Family vacations are often one of the first things to get cut when your budget gets trimmed, but if you use some creative planning you and your family can still enjoy some well-deserved rest and relaxation on a reasonable amount of money.
I recently went on a mini vacation to the beach with a group of friends to celebrate a close friend’s birthday. She’s my best friend and I knew that she was excited to go all out and celebrate with a great group of people so I made the mental note that the weekend was probably going to cost me. When I got home, I braced myself for the worst and tallied up all my expenses.
Surprise! The final bill was actually much LOWER than I thought. In fact, I had been saving for a while for the mini-vacation and had budgeted almost twice what I spent! At that point I got an ice cream sandwich from the freezer because I felt like I deserved a treat for being so frugal. As I sat there looking at the numbers and enjoying my treat, I realized my savings were because of the way that we organized the vacation in the first place. My friends all saved money as well. So I thought I would share of few of the things we did to save money. It might work for you as well.
1. Stay local. This is easier for some people who live near the ocean, a national park or another type of vacation spot but you’d be surprised how many great vacation spots you’re near, no matter where you live. The key is to find a place that you can drive to. Not only do you avoid the headache of battling with an airport, but you also save money on traveling expenses.
2. Skip the hotel if you can. In my case, we were lucky enough to be able to take over a beach house belonging to the birthday girl’s family for the weekend, which eliminated the cost of a hotel. If you know people who are renting out their house or need a house sitter for a few days, it could be a great opportunity to take a mini vacation. Staying with friends, if it’s possible, is also a great way to save money as well as visit with people. Just remember that you must be extra respectful to your surroundings because someone else lives there (and it never hurts to leave a thank you note).
3. “10 to a room, 2 to a towel.” This is something my mom taught me that basically means house as many people as you can, in as little space as you can. When she was growing up her family would travel to the Jersey Shore every summer (this was before Snooki and The Situation came along). They would pile the whole family in one room, and they had a big family. The point was, they weren’t going to spend much time in the room anyway so why waste the money on multiple rooms? Having a big family reunion and all staying in one house might seem like a headache but it’s also a fantastic way to make memories with the people you love, and to save a little money. It’s up to you, but “10 to a room” might be a little too crowded, and you might want to bring your own towels!
4. Cook your own food. Going out to eat can be an expensive venture, especially if you’re traveling with kids. Cooking dinners for your family or packing sandwich supplies for lunches is a huge money saver. We cooked most of the meals for our group of 11 people and spent less than $100 for two days’ worth of meals! That’s what I call a bargain.
What are your tips for vacationing on the cheap?
Image Source: www.focushpp.com
Consumer Education Services, Inc. (CESI) is a non-profit service provider of comprehensive personal financial education and solutions for all life stages and for all of life’s milestones. Our goal is enhanced economic security for everyone we serve.
CESI is NOT A LOAN COMPANY