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Many of us will be heading out on that much needed summer vacation soon.
Whether you’ll be going to the beach or to visit family, there are many ways to save your money.
Below are a few tips I’ve picked up. Feel free to post any other ideas in the Comments below.
- Book your travel on off days.
Southwest and other airlines typically have cheaper flights Tuesday through Thursday and on Saturday. This can create large savings, especially if you have a larger family. Additionally, with the exception of Mondays, early morning flights and late night flights tend to be less expensive.
- Use a cash budget for your spending money.
Before you leave, have an idea of how much you plan on spending while on vacation. Then once you get to your desired destination, go to an ATM and take out the money you have budgeted to spend.
Depending on what your vacation involves, you can sort out approximately how much money you will spend on different areas. By using cash, you be able to feel like you’re spending (as opposed to just swiping a card) and you’ll know how much you have left to spend.
- Go grocery shopping.
If you are staying at a hotel with a mini-kitchen or full-kitchen, make the most of it. Depending on your travel arrangements, either bring groceries with you or stop by a grocery store at your destination and pick up some groceries.
If you think about it, for a couple to buy some basic meals instead of going out to eat lunch and a nice dinner, you could probably save at least $50 – $60 a day. That can add up!
Also, breakfast is an easy meal for buying groceries. Buy a couple boxes of cereal bars and you have yourself an instant breakfast even if you don’t have a kitchen in your room.
- Be careful.
I’ve learned (through personal experience) that if you book any travel or accommodations through Expedia, Orbitz, and similar sites, they are non-refundable. You cannot even get refunded by the hotel itself!
While this may not affect airline flights, I urge using caution when booking hotels through these sites. The rooms are typically the less-desirable rooms (near highways, worse views, etc). Additionally, if for some reason you need to cancel your flight, you will not get refunded. You may possibly receive a credit for that site, but several fees reduce the total credit given.
Even though there are typically some savings involved through using these sites, be sure you do the research to know where you will be staying.
- Ask for the best rate.
Most hotels will quote you a rate when you call to make reservations, but many times that is not actually the best rate they can offer. Groups such as AAA or AARP offer better rates if you are a member. Also, if you work for a large company, you may be able to get discounted rates if you ask.
Additionally, if you just ask if that is the best rate they can give, sometimes they will come back with a better rate or a way to decrease the rate.
Vacations are a great time to sit back and take a break from your everyday busy life. But these few tips can help save you money so that you are not stressed once you get back.
I’m a Financial Consultant and Personal Financial Representative with experience in financial analysis, strategic planning, presenting, & financial advisory services.