7 Tips for Saving Money on Your Vacation

7 Tips for Saving Money on Your Vacation

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Save some serious cash while away this summer.

Last week, we covered “7 Tips for Extending Your Summer Entertainment Dollars,” in a bid to help families have fun over the next few months without going broke. The first point mentioned dealt with “getaways” but we were only able to offer an overview on ways to save.

7Remedying that shortfall, we are offering seven tips to help you save money while you are way on vacation. No, this advice isn’t for day trippers, rather for those people looking to get away for a long weekend or for two or more weeks at a time.

1. Family Camp — Churches, civic organizations and other groups will sometimes lease a campground or resort for a long weekend or full week, inviting members to join them for a reasonable cost, meals included. You’ll spend the week with like-minded people and save a bundle on hot costs and fees. And, if the camp is near other activities, you can still take day trips to enjoy the area.

2. Something Different — You’ve been to the beach and to the mountain, but is there somewhere else you’d rather stay? Consider swapping your home with another family, either perfect strangers or with someone you know. Chances are they’d like to see your area and you would like to see where they live with one big cost, accommodations, removed. Check out a site such as HomeExchange.com if you are open to exchanging your home with someone you do not know.

3. Shared Space — This option is certainly NOT for everyone AND it requires a lot of thinking through and conversation before being seriously considered. Lots of families want to rent a home at the beach, but find the cost prohibitive. But dividing that expense with another family can certainly be beneficial, opening up an opportunity that probably would not otherwise exist. Just make sure that everyone is in agreement on food, shared space, schedules and other matters as two families blend together. Even the closest family members and friends can find a united getaway to be utterly divisive.

4. Bon Voyage — Taking the entire family on a cruise sounds prohibitive but it need not be so if you consider a few things. For example, if you can drive to port instead of flying there, you’ll save on  airfare. Booking a windowless cabin room lowers your cost significantly. Traveling during the shoulder months can save you even more money. And, booking a cruise with a group can cut your costs further. With a cruise you get your room, food and you’re taken to various ports…a cost effective way to travel.

5. Rewards Cards — Provided you pay off your credit card every month, a rewards card can offer your family significant savings now and later. Some hotel chains offer a free night’s stay with any two nights or longer stay. And, if you use the right affinity card, you can accumulate one or more points for every dollar spent. You may not be able to redeem points on this trip, but you can use those points for the next time you travel.

6. Hotel Stays — You don’t need a rewards card to save money on hotel stays. What you may want to consider is where you plan to stay in relation to where you are visiting. Downtown hotels convenient to everything are pricey; a hotel one subway stop from the action might be considerably lower. Consider staying at a business hotel on the weekend when most guests have left. Rates are often significantly lower when business travelers are not around.

7. All Inclusive — Not every vacation offering everything included is a bargain, but they can be. This option is good for families who plan on staying around the resort for their meals, but may prove to be a bad idea for people who want to sightsee throughout the day. You’ll end up paying for your own meals elsewhere, significantly adding to the cost of your vacation. Find out what the resort means by “all inclusive” as some costs may not be part of your visit.

Planning and flexibility can go a long way toward helping you and your family find travel bargains. Ask for discounts and if you’re part of a group, association or friend of the owner, mention these notables in order to secure a competitive rate.

Resources

Away: Family Vacation: Take One

Bankrate: 8 last-minute ways to save for vacation

CNN: 13 ways to save money on a cruise

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