Posts Tagged With: budget

Summer Travel on a Budget

Icon. Traveler luggage with hand drawn clothes and icons on

As of Wednesday, June 21st, it is officially summer! With summer comes no school, longer days, and more traveling. However, taking trips can be expensive. But, never fear, there are still ways to travel and enjoy the summer season without breaking the bank.

Start a Travel Fund: Start collecting your spare change or setting aside money for an upcoming trip. You can also create a savings account just for traveling. Little by little your money will add up, and before you know it, you’ll be in your dream vacation spot.

Go During the Middle of the Week: Did you know hotel rates and other travel expenses are lower during the middle of the week than the weekends? Try going on vacation during the week. You’ll end up saving more money and won’t have to deal with crowds at popular tourist attractions. Another way to save is to travel during the off-season. Research your destination and see when the crowds are the lowest. For some places, winter is the highest tourist time, while summer is the busiest for other destinations.

Visit Nearby Destinations: While staying in one place, explore the surrounding areas. For example, if you are staying in a major city, take the time to venture out to nearby tourist attractions. This will save you time and money without having to plan another trip.

Have a Staycation: There are probably places in your own hometown you have never explored! Take a day or two and get to know your city a little bit more. Visit the little, unknown places, historic sites, and more. You never know what history you’ll learn about your hometown. Also, read your newspaper and look online for free events and festivals to take part in.

Research Your Accommodations: Hotels aren’t the only place to stay while on vacation. Vacation rental websites, such as Airbnb.com and VRBO.com, are great places to search for cheaper accommodations in different cities. Plus, you’ll get to live like a local while exploring a new place. Another benefit is the possibility of having a kitchen, where you can make your meals and save on food. Be sure to read the rentals’ ratings and reviews before booking.

Take Advantage of Free Things: There is no shame in taking advantage of free entertainment, attractions, and transportation while on a trip. Sites like museums and parks can be free to visitors. Also, look into your location’s events, including concerts, art shows, and more to experience. Another way to save money is by using public transportation or, when possible, walking.

Fly Right: Prices for plane tickets vary throughout the time of the year and day of the week. It is recommended you purchase your tickets 50 to 100 days before your trip. Another way to save money is research prices through travel websites, such as Kayak, Expedia, and Airfarewatchdog.com. Try to plan your departures on a Thursday and returns on Monday to save more. When traveling abroad, fly to your destination during the off-season for cheaper airfares.

Use Travel Saving Websites and Apps: When it comes to any trip, the best thing you can do while planning is to research the best deals for accommodations, transportation, and more. An easy way to compare prices is by using travel saving websites and apps. In addition to the websites listed above, the Travel Channel recommends using jetsetter.combudgetplaces.com, and momondo.com.

Save Money on Food: You don’t have to eat out every meal while on vacation. When you first arrive, go to the grocery store and stock up on the essentials and items, such as sandwich supplies and easy to-go meals. This way you can pack your lunch, dinner, and snacks to take with you while site-seeing. Plan to splurge and eat out for maybe one or two good meals during your trip, and pack the rest.

Vacation expenses can quickly add up when you aren’t looking. However, there are still ways to save money and have the time of your life exploring a new place and making memories.

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Traveling on a Budget for Families

Loved writing this artcle for Forsyth Family magazine. Trust me, there are ways to travel on a budget with a family, no matter how stressful things get.

Things don’t go as planned; someone gets sick, or the weather doesn’t cooperate. Add in budgeting and all of the trip expenses involved, and your week of R & R might start looking like a Griswold family vacation. To ease your stress and worries, there are ways to take a family trip without breaking your bank account.

  • Start planning your travels by researching travel deals and packages online. Websites and apps for your phone help with comparing flight and hotel prices. It’s always a good idea to keep checking for deals up until the day you leave for the trip. If you find a better price, ask for it.
  • While in the early stages, talk with your children and other family members who are going on the trip and see what they want to do. Making the planning a family event will keep the prices down and the trip stay on budget. Also, it gives you a good sense of what everyone wants to do and where to spend money.
  • Another way to stay on budget is travel during the off-season. Holidays and summer are peak times for traveling and the busiest and most expensive. Take an adventure during Fall or Spring break.
  • If your family is looking to go to amusement parks, museums, or other attractions, it is best to buy your tickets before leaving home. Most of the time, there is a discount for advanced tickets and you get to reserve your family’s spot.
  • Schedule in free time on your vacation. Every minute doesn’t have to be booked with an activity. Leave some space in your planning for touring or going off the beaten path. Be a local for the day and go where the locals go, without spending much money.
  • Take an adventure and be a tourist in your own city for a day or two. Explore new places or surrounding towns. You and your family will be surprised at what you might find right near you.
  • Food can get expensive. A few tips include staying in a room or house where you have a kitchen and refrigerator. Make a trip to the grocery store at your destination or pack food with you to keep in your room. That way your family can eat breakfast before heading out the door and lunch can either be taken with you or you can return during the day. Eat one meal out per day, such as dinner, and save on the others.
  • Look for places where “Kids Eat Free” or “Kids Stay Free.” Most hotels will allow children 12 years or under to stay for free. Likewise with restaurants. In addition, some places will have “Kids Play Free,” “Kids Ski Free,” etc. deals for you to take advantage of. If you aren’t sure the hotel, restaurant, or attraction you are visiting has any of these type of deals, ask! You never know what you are missing (or where you aren’t saving money) if you don’t speak up.
  • Collect moments and things, instead of buying souvenirs. Budget to purchase special souvenirs that the whole family can enjoy, but also budget in time to spend with your family. This will help save money. At the beach, collect seashells. Collect pictures or literature from different attractions. Make it a game with your kids and have them be on the lookout for certain items, such as maps from the visitors’ center. Take it a step further and gather items with a special theme for the trip. More memories are made when you take home special items with a special meaning.

When it comes to a family vacation, you want to make the most of it. However, you don’t have to spend an arm or a leg to have a great time and make memories that last a lifetime.

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