With summer travel season right around the corner, many families are busy planning where to visit or making air and lodging reservations. We have put together a few easy ways you can cut the cost of any summer vacation.
Try Out a Vacation Rental
Renting a vacation property can be an excellent way to reduce lodging costs. Finding the right vacation rental property takes a little more time than booking a room in a chain hotel, but what time you expend in your search is more than made up for in the extra amenities found in a vacation property and the almost unlimited location options.
Some things you want to watch out for when renting a vacation property are: 1) Use a major website such as Airbnb or Vacation Rentals by Owner and start your search well in advance of your travel date 2) Research the property carefully and be sure to read the fine print of the contract. If you don’t see photos of the entire property, contact the property owner and request additional photos. 3) Take photos of the condition of the property on your arrival day and make a thorough note of the condition of the property on checkout.
Sharing a vacation rental with friends or family is another way to lower not only the cost of lodging but food as well. Sharing a vacation property with another couple or family cuts the cost in half. Be sure to check the fine print for restrictions on group rentals before booking.
Sign Up for a Travel Rewards Credit Card
Signing up for a travel rewards card is a great way to reduce the cost of traveling. Travel Rewards credit cards offer points that can be redeemed for airline tickets, lodging, or car rental. Many cards will also award bonus points when you open a new account or spend a minimum amount within a certain time period. For instance, the Discover it Miles ® card offers cardmembers 1.5x Miles for every dollar spent on purchases and as an introductory offer, at the end of their first year, new cardmembers will receive double the amount of Miles they earned during the year without a spending cap. Other benefits include up to $30 annual credit to be used for in-flight Wi-Fi charges and $0 fraud liability guarantee if unauthorized purchases are made on your Discover card. Before signing on the dotted line you want to compare the terms and options of several credit cards to make sure you are getting the right credit card for your needs.
Watch Spending on Food
Eating out is obviously going to be a necessity during any trip however, there are things you can do to reduce the cost of food. Many hotels and vacation rentals will offer a free breakfast so you definitely want to take advantage of this. Another common option is to purchase groceries and have breakfast in your room or pack a picnic lunch and plan to have a nice break while sightseeing or relaxing at the beach.
Other ways to reduce the cost of eating out include: skipping the drinks and having water, having an early dinner and eating from the lunch menu, or sharing an entree or dessert. By doing a little planning and preparing some of your meals ahead of time, you can easily cut the cost of food on your vacation.
Have Children Save Their Vacation Spending Money
If you are going on vacation you can bet your kids are going to want to buy snacks or souvenirs and if you haven’t planned properly, it can be an unexpectedly large expense. We typically go on one big vacation during the summer months and a couple weekend trips scattered throughout the rest of the year. Since I know we will want to splurge on a few souvenir items or do something special, we save our change in a vacation jar and use the money to cover special expenses while we are on vacation.
A great strategy to teach your children to be responsible for managing their money is to have them set aside a portion of any money they earn for doing chores or received as gifts in their own vacation jar. This helps children learn to develop savings goals to work towards and also to manage their money. Some parents help their children by promising to match any savings accumulated and by avoiding the temptation to buy things for their children while on vacation.
Whether your child saves his or her own money or is given an amount of money to spend is not the issue, it’s setting a spending limit and allowing your child to make the spending decisions without help from Mom or Dad.