When setting your family budget, often the first thing that gets slashed is the summer vacation. However, if you plan ahead, you can find simple ways to save and keep your vacation on the calendar. Here are a few ideas.
Flexible location. Sometimes you just want to get away to recharge and the location isn’t the biggest factor. If your heart isn’t set on a specific city, find a location that offers substantial savings over popular tourist destinations.
Avoid airport parking. Have a friend or family member drop you off for your flight. If you know people who live near the airport, ask if you can park your car at their home during your vacation. Look for hotels that offer “park and fly” packages that may save you some money.
Get creative about flying. Many metro areas have a number of airport options. Find out if choosing a less popular airport will give you a price break. The day and time you fly can also save you money. Consider choosing to fly on a Tuesday, Wednesday, or Saturday. You may even find savings by choosing a flight time between 5 and 7 a.m. or after 8 p.m. Experiment with one-way ticket options to see if you can find a better deal.
Stay with relatives. You don’t have to spend your entire vacation with relatives, but enjoying their hospitality for a night or two can do wonders for your vacation budget.
Eat for less. Stock your carry-on bag with solid snacks to avoid high-priced snacks on the plane. When researching your destination, look for hotels that offer free breakfast. Buying groceries on vacation is another great way to save on meals. Consider a light dinner a few times a week to give you additional savings.
These options may offer a bit of savings here and there, but added up, you could save hundreds by planning ahead and being flexible about your summer vacation experience.