With the current economic crunch, many families opt to take “staycations” rather than vacations. Staying home to do fun family things at or near home, such as going to the local pool, going camping, taking bicycle trips and going hiking are some choices families are making to save money.
Families can afford to travel for vacation if they choose their destinations, accommodations, and transportation wisely. Vacationing closer to home makes vacations more affordable because the transportation would be less costly.
Families can also travel to far-away getaways if they shop for deals. Taking advantage of package deals, all- inclusive packages that include meals with accommodations, and booking accommodations and transportation online are some strategies for saving money in planning vacations. There are many additional money saving strategies.
When to Travel
Families who travel to vacation destinations during the vacation spot’s off -season can save money. Those vacation spots are far less crowded in the off- season as well.
If families opt for airplane travel, according to Rick Seaney of FareCompare.com, Wednesday is the cheapest day to fly, and Tuesday and Saturday are the second least expensive days to fly. Friday and Saturday are the most expense days to fly. The least expensive time to fly is generally the first flight out in the morning.
Families opting to drive to their vacation destination, providing that the destination is within a comfortable driving distance, can save on transportation costs. If driving is a choice, families are wise to travel in a fuel efficient vehicle. Packing lunches or snacks to eat during the drive, rather than stopping at restaurants along the way, can save on food expense during the road trip.
Families who don’t want to drive can opt to travel by Greyhound bus or by Amtrak train, both of which are more affordable options than flying. Train tickets can be booked online at Amtrak.com and bus tickets can be booked online at Greyhound.com.
However, if the destination is very far, making flying a more desirable and comfortable option, families should book flights wisely. They should shop for airfares using discount websites to find good deals. Such travel websites often give the option of bundling the airfare and hotel bookings for extra savings. Commonly used travel websites are Expedia.com and Travelocity.com. Remember, travelers should book Wednesday, Tuesday or Saturday flights to get cheaper airfares.
Air travelers should also consider connecting flights because, though they are inconvenient, they save money. It is wise to book round trip airfares when possible to save money as well. One way tickets are sometimes expensive. It’s better to book round trips and then not use the return ticket if that is a possibility.
Families who are driving to their vacation destination and find it necessary to stop over night in route, should opt for budget motels. When planning vacation accommodations at the chosen vacation destination, families might want to consider renting a vacation home if they are staying more than a few days. Vacation homes are often cheaper than hotels for more extended stays. If travelers can make the arrangements with another willing participant, home exchanges are an inexpensive and refreshing accommodation choice as well.
If two hotel rooms are necessary, families should consider two-room suites offered by some chains. They will be cheaper that getting two separate rooms. According to MoneyNing, a personal finance blog, some smaller hotel chains are willing to give free upgrades or free nights if the traveler has reservations booked elsewhere. The traveler can call the smaller hotel indicating a willingness to change if given an upgrade or an additional night free. It never hurts to ask.
One way to save on vacation food expense is to cook when on vacation. This, of course, would require accommodations with a kitchen.
It’s wise for families to avoid hotel breakfasts. A cheaper alternative is to leave the hotel and walk to a café or some lesser expensive alternative than the hotel breakfast.
It’s also wise to eat more at lunch than dinner. Items on the lunch menu are cheaper than items on the dinner menu. Families should opt for eating big breakfasts and lunches and lighter dinners. This will save money in the long run.