home and enjoy the flavor of your hometown. You can then use some of your savings on a spa day or park pass.

Summer Camps

Many parents don't have the luxury of spending time with the kids all summer. Summer camps can be an affordable way to ensure your children are in a safe environment and give you some time to yourself. To save money, it is often less expensive to send kids to camp in shorter two- or three-day trips throughout the summer rather than for five or more consecutive days. Day camps that bus children to daily activities are an option that cuts the costs of food, lodging and full-time staff. Early registration can also provide discounts, and many camps also offer gift certificates - which might be an ideal birthday or holiday gift for your child or someone you know.
 

Consider Joining AAA

If you're looking to stay or travel close to home, chances are you'll be relying on the family car. Therefore, it makes sense to ensure that the vehicle is operating properly. In addition to offering roadside assistance (for a price) if necessary, the American Automobile Association (AAA) can help you find a car, and obtain financing and automobile insurance. AAA also offers travel discounts on hotels, cruises and other travel-related items. AAA even offers lower rates at many local merchants.

Find Non-Peak Seasons

Certain destinations are in high demand during certain times of the year. As a result, traveling when everyone else wants to travel can become quite expensive as merchants hike prices during these peak seasons. If you can avoid traveling during a peak season, you can potentially cut costs by 10-50%. Another benefit of avoiding peak season is reduced competition for certain landmarks and attractions. Fewer people means smaller lineups and better photo opportunities. Time of day is another consideration. For example, a theater matinée is often cheaper than the price at night. Time of day can also affect the cost of air travel.

Consider Currency Rates

If your travel plans take you out of the country, high fees related to currency exchange can leave you with a bitter aftertaste. You can easily save a few extra dollars by conducting a pretrip investigation. The best conversion rates are generally found in the country to which you are traveling. However, don't whip our your wallet at the airport, where exchanges tend to be pricey. Instead, head for automated teller machines affiliated with major banks. Also, be sure to check your credit card company's exchange rates before you leave. You may be charged 1% for conversion as well as a 1-2% service fee. This is generally less than what you'd pay if you were exchanging cash or traveler's checks.

Related Articles
  1. Budgeting

    Vacation Savings Tips

    You can enjoy your holiday without breaking the bank.
  2. Budgeting

    8 Tips To Help You Control Holiday Spending

    These tips will have you singing "Joy to the World" well into the New Year.
  3. Budgeting

    8 Ways to Maximize Your Holiday Budget

    The holidays will only wreck your budget if you let them.
  4. Budgeting

    The Complete Guide To Planning A Yearly Budget - The Importance Of Yearly Budgets

    A yearly budget is a summary of all the money you expect to earn and spend during a 12-month period. Because budgeting involves number crunching and making projections, many view the process ...
  5. Budgeting

    How to Shop for the Holidays on a Budget

    Holiday shopping doesn't have to cost a lot if you make an effort to save. From setting a budget to comparison shopping, consumers have many ways to save.
  6. Budgeting

    8 Easy Ways To Slash Your Holiday Budget

    It's possible to enjoy a happy holiday without flushing your finances down the drain. Find out how.
  7. Personal Finance

    7 Ways To Save On Summer Getaways

    Find out how to have a fun and budget-friendly summer adventure.
  8. Budgeting

    The Complete Guide To Planning A Yearly Budget - Introduction

    Ever wonder where your money goes? You're not alone. A passive approach to personal finances can leave many individuals, couples and families in an endless cycle of earn it, spend it, wonder-where-it-went. ...
  9. Budgeting

    Budgeting Basics - Conclusion

    By Amy FontinelleBudgeting is an important component of financial success and one that's not difficult to implement. Let's recap what we've learned in this tutorial: Budgeting isn't just ...
  10. Mutual Funds & ETFs

    2 Popular Inflation Protected "TIPS" Bond ETFs in 2016 (TIP, IPE)

    Learn about how Treasury Inflation Protected Securities (TIPS) work, and discover two of the more popular ETFs that invest in TIPS.

You May Also Like

Trading Center