Tips for Vacationing on a Budget

FullSizeRenderHere we are with crisp mornings, leaves changing their colors, pumpkin spice everything, sweaters and hoodies! With many of you plugging away at work, school, and fall sports, the last thing you’re thinking about is any type of get away; but honestly this is the best time to begin planning your 2018 vacation.  There are a few tips that I am about to share to help get you started; whether you are living comfortable or money is tight, these tips can be applied to any budget for a vacation.

 

Picking a Destination

Are you wanting to go to the beach or the mountains? Knowing your destination is key.  Where do you want to stay? Close to area attractions, or away from it all? Do you want to be driving all around on your vacation or able to park your car for most of the time? These are important questions to answer for reasons of cost.  The closer you are to major attractions (i.e. Disney World) the more expensive your condo or hotel will be. Pick a place where you can enjoy a nice walk to a few places if you want; this can save you on gas, as we all know the driving here and there to different places can suck up your gas in no time.

 

When Do You Want to Be on Vacation?

The majority of families can only go on vacation when school is out, this means from May-August places are booked up and are on the higher end of the price scale.  Have you thought about the fall, spring, or winter breaks?  This is the time when vacation rentals and hotels drop their prices or offer great deals; as it is not a very busy time of the year, and availability is a little more open.

 

Save a Little Each Payday

So, you have a destination and have rented a condo for that week, now what?  Now it’s time to save those dollars. The best piece of advice given to me was to take a portion of your weekly or bi-weekly paycheck and set that money in an envelope, and DON’T TOUCH IT!Saving from each paycheck builds your vacation funds faster than you think and before you know it you’ve reached your goal.  Maybe take a break from Starbucks and the money you save from that put it in your vacation envelope.  Anytime you have a few extra dollars add it to your envelope, remember every dollar counts.

 

Set a Daily Spending Limit

A great tip that was given to me was, when first arriving, take the money that will be needed for the drive home (gas, food, any little extras) and set that aside for the week. Next figure out how much money you need on a daily basis for food.  Also, eat out only once a day (for example dinner), figure out what that cost would be (depending on your family size), then buy groceries for eating breakfast and lunch in your place and any snacks to munch on. Food is a big cost on vacation, but one of the easiest ways to save on spending is by limiting how much you eat out.  Pick a few cool activities or places that you would like visit while on vacation; you don’t have to try and do everything, sometimes less is more.

 

Tourist Traps

One of the biggest money suckers are the tourist traps, roadside attractions, or whatever you may call them.  They are the ones with the biggest advertised deals on souvenirs and t-shirts, and flashy bright signs.  I LOVE THOSE PLACES! We all do, but the reality is your money will be gone! Instead, why not look for some discount tickets for well-known shopping or attractions, ask the locals what are some good places to visit or eat.  They usually have a pretty good idea of what is worth your money and what is not.  Take it from me, who spent $60 on admission to a place because it said NASCAR Race complex and thought how cool! Only for the place to be closing at 8pm, and our two-year-old son could only enjoy about 3 rides (that is,once I found a staff member to run the ride). In hindsight, that place was only worth about $20.  I decided to go on Google to look this place up and yes, many people had commented that it was a tourist trap.  So, if you see a place check it out first on google, and read the comments of previous visitors, because it just might save you a few dollars.

 

These are just a few small tips to help get you started in the right direction; but the savings from these tips, can also give you a few more dollars in your pocket.  Money is important on vacation, but so is having a memorable time with your family. So, save, spend wisely, and pick just a few things to do each day and enjoy the memories you’re making.

 

 

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