Saturday, April 27, 2013

Make a Family Vacation Happen This Year

Brought to you by guest blogger Jenna!

Make a Family Vacation Happen This Year

With the end of the school year only a few weeks away, your kids may drop hints about a family vacation. They’ve worked hard all year and deserve a trip to unwind. You might like the idea of a vacation, but your budget may tell a different story. 

Everyone knows how expensive vacations can become. There’s booking airline tickets, reserving hotels, buying food and planning activities. Once you take everything into consideration, it’s probably cost-effective to stay home and take short day trips. But if this is how you spend every summer break, perhaps this year can be different. 

There are plenty of way to get your finances in order and make a family vacation a reality

1. Go on a camping trip. If your family is the outdoorsy type, heading to a campground for a few days might suffice. Campgrounds typically feature a variety of inexpensive activities, such as kayaking, biking, hiking and swimming. And if you don’t have the proper outdoor equipment, you can shop online and save money with Backcountry coupons

2. Use your AAA discount. A motor club membership isn’t only useful when you have a flat tire. Being a member of AAA and other motor clubs can open the door to amazing travel savings. This includes discounts on hotels and rental cars, as well as discounts at certain theme parks throughout the country. Simply show a valid membership card to enjoy immediate savings. 

3. Compare travel options. If you shop around, family travel may be cheaper than you think. Don’t assume that a vacation will break the bank. The Internet is full of discounts and savings, as long as you know where to look. Use websites such as NerdWallet to compare prices on a variety of travel products. Knowing your options not only make travel possible, but can affect the length of your vacation. For example, finding an amazing hotel deal can be the difference between a five-day and a seven-day vacation. 

4. Choose your accommodations wisely. Hotels that feature a small kitchenette may cost more than your standard room, but you’ll save on food. What you spend on one meal at a restaurant could possibly feed your family for two days. Not to say you have to prepare every meal. However, cooking your own food a few times a week will keep cash in your wallet. 

5. Use your credit card. Dust off your rewards credit card and earn points and miles for every $1 you spend. Even if you’re not a big credit card user, using your cards for everyday purchases like gas and food can help you save on future vacations. The points or miles earned with a travel rewards credit card can be redeemed for hotels, car rentals, cruises and airfare. The more you use the card, the more you earn. If you decide to go this route, pay off the balance in full each month to avoid debt. 

A family vacation doesn’t have to be a dream, but it will take careful planning. Review your finances, look for ways to cut back, and you can make a vacation happen this year. 

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