The Frugal Vacationer
Summer is just around the corner. Have you given much thought about your vacation? While often in the extra-spending category, family vacations can be a centre for memories to treasure- especially if you incorporate traditions.
You too can go on vacation- without breaking the bank- and without loading up your plastic!
Set your Budget
What can you afford to spend on vacation? Does your current budget allow for this extra spending?
Once you’ve determined where you want to go (cottage, visit family, Mediterranean cruise)-and how that matches up to what you can actually spend, then you can get down to the business of planning.
If it doesn’t seem like you can afford the trip you want, are there other spending centres in your budget that you can cut back on in favour of a little getaway?
Avoid Plastic Purchases
If you haven’t already, start socking away some cash to cover vacation expenses, so that you won’t have to rely on credit to fund your holiday.
Remember all the extras (i.e. meals, souvenirs, road tolls, etc.) that will likely appear during your time away.
Hit the Open Road
Although the price of gas is climbing to ridiculous heights (and will continue to do so in the price-heavy summer months- so account for this in your budgeting) road trips are far more budget-friendly than flying.
Driving gives you a measure of freedom as well- to stop and do fun things along the way as well. The drive itself often becomes an integral part of the holiday itself.
Where to Stay?
Have any friends or family in or near your destination? You can save a lot of money on accommodations if you can bunk in with someone, even if it is for a portion of the trip.
People often welcome the opportunity to play tourist/tour guide in their own town, visiting sites and attractions that they wouldn’t likely otherwise.
Make sure you are a good guest though, and bring your hosts a gift to thank them for their hospitality.
Convenience comes at a premium, so wherever possible, pre-purchase attraction passes.
If you pre-purchase for a specific date at an attraction, museum etc., you are often able to get a deeper discount. Usually online purchases are cheaper than gate tickets as well.
While the last-minute traveller can often win big in the savings department (if they are flexible), the traveller that plans and books ahead can usually save significant amounts.
Travel companies, hotels and airlines will offer incentives to get you to commit to travel with them. Often the best prices can be realized within about 60 days of travel.
Think Outside the Tourist Box
Where else can you seek out discounts for travel?
Are you a CAA member? CAA members get discounts all over the place for travel (car rentals, hotels, all-inclusive vacations, restaurants, attraction tickets etc.). Make it a habit of asking for this little gem everywhere you go. It’s not always advertised, but is widely employed. Hint: if you travelling in the U.S., CAA members are eligible for AAA discounts.
Do you have reward points accumulated through reward programs? These are not just for flights, but can be redeemed for hotels, attraction tickets and rental cars as well.
Membership stores offer attraction tickets and hotel packages at a discount as well, and are worth investigating.