By Robert Vandenbergh
Vacation is a long awaited ritual for Americans of all ages. In fact, 86% of us are predicted to either revisit a favorite destination or explore a new one this summer.1
The good news is that a little planning can go a long way toward helping you get the most out of your time and money. Here are some tips to make your summer vacation a cost-effective one.
Plan in Advance
- Take the time to research your destination. Look for the city’s convention and visitor website, which can provide ideas for lodging as well as activities. If you’re an AAA member, pick up a free guidebook at your destination’s local office or invest in a recently published guidebook.
- Start by making an itinerary and a rough budget for meals and activities. This will serve as your guideline throughout the trip, but keep things flexible so that you can enjoy unexpected “finds.”
- If you are planning a trip well enough in advance, set up a vacation club or other savings program at your bank to save money. This way you can pay for the trip before you go and prevent worrying about how you are going to pay for it when you return.
- Make arrangements to pay your bills before you leave. Try not to use hotel computers to pay your bills on vacation, since your personal information could be stolen.
- Pack any supplies or gear you might need for vacation activities. These will likely be cheaper at home.
Save with Last-Minute Bargains
- Plan how you are going to pay for vacation expenses: cash, credit or debit. For more money management tips, click here.
- If you are flexible with your travel plans, take advantage of last minute bargains. A quick web search will uncover plenty of options. For last minute airfare deals, try sites like Kayak or Priceline. For deals on accommodations, flights and cruises, try Travel Zoo and Hotwire.
Save Through Smart Choices
- Check with your favorite tour company. Sometimes they will offer deals when trying to fill up the last few spaces on a tour.
- Bring your own snacks from home. This can be a significant savings over buying food in airports and at tourist attractions. Consider shopping at a local supermarket for additional snacks or even a low-cost picnic meal. Or visit Restaurant.com for some great local deals.
- As a Lakeland Bank customer with an Elite Checking account, you have access to travel, dining, entertainment and shopping discounts up to 75% through the BaZing network! You can read more about how to access your BaZing benefits here.
- Daily deal sites like Groupon and Living Social also offer discounts on dining, accommodations and activities in your local area and your travel destination.
- Take advantage of discounts that you may have through AAA, AARP or the military.
- If you have small kids, consider bringing your own stroller. Renting one can be expensive. If you’re traveling by air, check with your airline to determine if you will incur any luggage fees in order to find the most cost-effective solution.
- Give kids a souvenir budget. Make it clear that they can spend it on anything they’d like, but that when the money is gone, there is no more. You’ll find that when kids control the cash, they become savvy shoppers.
Follow these simple tips to help you save money for your summer vacation. And, stay tuned as we post more information on our blog and our Facebook Page
about other financial topics that matter to you.