With summer finally here many people are planning on getting out of town. In fact, July and August are the two most popular vacation months. So now is the time to start planning that perfect get-away. But, how do you do that when money is tight? The first thing you need to consider is how much you can afford to spend without having to rely on credit cards. It is never a good idea to put vacation expenses on a card unless you plan on paying them off when you get home. Next, itemize your costs. How much do you plan on spending on getting to your destination? Food? Entertainment? Souvenirs? New clothes or necessities? Do your research so you wonâ€™t be surprised when you get there. Lastly, you need to find ways to cut costs. Apprisen offers these tips to help you vacation on the cheap.
- Consider a â€œstaycationâ€.Â Become a tourist in your own city or venture an hour or two out of town to explore new experiences. Think about if you had visitors coming to stay with you, where would you take them? Many of us have historical or cultural venues in our area, but never take the time to visit. Search your cityâ€™s visitors and tourism website for information. Donâ€™t forget to take pictures!
- Control your dining costs. This is one area that most people under-estimate the cost. Eating out for breakfast, lunch, and dinner can often be more than the cost of your lodging per day. Plan on purchasing breakfast items and snacks to have available in your hotel room.Â If venturing out for the day, stop by a local market and pick up pre-made sandwiches and fruit to put in a backpack. Also, consider visiting websites like Groupon and Living Social to find dining deals in the area.
- Look for cheap fun.Â Check out the visitorâ€™s website of the city you are going to. Often times, there are links to package deals or discounts at restaurants or local attractions. You can also go directly to the website of the attraction you are planning on visiting. They might have specials listed for buying tickets online or coupons to use once youâ€™re there.
- Reduce your transportation costs. Getting to your destination can be expensive. To cut costs, again do your research. If you are traveling by car, gasbuddy.com has a trip cost calculator which will give you a good estimate of the price you will pay for fuel. If traveling by plane, experts suggest flying midweek. Airfare is often lower on a Wednesdays rather than any other day of the week. Itâ€™s best to book your reservations at least 7 weeks out.
Going on vacation doesnâ€™t have to be expensive.Â With a little homework beforehand, you can plan the perfect vacation on the cheap! Â
Views expressed are the personal views of the author, and do not represent the views of the National Foundation for Credit Counseling, its employees, its members, or its clients.
Jana Castanon is Media Relations/Outreach Manager for Apprisen. Apprisen is a member of the National Foundation for Credit Counseling. To schedule an appointment with a certified financial professional call 800.355.2227, or visit Apprisenâ€™s website atÂ www.apprisen.com.