Taking a summer vacation should not be a source of stress. After all, that would defeat the purpose of taking a break. It’s hard to get back home after a wonderful week just to find the credit card statements piling up in the mailbox. There are ways to stretch a budget and still take a very nice trip with no regrets.
Driving instead of flying
The way to make driving pay off economically is to keep the destination within a day’s drive. By keeping the drive to a maximum of 10-12 hours, there will be no added cost of a roadside hotel. According to AAA, a round trip in a 2010 suburban on a round trip of 600 miles each way should cost around $290 total in gas or $145 each way. An example of a day’s drive is from Houston to Branson, Mo., which takes approximately 11 hours. In addition, driving eliminates the need for a rental car once at your destination. Therefore, if more than one person is making the trip this is definitely the most economical and practical mode of transportation from point A to point B.
Rent a vacation property instead of a hotel room
The economy has driven many vacation home owners to list their homes on vacation rental websites or place them with vacation property management companies. Searching for homes is very simple. Searches can be narrowed by location, date, price, number of bedrooms and even square footage. One can search for luxury waterfront or economy in town. Some homes even have private swimming pools. On average, a vacation home or condo is less expensive than a hotel for two reasons.
If traveling with a party of four or more, vacation properties are less expensive than two hotel rooms. Make sure to contact the owner or manager and negotiate the price. Very often they will waive a cleaning fee or give a night or two off depending on length of stay and their desire to get a confirmed stay.
Having a kitchen will also save a tremendous amount of money. This is true even if just one meal and snack per day is prepared at the home instead of eating out every meal. It is a good idea to buy disposable cutlery, plates and cups. That way it is still a break from housework and it does not feel like a working vacation.
Research coupons available for activities at the chosen destination
Before making the trip, scour the Internet for reputable coupons such as from the location’s tourism or welcome centers. To attract tourism revenues, these outlets may even offer “gas busters” discounts with attraction ticket purchase or discounted attraction prices. In addition, most tourist towns have coupon books and maps readily and freely available at gas stations. Make this the first stop when pulling into town.
These smart steps may actually enhance a vacation by giving travelers the freedom of personal transportation, more comfortable lodging and discovery of available attractions. Taking these money saving measures will make summer vacations more affordable and therefore more enjoyable.