ICFE eNEWS #13-08 - May 29th 2013
11 Great Tips To Make Your Vacation More Affordable
By Jim Garnett, a/k/a Ask Mr.G, a member of the ICFE's Board of Educational Advisors.
Family vacations can be great opportunities for making memories. I
still remember vivid scenes from childhood vacations traveling in our
1960 Nash Rambler. We often traveled to see relatives, but once in a
while headed to a someplace like the Grand Canyon, the Black Hills, or
Our family was not wealthy by any stretch of the imagination. In fact,
I discovered later on in life, that we were actually quite poor.
Interestingly enough, not one of those vacation memories I hold dear has
anything to do with an activity that cost money.
Therefore, even when finances are lean, a little forethought and
planning can create a great family vacation filled with one memory after
Here are a few tips that will help you save money on your next
- Stay in one place. The cost of gasoline can be cut a lot if you
travel to one area and stay there. This presupposes that there is
something to see and do in that location.
- Rent multiple nights at a time. Staying in one area also enables you
to rent by the week instead of one night at a time. Discounts always
await those who stay more than just a night. This also eliminates
having to pack up everything and move the family every day.
- Shop Internet prices. There are bargains to be found for those who
will spend a few minutes on Priceline or web surf to see if any
destination hotels are running specials.
- Try Camping. It costs around $12-$25 to spend a night at these
campgrounds, which is much less than the cost of a motel room these
days. Parks are typically run by park rangers, who also provide security
at the campgrounds. Each campsite will likely have a fire-pit, charcoal
grill, and a picnic table. There will be an area to set up your tent or
camper, and a place to pull your car off the road. These parks usually
have buildings that enclose bathrooms and showers. You'll also find
drinking water available, places to do your dishes, and trash
- Vacation in the non-peak season. If you vacation in the off-season,
the crowds will be smaller, the lines will be shorter, the beaches will
be emptier, and prices will be lower. Campgrounds can be great places to
stay when everyone else is gone!
- Stay at relatives. I am sure that this can be a blessing or a curse,
but if both families have kids, a few days with kinfolk can be pretty
neat. Plus, one of the greatest vacation expenses, lodging is
- Look for destinations where the fun is free. A trip to the Tetons,
the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, a State Park, or the beach offers days of
exciting things to do at little cost.
- Check out local guidebooks. Most of these contain discount coupons
for local attractions.
- Eat out only once a day. A place with a built in kitchen can let you
choose which meals to eat out. A hotel with a complimentary breakfast
can take care of breakfast. A cooler with soft drinks, fruit, chips,
and sandwiches will satisfy most families for lunch. This approach can
enable your family you to save hundreds of dollars a week or enjoy
eating the evening meal at a more expensive restaurant.
- Bring home free souvenirs. Most expensive gift shop souvenirs will
hold no better memories than a vase of sea shells, a piece of driftwood,
or best of all - a family picture on location!
All of these tips can save you money or at least allow you to spend your
vacation money on your vacation priorities. But the last tip may well
be the biggest saver!
- Pay yourself in advance. The average vacation costs the American
family around $1600 and many charge this cost on credit cards. To pay
off a $1600 vacation in minimum payments, will take 14 years and 9
months, and will actual cost you a whopping $3399 for your $1600
How much better to plan ahead for vacation. That $1600 vacation would
require an auto deduct of only $135 per month from your paycheck to a
vacation account. If you only have 6 months to prepare, $270 needs to
be set aside. The point is simple - when vacation is over, you want its
memories to remain for years, not its payments! Paying for your
vacation in advance will allow you to take two vacations for what the
cost of charging one on credit cards would be!
To be sure, family vacations can be a great time for making
I hope these tips can help you focus even more on having fun because you
have your vacation finances under control.
© Jim Garnett, The Debt Doctor
AskMrG Consulting, LLC
2216 SW 35th Street
Ankeny, IA 50023
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