"The 10 Best Tips for Saving Money On Vacation"
By Jim Garnett, a/k/a Ask Mr.G, a member of the ICFE's Board of Educational Advisors.
Vacation time is just around the corner, so I thought it helpful
to share these tips about vacation while we still have time to
Family vacations can be great opportunities for making
memories. I still remember vivid scenes from childhood vacations
traveling in our 1960 Nash Rambler. We often traveled to see
relatives, but once in a while headed to a someplace like the
Grand Canyon or the Ozarks.
Our family was not wealthy by any stretch of the imagination.
In fact, I discovered later on in life, that we were actually
quite poor. Interestingly enough, not one of those vacation
memories I hold dear has anything to do with an activity that
Therefore, even when finances are lean, a little forethought
and planning can create a great family vacation filled with one
memory after another.
Here are a few tips that will help you save money on your
- Stay in one place. The cost of gasoline can be cut
a lot if you travel to one area and stay there. This presupposes
that there is something to see and do in that location.
- Rent multiple nights at a time. Staying in one area
also enables you to rent by the week instead of one night at a
time. Discounts always await those who stay more than just a
night. This also eliminates having to pack up everything and
move the family every day.
- Shop Internet prices. There are bargains to be found
for those who will spend a few minutes on Priceline or web surf
to see if any destination hotels are running specials.
- Vacation in the non-peak season. If you vacation in
the off-season, the crowds will be smaller, the lines will be
shorter, the beaches will be emptier, and prices will be lower.
Campgrounds can be great placesto stay when everyone else is
- Stay at relatives. I am sure that this can be a
blessing or a curse, but especially if both families have kids,
a few days with kinfolk can be pretty neat. Plus, one of the
greatest vacation expenses, lodging is eliminated.
- Look for destinations where the fun is free. A trip to
the Tetons, the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, a State Park, or the
beach offers days of exciting things to do at little cost.
- Check out local guidebooks. Most of these contain
discount coupons for local attractions.
- Eat out only once a day. A place with a built in
kitchen can let you choose which meals to eat out. A hotel with
a complimentary breakfast can take care of breakfast. A cooler
with soft drinks, fruit, chips, and sandwiches will satisfy most
families for lunch. This approach can enable your family you to
save hundreds of dollars a week or enjoy eating the evening meal
at a more expensive restaurant.
- Bring home free souvenirs. Most expensive gift shop
souvenirs will hold no better memories and a vase of sea shells,
or a piece of driftwood, or best of all - a family picture on
All of these tips can save you money or at least allow you to
spend your vacation money on your vacation priorities. But the
last tip may well be the biggest saver!
- Pay yourself in advance. The average vacation
costs the American family around $1600 and many charge this cost
on credit cards. To pay a $1600 vacation off in minimum
payments, will take 14 years and 9 months, and will actual cost
you a whopping $3399 for your $1600 vacation!
How much better to plan ahead for vacation. That $1600
vacation would require an auto deduct of only $135 per month
from your paycheck to a vacation account. If you only have 6
months to prepare, $270 needs to be set aside. The point is
simple - when vacation is over, you want its memories to remain
for years, not its payments! Paying for your vacation in advance
will allow you to take two vacations for what the cost of
charging one on credit cards would be!
To be sure, family vacations can be a great time for making
memories. I hope these tips can help you focus even more on
having fun because you have your vacation finances under
© Jim Garnett
AskMrG Financial Library
2216 SW 35th Street
Ankeny, IA 50023