Many women are finding themselves pinched for cash in today’s economy. That much needed vacation can seem so far out of reach! Fortunately, there are a number of ways that you can have a fun vacation without breaking the bank.
The first thing you need to do is create yourself a vacation budget. Write down how much money you can afford to spend for your vacation. Then break it down further into categories like food, fuel, accommodations, and fun activities. By now you should have a good idea what you can get away with spending. Be sure to leave some room for unexpected expenses.
Eating out can be very expensive. Have at least some of your meals prepared in advance from food you buy at the grocery store. This doesn’t mean you can’t get creative and make it fun for everyone. Try preparing some meals and snacks that you and your family don’t normally eat. Variety is a good thing! The money you will save can go towards other activities or shopping. And don’t forget to avoid expensive and unhealthy vending machine food and drinks.
Club memberships and benefits
Be sure to take advantage of any club memberships you might have. AAA offers many great services besides their roadside service. If you belong to AAA, your AAA card can get you discounts at many restaurants, hotels, and theme parks across the country. Phone your local AAA office for more information. Ask about any other services they offer.
Before leaving on your trip, have your car serviced. This is a good time to get that oil change, alignment, or tune-up. Make sure your tires are properly inflated also. You will save money on gas this way and help prevent costly tire damage. You will also have peace of mind during your trip and that is priceless!
Food tends to be the largest expense on vacations, but activities can be expensive also. You can save money here by planning your vacation around one big activity — visiting an aquarium, for example. You can spend the rest of your time with free activities at your location. Play and walk on the beach, sunbathe, etc. Check your hotel’s travel guide to see what free activities they offer. They usually have game rooms for kids, for example.
Speaking of accommodations, be sure to shop around when choosing your hotel. Take into account what your family truly needs and make sure you aren’t paying extra for things you won’t be using. Ask the hotel if they are running any special offers that can provide savings.
Finally, keep in mind that the point of a vacation is quality time with your family, not fancy accommodations. Of course, set aside some money to splurge once or twice. You might eat out at a nice restaurant on that last night with the money you saved elsewhere. Having a frugal vacation shouldn’t mean living like a monk. Treasure this time and make memories that will last a lifetime!
About the author
Frugal may be her middle name, but Carly does it with class – which is why she loves to write about saving money, to help others learn from her cheap (but classy!) ways.
Carly Lance is also the blog manager for Personal Bankruptcy Canada, a company dedicated to helping “good people with bad debt” – even after bankruptcy.