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I recently took a vacation with my son, and I realized how important it is to make memories when our children are still young. We took him to the Smoky Mountains and he loved every minute of it. As the trip went on I began to realize that we were spending a lot of money. I also felt guilty about it, but in the end, it was a sacrifice well made. But I also realized that not all families can afford to just spend money on a vacation while also taking time off of work. So I began to think of ways to save on vacations.
It wasn’t too long ago myself that I couldn’t afford to just take a vacation. I had to plan out a budget and think about the amount of time that could be spent away from the homestead. When the time came we were very constrained by money, but we always had a good time. I know a lot of families don’t take vacations because they think they can’t afford it, but I think that is a mistake. With a few tips, even the families on the smallest budgets can afford a vacation once in a while.
Here are my five tips on how to save on vacations.
The biggest way to save on vacations is to shop around for the cheapest hotel. I know we all have standards, but it is possible to get a nice, clean hotel on a budget. For me, I find that always typing in cheap hotels near (where ever I am going) into google gets the best results. I will then be given a list of deals that the local hotels are running.
A lot of people say to use tripadvisor or booking but I find searching this way always gives the best results. I am able to see all deals no matter what website they are on. From there I just pick the one that meets my needs and my budget.
Bring Your Own Items
You’re probably thinking ‘duh, of course, I am going to bring my own items’ but I am not talking about your basic stuff. I am talking about those little souvenir items that each store will carry at your vacation spot. Now if you are taking a trip without kids then you can overlook this, but if you have kids they are going to beg for a few of these items. In order to save your sanity just buy a few knock-off items to bring along. It will go a long way in keeping the peace.
Another little tip is to buy all your snacks for the road trip from the discount store before you take off. This will save you a lot of money for the long haul. There is just something about being crammed into a car for long hours that makes you want to eat. This is probably my best tip on how to save on vacations.
I know we all go to these vacation spots with things in mind to do, but what do you do with free time? If you have downtime in between planned events then do something free. Maybe just take the kids to a nearby park or for a walk. I personally like to do a lot of window shopping, but not everyone had the restraint for such a task. Just remember to keep it free during your free time.
Eating out always ends up being the most expensive thing to do on vacation. I know not everyone wants to eat fast food, but you also don’t need a five-star meal every night. Consider the small mom and pop dinners. They tend to be good food for a good price.
This might seem obvious, but a lot of people go on vacation and aren’t prepared. Make sure the check the weather before you leave. Having to buy clothing items to stay warm or cool once there isn’t a good place to be putting your budget.
I have been on both sides of the vacation struggle. I know what it means to have to save money while on vacation just to be able to go. Even when we could only afford a few things we still made some of the best memories. I think everyone deserves to spend some alone time relaxing with their kids.