Vacation Planning Tips

Spring is here and vacation season is quickly approaching . The costs of vacations can sometimes seem overwhelming, but if you start saving now you will have enough money to pay cash and not go into debt to fund your vacation. The tips listed below can help you reach the goal of paying cash.

Tip #1: Plan your vacation early so that you have time to set aside money. If you know that you typically take a summer vacation in July, start saving as soon after Christmas as possible. This will give you more time to fund the vacation envelope or savings account.

Tip #2: Always ask for a discount and search online for discount codes and vacation deals. The worst someone can say is “No” when you ask. My husband almost always gets a discount just by being nice and asking them to help us out. Here’s the way I look at it. If a hotel has a room that is available, it isn’t making them any money if it is empty so it is in their best interest to book it even if it is less than the regular rate. Something is better than nothing.

Tip #3: Carry breakfast and snack items with you or purchase them once you arrive. We all know that the cost of meals can be expensive and it is a good option to cut down on these costs as much as possible. I usually carry breakfast bars or granola bars for breakfast and a case of water. Many hotels now have Keurig or coffee makers in the room and you can also make tea if you prefer. It is also a good idea to share meals when dining out as portion sizes are so large now and are more than a normal serving size. We now drink water with our meal that saves around $8-10 per meal just on sodas or tea.  You can even make lemonade by asking for lemons with your water and using sugar or sweetener.

Tip #4: Find attractions that are free or are just a minimal cost.   There are usually tourist attractions that don’t cost anything that can be just as enjoyable as those attractions that cost $50 or more. My family has certain vacations we go on annually. We take the costs of buying season passes then calculate how many days it would take cover the costs of the season passes. Generally, it only takes 2 or 3 days and we normally will spend 10 -12 days per year so it is certainly best for us to purchase season passes. A perk of season passes is they normally offer discounts at stores and hotels at the location. We have bought season passes at #SeaWorld, #UniversalStudiosFlorida, #BigKahaunasDestinFlorida, #BirminghamZoo, etc. If you enjoy going to zoos, you can purchase memberships that give you discounts or admission to other zoos in the United States.

Tip #5: Make the trip more about the time that is spent together rather than the actual activities and destinations. Some of the greatest family vacation times can be spent enjoying each other’s company. Plan time during the trip for simple relaxation. Pack a few board games or card games that can be played in the evenings instead of always planning an expensive meal with little quality time together.   I assure you that your children really want more of your time, not more or your money.

Make each vacation a memorable experience and a bonding time for your family. Some day in the not so distant future your children will have families of their own and you will remember those great times you spent together when your children were still at home with you. Build those relationships now so they will last a lifetime!

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