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Sonoma Family Life Magazine

9 Ways to Save for a Family Vacation

Jun 30, 2009 12:00AM

According to an Auto Club of America survey almost one-quarter of polled travelers said they plan to spend less money on summer trips this year than they did last year, compared to 20% in 2008 who said they planned to spend less than in 2007. For those planning to spend less in summer 2009, 54% cited concern about the economy as a reason, 40% cited reduced income, 18% mentioned concern about their job stability and 9% cited the loss of a job.

  1. First of all, position yourself to be able to afford a vacation. Avoid a spending "hangover" by going into debt and later on having to pay for past choices.
  2. It’s all about what free cash you have to be able to afford a vacation and about what is right for you and your family, there is no right or wrong, it’s about what you have chosen as your financial priorities and making sure that you create a positive energy flow from your spending (spending on a cash basis) and not a negative energy flow (spending with debt).
  3. Save now but look for Last Minute Deals. Many of the travel websites will have last minute trips at a deep discount, particularly today with this economic environment. Decide, OK, we have $2000 to spend on vacation and then search online for an all inclusive trip for the long weekend that falls into that number.  The exciting part is that you are leaving yourself open to trying a new adventure or a new place.
  4. Decide what are your priorities for your vacation, what amount your will choose to spend, then build your plan out from there.
  5. Choose the day. Choose to travel on cheaper air fair days, such as Tuesday–Saturday.
  6. Buy in bulk. Affordable vacation packages with airfare, car rental and hotel bundles up in one price are offered through companies like Expedia, Travel Velocity, and Price Line.
  7. Pack the snacks. If you’re taking a road trip, pack a cooler! No need to spend extra money on those high cost, high calorie snacks.
  8. . Locals know best. Talk to the locals once you arrive at your destination, go to the restaurants where the locals eat, they’re not tourist traps with higher costs, and many times better.
  9. Set the plan and open an account. If you don’t have a vacation planned, set up a separate savings account that is ONLY to be used for your vacations. For example, If you’ve decided you want to spend $3000 per year on a vacation, then make sure you put $125 per check (if paid twice per month) into that savings account straight from your paycheck.