10 Money Saving Vacation Tips

by RC on June 19, 2008

beach.jpg

I will be leaving this morning to join my wife and two small kids at the beach, they left on Monday but I couldn’t get away from work until today. Vacations can be a wonderful way to spend quality time with your wife and/or children and relax, but traveling costs have skyrocketed, so making the most of your money when going on vacation makes even more sense (or cents) than ever.

1. Make plans that require reservations far in advance to get good deals- The closer to your vacation you book your flights or hotels, etc., the higher you are likely to pay.You may find some last minute deals, but usually if you are planning a get-away you don’t want to risk not getting a flight or other reservation, so this strategy is not always attractive.

2. Save up the money to pay for the vacation ahead of time- This sounds like a no-brainer, and many people do it, but I would guess that just as many do not. I think that people are less likely to save up for shorter, “long-weekend” type trips because they don’t seem like such a big deal, but if you don’t save ahead of time you can spend a lot of money on a long weekend and end up putting it on your credit cards or getting into debt on your trip.

3. Stay with relatives or friends- A large portion of expenses for a lot of vacations can be lodging. By staying with someone, such as a friend or relative, you can eliminate that from your expenses. If you’re feeling really adventurous (and you are single), consider couch surfing.

4. Go at off peak times- Hotels and tourist destinations often slash their prices by 50% or more during off peak season. Plan you trip to the beach after labor day, and you may save a bundle.

5. If driving, drive when traffic is light- Avoid rush hour traffic when passing through cities, stop and go traffic can greatly reduce your fuel economy.

6. Stay somewhere you can cook your own meals- You can save a whole lot of money by cooking your meals and not eating out the whole duration of your trip. Find a hotel or condo with a kitchenette so you can do the cooking.

7. Get someone to watch your pets instead of boarding them- Boarding a cat or a dog can cost $15 to $20 a day. Asking a friend or relative to take care of your animals while you are gone can save you money.

8. Get someone to drop you off at the airport if possible- If you are flying, parking at the airport for a few days or a week can add up to a hefty sum in parking fees. Ask someone to drop you off and pick you up, you can return the favor to them when they travel as well.

9. If you are driving, prep your car with basic car maintenance and practice gas saving driving techniques for maximum fuel efficiency.

10. Also, when driving, map out your route to minimize the total miles you will be driving. Use online tools to find the cheapest gas prices anywhere in the country.

Image by rayced

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