Saturday, July 2, 2011

Summer vacation: on a budget.

We are planning a couple of trips this summer, and since living on a budget affects every aspect of our lives, this is definitely no exception.  My husband is a big dreamer. He wants to go to Hawaii, on a cruise, to Disney World and to the grand canyon, but the fact is that we don't have the money (yet) to do those things.  So, what are we doing?  We are doing things closer to home that we can do relatively inexpensively.

I know my family is not the only one who doesn't have the money for a huge getaway this year, so I have put together a list of some practical tips to vacationing on  a budget.

1)  If you're staying in a hotel make sure it has at least a kitchenette so you don't have to eat out every meal.  I'm not saying you can't go out and enjoy your vacation, but food can be a HUGE expense when you're away from home, so by grocery shopping and cooking in the room you can save your precious vacation fund for something a little more memorable then the food.
2)  Go on the "off season" if possible.  My husband and I went on a cruise to Cozumel.  It was wonderful! We went in November.  The ship was not over crowded, the weather was amazing, and the prices were great!  We will definitely do this one again.  Did you know all of your meals (not including alcohol) are included in the price of the cruise.  We also left out of a port that is driving distance from us so we didn't have to spend on airfare.
3)  Pack snacks for the trip.  This goes for day trips and longer ones.  How many times have you left your house only to be hit by the snack attack monster.  It never fails; the first Sonic we drive by I'm the one going "I am kinda hungry; lets get a hotdog."  Packing a lunch does not make me not WANT the hotdog, but I do know that I don't NEED the hotdog and can usually resist the unnecessary purchases.
4)  Don't buy souvenirs everywhere you go just to have something from there.  Pictures work just as well, if not better, and they are cheap to free.  Yes, I know you have to have that pocket utility knife from the Alamo, but really?  You know that $75 could be two fairly nice meals for the family, or a great date night.  I am not saying don't buy any souvenirs; I just think you should make sure you are buying it because you LOVE it or will use it or both.
5)  Save cash for your getaway.  If it is a weekend staycation close to home or a weeklong Hawaiian getaway, don't go in to (more) debt for it.  The first rule to get out of debt is to not accrue more debt.

I sure hope these tips helped.  Have a great summer!

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