Memorial Day Weekend is just around the corner and for many that means the unofficial kickoff to summer. For most of us, it also means vacation is top-of-mind. Justifying the cost of a summer excursion does not come easy to many, especially if money’s tight, but managing a vacation budget isn’t as complicated as it seems. Below you will find six simple steps to help you plan and maintain your getaway budget.
- Plan Early. Begin by creating a budget and determining the minimum and maximum amount of money you can afford to spend overall. Make sure to consider all aspects of a vacation, ranging from transportation to and from, to food and entertainment costs during the trip. Once a budget is established, begin by contacting hotels and/or home rental agencies as early as possible so that you have your pick of the most inexpensive options. If you plan to fly, try to book the flight as far as six months in advance so that you don’t have the added stress and cost of ticket price increases.
- Take advantage of last-minute deals. If you have a flexible schedule, finding last-minute deals can often result in large savings. Hotel prices will usually drop significantly to avoid vacancies, and airlines are more likely to drop ticket prices at the last minute in order to fill seats. If a spur of the moment trip fits in with your lifestyle, take advantage of it!
- Consider low cost vacation options. Surprisingly enough, many exciting summer activities are free, or very close to it. Consider a camping trip to the Poconos with family and friends, or visit the nearby Jersey Shore where many of the beaches have free public access. These locations may not appear as glamorous as a typical destination resort, but they can be equally as enjoyable and relaxing.
- Keep an eye out for package deals. If a destination vacation is more your style, thoroughly investigate travel search websites. Often you will find package deals that will book a flight and hotel together and in many cases, this price is significantly lower than if you were to purchase and book each separately.
- Stay at family friendly hotels. Regardless of if you’re traveling with your family or a group of friends, family friendly hotels usually offer freebies such as complimentary breakfast every morning or happy hours in the evening. The rooms are often more affordable and have a lot more space, making any type of vacation that much more enjoyable.
- Reduce food costs by planning ahead. When you’re at any popular vacation spot, sit down restaurants tend to have cheaper prices during lunch than at dinner. If you plan to eat out, try to eat your largest meals during the lunch hours so that you can save money in the evening. However, if you really want to save a lot of cash, pack as many meals as you can ahead of time.
Keep in mind any and all of these simple cost-efficient options when planning your summer getaway. A relaxing, guilt-free vacation is right within your reach. Bon Voyage!