A great family vacation is anticipated by all members and will be filled with memories you’ll typically never forget. Unfortunately, these same treasured memories can also be quite costly.
Keep the following tips in mind while you are on your next trip. They will help to cut down on expenses and will give you more money to spend on having fun and making memories.
1. Work Out a Budget Before You Go
Establishing (and sticking to) a budget is the first step to controlling your spending while on vacation. Before you leave, figure out how much money you can comfortably spend on the entire trip and decide how much of that money you want to go toward things like snacks and souvenirs.
This way, you'll avoid spending more money than you can afford on spur-of-the-moment purchases. Setting a realistic budget will also keep these unplanned purchases from landing on your credit card.
2. Stay in a Smaller Town
When you’re planning a trip to a major tourist destination, the cost of food and accommodations will likely be higher there than in smaller cities nearby. While you may need to travel to the destination you have in mind, finding a hotel in a smaller city saves you money and also keeps you away from larger crowds.
3. Make Lunch Your Main Meal of the Day
If you want to make the most of your vacation meal budget, eating a big lunch helps more than you think. Many diners and restaurants offer lunch specials that are bargain-priced, compared to their dinner specials.
By eating earlier in the day, you avoid dinner-time crowds. Not only that, eating a big lunch can actually be better for you than eating a big dinner. Eating before you take on the majority of the day ensures that you'll have the energy until bedtime.
Also, eating a big dinner shortly before turning in for the night loads you down with calories that you don’t have time to work off and might even affect how you feel the next day.
4. Reduce Your Power Usage at Home
Many people already turn off lights and electronic devices when they're about to take a trip. However, that's only the first step to keeping the power bill down while you’re away.
- Turn down the heat on your water heater's thermostat to save the money you would otherwise spend keeping your water warm. Some water heaters come equipped with a "vacation" setting for doing so.
- Depending on when you plan to travel, set your home thermostat a little lower in the winter or higher in the summer. This means your furnace or AC runs less.
5. Venture Out of The Tourist Zone
If you’re the type of person who likes to stick to a schedule as well as stay within a set region or area during your travels, you’ll miss out on some great opportunities to learn about the culture and how the locals really live.
Most travel experts will tell you to “get lost on purpose”. They explain that if you want to learn about how real people live and work, you need to venture outside of your comfort zones (and the busier tourist areas/traps).
Keeping safety in mind, venturing out will not only broaden your horizons, but you’ll save money as most venues and restaurants outside of the bustling tourist areas will offer better pricing.
So, try to set aside a day where all you do is explore! Keep an open mind and let yourself get lost in the culture and customs of the places you’re visiting!
Keep in mind that taking a vacation is all about having fun. Spending a bit more than you planned on isn’t so bad. However, if you do your best to stick to the budget you laid out before the trip, you’ll generally end up with more money to put toward the next one.