Summer is finally here, and that means fun activities, kids sporting events, lake days, and your next family road trip or vacation. While everything in the summertime seems more enjoyable and there are more activities happening, that also typically means more money spent.
With kids out of school, and college students home for the summer, it’s an easy time to spend together as a family and potentially travel to your next vacation destination. With everyone still itching to travel in the wake of COVID-19, here are a few money-saving tips you might want to consider while planning your next summer vacation.
Set a budget & stick to it!
Everyone knows that it is important to stick to a budget while traveling, especially with a group, but how often do we actually stay in the realm of that set budget? The answer is probably not very often.
If you are looking to save money on your summer adventures, make a budget and stick to it as closely as possible. Then when occurrences come up that you need to spend money on, like a flat tire, a speeding ticket, an unexpected cost from your hotel or Airbnb, a dinner that got a little too expensive, etc. it won’t seem like the end of the world.
We understand unexpected things pop up, but ultimately to save money, stick to the original budget you set for yourself so you’re not overwhelmed with credit card bills when you get back home.
Plan Your Trip Ahead of Time
It’s not always the easiest, but when looking to travel you should always start planning ahead of time. Looking into gas, lodging, flights, excursions, hiking trails, and maybe even some restaurants you want to eat at can save you money as you look ahead.
When you give yourself enough time to research you are able to compare multiple rates to get the best deal. It is also becoming more popular for lodging and airline websites to have price reduction notifications that you can set up to send you an email or text every time the flight or hotel rates decrease.
Be Flexible in your Travel Dates
It’s not always easy to keep your dates flexible, especially when your kids are in multiple activities; however, if you are able to keep your travel dates open to change, you could find a better deal down the road. Depending on what days you drive or fly and stay in a hotel can drastically change your expenses.
If you are able, consider flying and checking into your hotel during the week, rather than on a weekend. It is also important to consider peak travel times and holiday weekends. This can be a little more difficult to navigate during the summer because most of the summer months are peak travel times. Do your own research and find what works best for your family and your budget.
Stay Outside of Downtown Areas
If you are going to vacation in a city, consider staying outside of the city in suburban areas. Staying downtown will always be more expensive than finding something even 5-10 minutes out of the downtown area. This might not always be ideal if you do not have your own car, but it is worth comparing the cost of staying in the heart of the city and staying outside of downtown with the cost of renting a car or taking public transportation to get to the destinations you want.
Don’t Eat Out Every Meal
Vacation is a time to relax and that often means not cooking and going out to eat. While enjoying all the different types of food is great, it can add up quickly. If you have a kitchen in the space that you are staying in, consider buying groceries for quick, easy breakfast and lunch meals instead of going out to eat for every single meal.
If you want to splurge on breakfast or lunch on some of the days of your road trip vacation, that’s up to you! Getting groceries can be a very cost-efficient alternative to sticking to your overall vacation budget.
Traveling and picking your next road trip vacation destination should be fun and relaxing. Sticking to your budget and looking for ways to save allows you the freedom to enjoy and not worry about the bills that will be waiting for you when you get home.
If you’re ready to start booking your next trip, Voyage FCU offers their credit card users UChoose rewards. Your rewards can earn you airline tickets, activity vouchers, and much more. If you have any questions on how to redeem your points or want more information on the UChoose rewards, call us today at 605.338.2533 today!