Taking a family vacation this summer doesn’t have to cost you a fortune. In fact, you’re likely to have a better time by being creative. In addition to providing free entertainment, many destinations have other ways to appease the budget traveler. Think outside the box, save more money for your child’s education or your retirement, and have fun while you’re at it. This summer is going to be the best one yet!
Here are five ways you can cut costs without sacrificing your fun this vacation.
- Forget traditional accommodations. Rather than book the fanciest hotel room in the city, look into alternate forms of lodging. Can you rent a house or a cabin for a week and have your children sleep on the fold out sofa? How do you feel about camping? A few nights in a national or state park will create long lasting memories for all of your family members.
- Take advantage of Kids Eat Free and Happy Hour specials. Food can be expensive especially if you have several mouths to feed. Check out some websites to find out which restaurants in the area let kids under 12 years of age eat free. If your children are older, see if there are some Happy Hour specials you can take advantage of. Order water to drink and save even more money.
- Choose one really special landmark, attraction or show to see and spend the rest of the time searching for free entertainment. You shouldn’t have to pay a fortune to get to know a city and its culture. That’s why it’s important to do your research prior to embarking on your trip. Most major cities and tourist destinations host free festivals, parades, outdoor concerts, and workshops.
- Make your own souvenirs. Don’t spend money on a t-shirt or plastic globe. Create unique mementos instead. Pack a few craft essentials like a small pair of scissors, double sided tape or a glue stick, stickers and other embellishments, and a few sheets of scrapbook paper. Create your own scrapbook as you go along. Choose flat items like postcards, drink coasters, and admission tickets to glue down into the album and write details about the location and your experience visiting it next to the souvenir.
- Hop a trolley or the subway to get around. If available, use mass transportation to get from location to the next. This will give you a different viewpoint of the city you’re visiting because you’ll be traveling like the locals do. If you want a cost effective way to get around that doesn’t involve hours of walking, take a trolley or the subway.
A little creativity goes a long way in stretching your dollars. Make a conscious effort to save money on your vacation and focus your energy on engaging in sensory and culturally rich experiences. The best vacations are often the ones we plan the least for. Be in the moment, enjoy the company, and think outside the box. It will provide you with better memories and save you money in the long run.
Charissa is into frugal living and saving money.