Summer is rapidly approaching, and you might be thinking ahead to your summer vacation. Do you take a vacation every year? With economic times being what they are, there are many families who have cut out this expense. If you do have a small vacation budget, however, there are some things that you can do to cut down on costs while still enjoying a fun family trip. Here are some tips on saving money on your summer vacation:
- Travel on the off season. If you have children in school, chances are that you have to travel during their summer break. Still, you might be able to save money by traveling at the very beginning or end of their break; peak season for many destinations may vary by a few weeks on either end. If you are in a state that gets out of school at the end of May, for example, you might have good luck booking an early-June trip to one of the northern states, which tend to be in school until the middle of June. On the other hand, if you are in an area that doesn’t go back to school until after Labor Day, you can find deals traveling at the end of August to a southern location that goes back to school the second or third week of August.
- Rent a home or cottage instead of a hotel room. This might seem counter-intuitive, because logic would tell us that renting an entire house would cost more… but in many cases, it simply isn’t true! The weekly rate for renting a modest home may be cheaper than renting a hotel room. Even better, having a house with a full kitchen at your disposal means that you can go grocery shopping once and eat many of your meals in the house. This drastically cuts down on your food bill; eating all of those meals out on vacation adds up quickly (and can add to your waistline, as well!). Alternative options could include participating in a house swap or even couchsurfing!
- Skip the huge attractions. Going to places like DisneyWorld and other theme parks is fun for the kids, but can be hard on your budget. Consider traveling to out-of-the-way area instead. Check the Internet to find out what’s within a reasonable distance to your home. If you can drive two or three hours, you’re out of your home location, but won’t be spending a lot of money on transportation. Surely there are aquariums, national parks, lakes, beaches, hiking trails, museums and a host of other attractions to choose from within a few hours of where you live.
- Look into various memberships. Some science museums and zoos offer reciprocal admission to other attractions of the same type in different areas of the country, so buying a membership to your local zoo can pay off big when the time comes to travel. You also might consider a AAA membership; these can often save you money on hotels and attractions. An Entertainment book is normally under $30 or so, and offers coupons and discounts in the area; buy one for the place that you are planning to visit to save money while you’re there.
- Set up Price Alerts on popular travel websites to see when prices go down. Lets face it, summer is the only time families have to travel together without missing school. So it goes without saying that summer is a popular and pricey time to travel. Many travel websites now offer free price watching services. All you do is find the cruise and date you are interested and set up a free cruise fare alert.
Do you have any great tips on saving money while taking a summer vacation? Share them with our readers!