ICFE eNEWS #15-20 - June 22nd 2015
Your Vacation Should Leave You with Life-Time Memories, not Long-Term
By Jim Garnett, a/k/a Ask Mr.G, a member of the ICFE's Board of Educational Advisors
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, the Black Hills, 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 cost money.
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 next
1. 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
2. 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.
3. 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.
4. Try Camping. It costs
around $12-$25 to spend a night at these campgrounds, which is
much less than the cost of a motel room these days. Parks are
typically run by park rangers, who also provide security at the
campgrounds. Each campsite will likely have a fire-pit, charcoal
grill, and a picnic table. There will be an area to set up your
tent or camper, and a place to pull your car off the road. These
parks usually have buildings that enclose bathrooms and showers.
You'll also find drinking water available, places to do your
dishes, and trash containers.
5. 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 places to
stay when everyone else is gone!
6. Stay at relatives. I
am sure that this can be a blessing or a curse, but if both
families have kids, a few days with kinfolk can be pretty neat.
Plus, one of the greatest vacation expenses, lodging is
7. 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
8. Check out local guidebooks. Most of these
contain discount coupons for local attractions.
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
10. Bring home free souvenirs. Most
expensive gift shop souvenirs will hold no better memories than
a vase of sea shells, a piece of driftwood, or best of all - a
family picture on location!
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
11. Pay yourself in advance. The average
vacation costs the American family around $1600 and many charge
this cost on credit cards. To pay off a $1600 vacation 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.
these tips can help you focus even more on having fun because
you have your vacation finances under control.
© Jim Garnett, The Debt Doctor
AskMrG Consulting, LLC
2216 SW 35th Street
Ankeny, IA 50023