How can you ensure your trip meets all your expectations without breaking the bank or sacrificing all the sites and amenities you came thousands of miles to visit?
Easy! Take a look below and see where you can cut extraneous costs without sacrificing that all important mark of quality.
Book Early: This goes without saying, the earlier you book and lock in a price, the bigger the savings tend to be. This is also of critical importance if you are using mileage for part of your traveling package. Often times you are at the mercy of the seats available, the earlier you can book your flight the better your chances will be that the whole family will be able travel together, with the savings to boot!
Rental Options: If possible, look into renting a home or condo as opposed to a hotel, particularly if you’re planning an extended trip. Often times you can cut costs by renting the place with others and you can further cut costs by bringing canned and prepackaged food in a separate suitcase. By shopping and cooking a couple of meals at your rental place you can enjoy a few indulgences without guilt, after all, the savings afford a night on the town. Alternatively, if a hotel is the way to go, be sure to check out the numerous online resources to pin down a frugal option.
Car Rentals: Again, try to book early, and find a car that will comfortably fit your party without guzzling too much gas. Make sure to always fill up the car before you return it (a no-brainer, they will charge you if you return it less than full and it will likely cost you more than if you had simply filled it prior to return) and to keep dirt and debris to a minimum. IF there are any minor mishaps make sure to quickly report it with photos or a report, you don’t want to be left holding the bag and any extra cost to repair damages.
Invest in an RV: If you’re looking to really save money long-term, consider investing in an RV. Studies have shown that owning (not renting) a small RV can save you money on vacations and/or road trips in the long haul. Thanks to cutting cost on items like airline tickets and hotels, RVs make a worthwhile investment–especially for families. There are a ton of options out there, so make sure to do your homework and find out which RV is right for your family, your destinations, and your budget.
Research Online: Make sure you know what to expect about your destination location BEFORE you get there; things like the local weather (even though San Francisco is in California you should always bring a jacket) and even look at the local industry of your vacation destination. The first time we traveled to Hawaii my father used a certain criteria when planning our vacation—namely price—and booked a hotel at a beach where its main source of funding for the local economy was the collection of seaweed. Not only was it not the most picturesque view in town, our little jaunts into the tropical waters often turned into a life and death struggle in which yards of tangled seaweed tugged and wrapped around our ocean-faring limbs before we decided to find a more family-friendly location and ended up riding an hour each way to Lahaina in order to find more swimmable beaches.
At the end of the day, vacations and getaways should be fun and not financially-ruining. Take the time to research and seek out those deals. You know what they say about the best-laid plans…expect the unexpected and make the best of your situation, adapt and above all, have fun!
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