Families who are making vacation plans for summer travel are understandably hesitant to commit their funds early on given the current economic climate. In addition, recent small increases in gas prices and a stabilizing in hotel room costs is showing that this year will be cheaper to travel than last, but maybe not by all that much.
Hitting The Road This Summer
For most Americans, staying home this summer is not an option — getting away for one or two weeks is the best therapy the doctor ordered, at least it can be the best way to ensure family togetherness. With that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the ways you can save money on your road trip this summer.
Fuel Up — You cannot do a whole lot about fuel prices and considering that gasoline topped $4 per gallon last summer, anything less than that this summer can seem like a bargain. Still, if you are planning to take a long trip this summer you can save on gas usually in two ways — use regular gas wherever possible and use your gas station affinity credit card to save money on your purchases. Besides that, a well tuned car is the best way to hit the road and pay less.
Eat Out or In — Most hotels include breakfast with your room, meaning you’ll have just two other meals to pay for the rest of the time you’re away. Without putting the burden on the family members to cook, consider having one meal in your room, perhaps using the microwave to cook hot dogs or heat up some easy to make meal. Chances are you’ll be out of the room most days, so if you are ask the hotel desk clerk for local discount options. Why pay full price?
Hotel or Weekly Rental? — Families on the go won’t be staying in one place long enough to rent a house for a week, but if you can stay put then shop for a weekly rental. This summer, many resort locations will be hard pressed to rent out their places meaning you should be able to save quite a bit off of the weekly rate.
Save even more money if you can travel in June or September as July and August are typically the two busiest months for travel and costliest to families. Even if you are spending a night here or there, hotels are offering the biggest discounts seen in years. Marriott, for instance, is offering weekend specials all through the summer, with a three night minimum stay.
Museums, Zoos and Attractions — You may be able to get free admission into most museums and zoos especially if you already have an annual pass to one in your area. Many zoos and museums around the country offer reciprocal admittance for free, so log on to your membership site to see what sort of arrangement is available to you before planning your itinerary.
For other attractions, try to go during the week when crowds are down and prices are most reasonable. Some theme parks, such as Six Flags, extend discounts which are printed on the front of your Coke can.
Shopping — Beach resorts are notorious for having stores with some of the priciest items for sale. But, they can also offer a boatload of bargains if you know where to shop. A rainy day is the perfect time to shop, allowing you to go from store to store to compare prices. The further you go into summer, the more likely that bargains will appear, especially if summer retailing turns out to be a bust for the local market.
Research Your Options Online
You can also discover ways to save by crafting an itinerary before you leave home. Use your internet connection to hunt down bargains, but also tap the front desk clerks, your restaurant waitress and other helpful people who can point in the right direction.
Traveling can be expensive, but it doesn’t have to be prohibitive if you plan carefully.
Adv. — Besides saving money on your next vacation, you can save money on everything you buy for your home. From kitchen faucets to kitchen sinks, you can shop online for the best deals. Get your home in order by choosing the best organizers on the market; check out online organizing for additional products and helpful tips.
Photo Credit: Steve Woods
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