Looking for a wonderful vacation this summer without having to burn a hole in your pocket? Below are some ways you can save money and still have a great vacation and spend quality bonding moments with your family and loved ones:
· We always go back to the budget. Create a budget for your summer vacation. Estimate how much you are going to spend for items such as transportation, lodging, meals and attractions. You reduce your risk of going into debt if you make sure your budget is reasonable for your finances and you have carefully accounted for everything. Once you have made your budget, stick to it.
· Build a vacation fund. Save money throughout the year, keeping your planned vacation in mind. You may either create a savings account for this purpose or simply stash money regularly in a jar labeled with something like “Bahamas: A Dream No More.”
· Involve the kids in the savings pool. You can make it a policy that whoever saves the most can have a bigger say on some aspects of the vacation such as what snacks to buy or activities to do. It also teaches them financial discipline early on.
· Do your homework. Research about your target destination. Websites such as Trip Advisor and Virtual Tourist regularly post guest reviews and their opinions on a place’s ambience, service and price.
· Think local. Before pinning for Paris or New York, why don’t you try visiting our nice local spots first. We’ve got plenty. Doing so would also help boost our local tourism. Lest we forget, it’s more fun in the Philippines.
· Timing is everything. Sometimes, the most expensive destinations can be surprisingly affordable if you go there off-season. In fact, just a day before or after the holiday makes a big difference in the price. Midweek is also a good time to go. You would actually find that it is more convenient as you avoid the big crowds.
· Be on the lookout for promos. Book airfares and hotel rooms ahead of time to qualify for discounts. Most airlines now offer promo fares and slash rates on their domestic and international routes on almost a regular basis. Also, take advantage of those frequent flyers and rewards points programs.
· In choosing lodging, consider pension houses or inns as a substitute to the pricey hotels. You’re not going to spend the day indoors anyway and will be out most of the time to explore the locality. Also, try to pick a place near the market and where a lot of the sightseeing and events are within walking distance.
· Brownbag it. There’s no doubt a big part of your vacation expenses will go to food. Look for a place with built-in kitchen facilities and cook your meals whenever possible. Pack your lunch and some snacks to see you through the day’s activities. You may, of course, spend for dining on some days as it may be part of the experience you are looking for in a vacation.
· Grab a bite home. This is highly advisable before going on your flight. It’s just not worth to buy snacks and drinks from the airport stalls where they can cost a fortune. Make sure you have eaten before you board the plane.
· Do-it-yourself (DIY). DIY travel is a big thing these days. It’s not only customized but may also come out cheaper in the end. However, if you’re in an unfamiliar territory, leave the planning to the travel agent and select from their various packages.
· As the travel date approaches, pack your bag early so you won’t miss out anything like your toothbrush or swimsuit and therefore avoid buying a new one. Pack cellphones and chargers so that you won’t have to spend unnecessarily for in-room phone calls. Pack food, toys and entertainment to keep the children busy during the trip and ward off their attention from asking to buy things.
· Travel light. Aside from restricting your movement and being very uncomfortable, traveling with a big bag may also cost you. Airlines charge everything nowadays. Spare yourself the trouble of paying for excess baggage. Leave some space in your bag for presents.
· Pasalubong or homecoming presents should be within budget. Tradition says that you should buy something unique from the place. However, think that when returning from a Hawaii vacation, for example, do you buy family members a hula skirt each that they won’t even get to use or do you surprise them with a nice big box of chocolate-coated macadamia? Be practical.