Guest Blogger: Andrew Schrage, Money Crashers
There’s no denying it, winter can be hard. Sometimes, it seems like the warm weather is never going to arrive – but it always does. And when the time finally comes, chances are you’re going to want to jet out of town and enjoy the sun and scenery for a relaxing summer vacation. Unless you’re independently wealthy or just hit the Lotto, though, you don’t want to pile up a mountain of credit card debt to do it. Here are five ways to save up some cash for your summer getaway.
1. Do Your Homework on Airfares
There are a wealth of travel aggregator websites out there, including KAYAK and BookingBuddy,that allows you to enter in your travel details and track the price of your fare. Just don’t make this your only strategy. Airlines often run one-day sales, which may or may not appear on those websites – sign up for email updates from your preferred airlines to get them. I once scored a $70 round-trip flight through a one-day sale from AirTran that normally costs about $300.
2. Consider Less Traditional Lodging Options
Check out the website Vacation Rental By Owner and you might discover a home or condo you can rent for less money than a hotel room – or possibly find a place for the same price but with a well-equipped kitchen to help save on food costs. Traveling internationally? Consider a hostel. The experience is always a bit more bohemian in nature, but it can save you a bundle.
3. Take Advantage of Deal of the Day Websites
For entertainment and restaurant options at your destination city, check out deal of the day websites like LivingSocial. Enter the zip code you’re traveling to and peruse the vouchers, many for at least 50% off. These websites often have their own mobile apps which you can use, as well – your voucher’s bar code is sent directly to your phone, so there’s no need to print anything out.
4. Reduce Gas Costs
Driving to your destination? Don’t let high gas costs get you down. Download the GasBuddy smartphone app, enter in the city where you’re stopping to fill up, and receive a list of the cheapest gas stations. Fuel prices typically run higher at stations near highway exits, so driving an extra mile or two might very well be worth it.
5. Consider a Staycation
To really impact your travel costs, don’t actually travel at all. Since it’s summer, local parks, public swimming pools, and even your own backyard can be a great source of fun. Do an Internet search for “free entertainment” followed by the name of your city and you may find even more ways to have a good time while saving money. Plus, you won’t have to deal with the stress of airports or hours in the car.
Once you get back home from your excursion, estimate your overall savings that resulted from the above tips. Then, open a separate bank account and deposit that amount for either your next vacation or winter holiday gifts – this way your next round of major seasonal spending won’t be as much of a challenge. Saving on summer travel is important, but putting those savings to good use is even better.
What ways can you think of to save on summer travel?
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