I can’t believe it’s already time for Spring Break! If you’ve got school aged children, you’re probably hoping to take advantage of their week off to go on a family vacation. But if you’re anything like me, you’re dreading spending the money. Vacations are costly, and sometimes they can dig you into a hole. I’ve got some advice on how to save money planning the trip, getting there, and even buying your souvenirs before it’s time to go home!
Before the trip:
- Book your stay with the hotel directly. Some websites and apps boast about low rates and daily deals. But it comes at a cost. You can usually get the same discount directly from the hotel. Plus it cuts out any middleman fees!
- Do the math. Is it cheaper to fly or drive? How many miles are you driving? How many miles does your vehicle get per gallon? How much is a round trip plane ticket? Seriously, calculate all of this, consider how many stops you would have to make. How long is the plane ride versus the road trip? Decide what’s more feasible.
- Speaking of the trip, bring snacks! Don’t stop for breakfast, lunch and dinner at fast food restaurants if you can avoid it. My family and I always pack a cooler with water, juices, fruit and even lunch meat for sandwiches! Save your spending money for your destination.
- Plan a budget for when you get there! How much can you afford to spend? Do you have a vacation fund? Calculate how much you’ll spend on food and gas. Don’t forget the actual activities. Do you plan on spending all day on the beach or did you want to try zip lining or kayaking. These things cost money, factor them into your budget.
When you get there:
- Stick to that budget we just talked about! Avoid unplanned expenses. Listen to your instincts; if you feel guilty about buying that souvenir or t shit that says “I went to Cozumel” don’t buy it! You’ll probably regret it at some point.
- Spend wisely. Go grocery shopping when you get there. Try to book a room with a refrigerator and microwave so you’re not constantly eating out. Don’t go nuts buying souvenirs. Those t shirts and key chains that say I <3 NYC just get thrown into drawers and closets.
- Take advantage of continental breakfasts. It’s free! They’re built into the cost of the room. Take advantage of them! Save dinner for your meal out in the city or on the beach.
- When it comes to souvenir shopping, souvenir stores aren’t that great, to be honest. The prices are usually hiked up a lot, and the quality isn’t always great. I always try to go to smaller local shops that tourists don’t usually go into. Look for unique cultural items that your friends and family members will truly appreciate. Skip the key ring and $20 t shirt.
What are some of your spring break vacation spots? How do you try to save money on vacation?