Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Guest Post - Vacation on a Budget

With many Americans either losing their jobs, or have had their hours cut, taking a vacation has often times taken a back seat. Many people are opting for the "Staycation" type of vacation. Others have simply just not done anything. Yes, saving money is important, however taking a vacation is also important. A vacation is time meant to reset your Brain, and relax. It shouldn't cause you additional worries. There are many ways that you can save money when on vacation, no matter if your going away for several days, or do like my family does, take multiple day trips spaced out throughout the course of the Summer.

If you've decided to do a day trip to a local amusement park, one great way to save money is on the cost of food. Bring a cooler packed with the makings for grinders. Cut up your veggies, the night before and store in small containers, pack all the condiments that everyone likes. and only buy enough lunch meats to accommodate everyone's sandwiches. Buy 1/2 or 1/4 pound sizes of different meats. Pack sodas, juice and chips for everyone, and come lunch time, have yourself a tailgate party with the family out at your vehicle!

If you have smaller children, another way to save at the amusement park is to make a trip to the Dollar store ahead of time, and pick up a few small toys, and pack them, so when you are in the park, and there are toys that they see that they want, you will be able to pull out the ones you brought prior to. Just remember to pick something out that travels easily, and isn't too heavy for them to carry!

Often time’s travel clubs like AAA have discount passes for many amusement parks. Check your local office if they have passes for an amusement park that's in your area.

If a longer vacation is your way of relaxing, there are many ways to save here as well. Try staying at a National Park. They tend to be much more reasonably priced than your traditional hotels. The National Parks Association (www.npa.gov) has listings of beautiful parks all throughout the country. If your bold enough, you can even look into staying at a Hostel. These are dormitory like rooms, with a single bathroom a short walk down the hall.

When my family and I go on longer vacations, we often drive to our destination. There are several reasons that I like to drive more so than flying. The first is always, that we get to see more of the country, then we would if we flew. Another reason is that if we are planning on a longer trip, we plan way in advance. Since gas is a big part of our expense, I will purchase a pre paid Visa card and put a set amount each week on the card. This card is used to purchase the gas when we are on the road.

Before you leave on your trip, try looking to see where your children eat for free. A great website to see if one or several are in an area where you'll be vacationing is www.mykidseatfree.com. You can also save on meals for yourself if you order an Entertainment book for the area in which you'll be staying. Before you buy the book, you'll want to make sure that the cost of the book will benefit your trip. You won't want to purchase a book, and only use it for a $5.00 coupon. Go to the Entertainment website (www.entertainment.com) and view the book before you make a purchase.

Thanks, Brandy at Brandy's Big Bargains.

1 comment:

Brandon May said...

What a wonderful post. I'm always looking on ways to save money while on vacation. Like you, our family plans way in advance. It makes the trip much more smoother and relaxed.

I try to pack healthy snacks for the kids, rather than soda, juice and chips, even on vacation. But I suppose it is OK, every once in a while to pack a little treat. However, the family actually enjoys healthy food, so it isn't always an issue.

BTW, I LOVE the idea you just gave me on putting money on a pre-paid Visa card, every week, to spend on gas for the vacation. That is one thing we are going to try.