Summer Summer Summer Time!!
In the words of West Philly’s own Fresh Prince.Even though old man winter is still here, summer is just a few months away. For most this is the best and most fun time of the year. But how can you enjoy the summer without taking at least one vacation?
Many tend to believe there is some secret bank account that uses a formula that helps friends and family (who you constantly watch travel channel) save up their money for a vacation. Now don’t get me wrong some folks do have it like that (I’m not one of those people… lol), but most folks need to do some planning before they hop on a plane!
No matter where you want to go for vacation, there are plenty of ways to save and reduce your expenses while still enjoying the beautiful sunny beach or cold alpine mountains. I am going to share three easy ways to Save Money on your vacation!
LODGING: It is no secret that transportation and lodging can be the two biggest expenses while traveling. Here’s how to beat the 5-Star Blues. I’ve never heard anyone say, “I can’t wait to go to LA just to sleep at the W.” Vacation is all about the destination. I hardly ever stay at the big expensive hotels.
BED AND BREAKFAST– I have fallen in love with the quaint vibe at a B&B. They are very comfortable, clean, inexpensive and great for meeting people. B&B (Bed and Breakfast) locations provide a kitchen for you to cook and store your food which substantially reduces your food costs while saving on your lodging. In some instances, I have been able to rent an entire apartment for less than a one night stay at a 3.5-star hotel. Some great resources for finding alternative lodging are AIRBNB.COM and BEDANDBREAKFAST.COM
HOUSE SITTER – I know this one sounds crazy…lol. Some people will barter free lodging to care for their home while THEY are gone away on vacation. It’s a win-win for everyone involved. Free lodging to watch over a residence…. EASY! Here are some great resources to get you started HOUSECARERS.COM and MINDMYHOUSE.COM.
I was guilty of this just like I am sure most of you are. We always want to avoid “the deals “or “giving out our email” but don’t be so quick to walk away from one of these opportunities. Rewards can come in different forms, but they are all REWARDS.
• Credit Card- You have to use a credit card to reserve or charge some part of your trip. Why not sign up or start to use the card that offers you the most rewards and incentives. Start to build and redeem the points you accumulate.
• Lodging/ Car Rental- Many hotels and rental car chains offer returning customer awards and discounts. Be sure to sign up for these benefits especially if you know you enjoy using a particular company for your services. I like to call this “Keeping it in the Family.”
Being able to enjoy a cost effective vacation is all about planning and research. You have to know what your budget can and can’t handle. Being FLEXIBLE is the biggest way you can save. Determine where you would like to go and start looking peak and off-peak dates. Off-season dates will provide you more flexibility and greater options for your vacation pleasures. Also, consider leaving a day earlier or a day later. These small changes can big differences in cost. However, don’t spend too much time debating prices and trying to find a dirt-cheap option because you may miss out on really great deals.
You could ignore everything I just said, but that’s the surest way to spend more than you need. A little more patience will pay off in a big way.