Summer is often a time for vacations reunions. But it can sometimes be hard to justify spending the money to take one. Fortunately, with a little planning and ingenuity you can trim the cost of that summer getaway without cutting back on fun and relaxation. Here are a few ideas:
- Consider package deals. By bundling airfare, hotel and car rental together, travel companies sometimes offer cheaper rates. Just be sure to read the fine print.
- Eat in your room. Just because you're on vacation doesn't mean every meal needs to be expensive. For some dinners, try buying some staple items at the local grocery store. Sleep late and reduce your food intake to a brunch and a dinner. You'll eat less and possibly spend less on food, too.
- Travel in the off-season. Christmas in Mexico is great, but it's also more expensive. By choosing the days just before or just after the busy season, you'll often find cheaper rates without much difference in climate. You'll also avoid some of the hassles that result from too many tourists in too little space.
- Do some research before you go. You can often find info on local customs, authentic eateries, free events and the best times to visit museums online or in inexpensive guidebooks. Some also offer coupons.
- Vacation nearby. Tourists visit your home state and marvel at its attractions. For a week, become one of them. You'll save on the cost of accommodations but still have the chance to explore the area around you through day trips.
- Plan ahead. Instead of financing your getaway with a credit card (then struggling to pay off the balance and accumulated interest later), plan ahead. Every month or every paycheck, set aside money. Make it a family activity. If everyone wants to visit Disneyland, research the best airfares and hotel rates and let your kids do the math. The earlier you start, the more you'll be able to accumulate for that dream trip.