Summer vacation often equals sticker shock. Although you want to spend time with your family enjoying yourselves, financial worries can descend as you begin to pay for necessities such as airfare and accommodations and try to save enough for little splurges. Keep your budget under control and enjoy a fabulous summer vacation by following a few simple rules.
Airfare often changes not only by the season but also by the day and even the time of day. Research various travel scenarios before booking your flight. When you do book, use online comparison tools to make sure you are getting the best available deal. A rental car can also be pricey. If staying in a major city, research your public transportation options or consider staying in an area that puts you within walking distance of most top attractions. When that is not possible, check out vacation packages that bundle your airfare, accommodations and rental car expenses to get the best deal.
Many people on vacation head straight for the nearest or most luxurious hotel, but hotels may not be the most comfortable or the most budget-friendly accommodations. A time share or house rental may be more affordable and more spacious, which can be particularly helpful for families with kids.
Food can take a big bite out of your vacation budget. Instead of eating each meal in restaurants, cooking a few meals a day in your rental’s kitchen, picnicking or barbecuing can be enjoyable alternatives that allow you to stay within your budget and still have fun.
Many museums, galleries and other popular vacation attractions have discounted rates or even free entrance on certain days or at specific times. Researching your chosen itinerary before you head off can help you make better choices about your entertainment budget. Although you may want to spend every waking moment exploring your destination, try to budget some downtime every day and leave some space open in your calendar for spur-of-the-moment trips or activities.
Being smart about vacation season sometimes means a staycation is in order. Even if you live in a major metropolitan area, state parks, relaxed campgrounds and vibrant cultural venues are likely to be just around the corner. A staycation can give you and your family the opportunity to fall in love with your city all over again.