How many times have you wanted to get away from it all and visit someplace new, but could not afford it? Why should you have to charge your vacations now and pay for it later?
A tightwad vacation does not mean that you have to be cheap. You do not have to go camping in your backyard or go hiking to the local supermarket. There are many cost-efficient ways to travel, and tips to help you along the way.
Over the course of a year, many families are spending hundreds to thousands of dollars on extra un-needed small wants, instead of using that money wisely at a later time. Try keeping track of some of those wants and cutting back on them.
Pretend that every 2 days you get a bottle of soda and a candy bar at a convenience store – just a few of those many impulse buys that we are all tempted to make. 55 cents for the candy bar and 99 cents for the soda adds up to $1.54. Multiply that by approximately 182 days and you could have saved $280.28. Now $228 will not pay for the vacation itself, but it is a start.
Do not fly, unless you can get really cheap rates, or if you are traveling out of the country. Traveling by train or bus can be cheap, but it depends on where you are traveling. Driving to your destination may not be the cheapest way to go.
Think of the impulse purchases you make along the way. Snacks, drinks, souvenirs, tourist attractions, etc., and gas to get there may be more than a train or bus pass would have cost. Make plans a few months early to consider if you want to spend a lot of time doing activities at your destination, or if you just want to have fun getting there.
Do not travel during the holidays or mid-summer. Prices are always jacked up on hotel rooms, restaurants, and tourist attractions at most major cities. Instead, travel during the fall when school starts again, or early winter, when prices will be back to normal, if not cheaper than usual.
Take along your own food and drinks. Pack a large cooler with sandwiches, fruit, drinks, vegetable sticks, and so on. Also bring many types of food that will not go bad if they do not get eaten within the first few days. Crackers, cookies, dried fruit, trail mixes, and nuts are always good to snack on.
Bring plenty of extra clothes. You do not want to have to buy new clothes just because you do not have anything else to wear.
If you are traveling with young children, take a small bag packed with travel games, activity pads, tiny stuffed animals, crayons, and a coloring book to keep them busy. Even if you want the children to look around instead of playing in the backseat, it is always much better to have them, just in case.
Jot down every expense you make during this trip, and be sure to save those receipts. By keeping track of how much you spend on this vacation, it will be easier to make an estimate on how much you need for the next vacation, and to keep your family motivated from buying all of those small unnecessary purchases throughout the year.