With jobs closing, lay-offs rising, and prices getting higher some of us feel like vacations and down time are no where in sight, even a weekend getaway can get costly. When you have a family of four or more items like food, vacation activities, and rentals can add up, but there may be ways you can save and cut costs. Amy fromLivesnet is back with us again to share with parents, couples, and anyone looking to save,** 8 Money Saving Tips for Your Next Vacation**...
How to Save While on Vacation...
Amy Brown, a stay-at-home mom, gave up her own career to take care of her two babies and her husband. Now she is an editor of livesnet.com, a site offering baby gear reviews and tips on problems parents encounter in daily life. She’s surely willing to share her own experience and tips.
"Everyone looks forward to time off from the drudgery of the seemingly endless workdays. Vacations keep us sane. Unfortunately, vacationing in the United States is becoming more expensive each year. Yet, it is possible to save a few dollars and still enjoy a relaxing vacation using the following tips..."
1. Learn about Where You Are Going
Study your destination. The Internet is the premier source for vacation information. Towns in the vacation and resort areas have excellent websites that offer detailed information about accommodations, restaurants, and attractions. Many offer printable coupons for free admissions and special rates. Most offer pictures of the area attractions. Study them and you’ll feel like a native when you arrive. Get the children involved in selecting those attractions that they would most like to see. Record prices to help you make prudent spending choices when you arrive. Contact the local Chamber of Commerce. They will usually send you publications with information and money-saving coupons.
2. Acquire an Area Travel Guide and Be Your Own Travel Agent
If you’re travelling to a foreign country, using a travel agent makes sense. There are too many unknowns in distant destinations. If, however, your destination is in the United States, you can save quite a bit by making all travel and accommodation arrangements yourself. Buy or borrow a travel guide for the area to which you are going and those through which you will pass on your way. Not only will you be able to find the least expensive and most convenient places to stay and to eat, you’ll find plenty of information about attractions on the way to your destination. Things you may have well missed if an agent did the planning.
3. Economize on Transportation
If you’re driving to your vacation spot, your automobile will definitely save you money when touring the destination. Local tours can be expensive, and they take you where they want to go, not necessarily where and when you want to go. If you have a baby and want to drive him or her out for travelling, remember to take a car seat with you. My husband and I always take our two babies out for travelling, so we always take our Britax Roundabout Convertible Car Seat for the sake of their safety. If you’re travelling by train, bus, or airplane, consider renting a small automobile for touring. The rental cost will undoubtedly be less expensive than depending upon touring services. There is one exception to consider, however. If your vacation is in an area where all of the attractions are in a cluster, look for a hotel that provides free transportation from airport or train station to hotel and to the area attractions. Often times tourist trolley services are available that run between all attractions on an hourly basis for a reasonable daily fee.
4. Don’t Go Broke on Food
Part of the fun of any vacation is eating out, but that doesn't mean that you must do so for every meal. Save the expense of a restaurant for special evenings or special places. If you must go to a restaurant for breakfast or for lunch, try to find family style service or places that offer children’s meals free or at low cost. Small children are usually just as happy with a hot dog or peanut butter sandwich as they would be with an expensive specialty dinner. Save big time by bringing your own food with you or buying supplies at a local supermarket when you arrive. Most motel and hotel rooms have good size refrigerators for storage. Make sandwiches and snacks in your room for the day. Make sure that each of you, children included, have a fanny pack for carrying goodies. There is always a public sitting area or a local park where a family can rest and eat.
5. Don’t Pay for Water and Soft Drinks
One totally unnecessary and exorbitant expense it bottled water and soft drinks. In many vacation spots these beverages go for up to $2.50 for a 12-ounce bottle. Multiply this times four family members, four times a day, and you’ll see your vacation budget go up in smoke, or liquid in this case. Supply each person with a plastic 12-ounce bottle to keep in their fanny pack. There are always water fountains around for refills. Bring small packets of powdered drink mixes and prepare them in the plastic bottles when you have lunch. The savings in beverages alone will pay for a special meal or one night of your hotel stay.
6. Use Coupons and Find Specials on Attractions
Don’t forget about the coupons that you found in the travel guides and the brochures from the Chamber of Commerce. Pick up the local free newspapers which also usually have money saving coupons. Don’t go to an attraction simply because you have a coupon, but if the attraction interests you, and you have a coupon, go for it. If you did your homework well before you left home, you’ll have coupons for your selected “must see” attractions handy.
7. Set Spending Limits
A vacation budget is no good unless you keep track of your spending. Set limits for each day. Give each child a fixed amount of “mad money” each day for souvenirs and such. Make it clear to them that when it’s gone, it’s gone. Make sure you've set aside money for the attractions that you really wanted to see when you left home. One trick that my family has used with some success is to enjoy the main attractions of a place without paying for services that you can get elsewhere. On one of our vacations we wanted to spend time at a famous resort, walk the grounds, and enjoy a special meal at one of its fine restaurants. A one night stay at this resort would have cost around $400 for our family. Instead, we stayed at an inexpensive motel nearby, and drove to the resort for the afternoon and dinner. We enjoyed all the luxury of the resort, and slept just fine in our less expensive accommodations.
8. Don’t Forget to Relax
Pundits have said that Americans are people who walk up escalators. We’re always in a hurry. Most of us come back from vacations, needing a vacation. We exhaust ourselves. If your hotel or motel has a pool area, spend a day there. Let the kids romp and splash while you enjoy basking in the sun with a cool drink, thinking about all the money you saved by your prudent approach while planning your family vacation.
If you have any opinion or problem about this article or stroller, please contact with Amy by email at Amy@livesnet.com, or you can find her on Facebook: facebook.com. Please visit Livesnet and read her recent review on Joovy Caboose Stand on Tandem Stroller.