The summer is the ultimate family vacation season. Whether it’s going to the beach, visiting a theme park, taking a road trip across America, or spending some time at home, many families will be spending their summer vacation together this year. If you’re one of these families, then you know how quickly travel expenses can start adding up.
1- Start Saving Early with an Everyday Fund
The earlier you start saving, the more time your money has to grow. As soon as you decide to go on a trip, open a separate savings account and transfer a set amount of money each month until you reach your goal.
This approach is easier than trying to save all at once, which means you can have fun on the trip without stressing about your bank balance. Plus, the discipline of setting aside a portion of your paycheck every month helps you develop smart financial habits for other goals in the future.
2- Make Most of Your Shopping Rewards
If you’re not an avid rewards watcher, now is the time to start. You’ve probably got a stockpile of points for your favorite store or airline just waiting for you to use them. You don’t have to be loyal to one company or airline either — research which card offers you the most rewards for your needs.
3- Choose a Budget-Friendly Destination
Some destinations are just more expensive than others, so take that into account when planning your trip. The good news is that many popular summer destinations offer free or low-cost attractions that can make for memorable vacations.
For example, the beaches at Myrtle Beach State Park in South Carolina offer a quiet alternative to the busy commercial areas of the city. And if you’re visiting the Grand Canyon, don’t forget about Grand Canyon National Park’s free shuttle service, which makes it easy and affordable to get around.
4- Visit Travel Websites for Great Lodging Deals
There are many travel websites that offer lodging deals for hotels, motels, and other types of lodgings throughout the country, including Airbnb rentals and timeshares. Some hotels also offer free breakfast and free internet access for guests with special promotions at specific times during the year, so be sure to ask about any special promotions when making reservations.
5- Pick a Hotel With Free Meals and Activities
Many hotels offer free breakfast, but others go even further by offering free meals throughout the day or at least some discounted options. You should also look for hotels that include activities in their room rates. Some hotels offer free bike rentals, cooking classes, and other activities for guests. Others give kids access to an arcade or water park for no additional charge.
6- Consider a Rental House or Cabin Instead of a Hotel
Hotels often charge extra for amenities like Wi-Fi, breakfast, and parking. By choosing a rental home or cabin instead, you can save money on those costs, as well as reduce the amount you spend on meals by preparing them yourself in the home’s kitchen. Plus, renting a house allows you to travel with extended family or friends and split the cost of the rent among multiple parties.
7- Plan Activities in Advance and Pack Essentials
When families go on vacation, they often have a list of things they want to do as soon as they arrive. To keep everyone happy and make sure you don’t miss out on any must-see attractions or events, you’ll want to plan these activities in advance and make reservations when necessary.
Before you head out of town, make sure you pack everything your family will need while away from home. You may be able to find some items at your destination or buy them secondhand, but this can get expensive and could end up costing more than just bringing what you need with you in the first place.
There are plenty of ways to put together a memorable vacation on a budget. By researching vacation packages and tickets in advance, getting the best prices you can, and planning ahead, you can ensure that your family’s summer outing is everything that you want it to be.