Cool Ideas

Take a Budget-Friendly Summer Vacation

Nothing says summer like a trip to the beach or a family-friendly amusement park, but getting there can be quite the costly battle. No doubt you and your family deserve a vacation, so here are 7 tips to help you get out of town and stay under budget.

Budget-Friendly Family Vacation
  1. Plan last minute or ahead: No doubt planning ahead will get your more bang for your buck, as you'll have time to price compare and shop around for specials. Likewise, planning at the last minute might nab you some savings for vacation hotspots trying to fill empty spaces or airlines trying to fill empty seats.
  2. Bring groceries: Food can be one of the biggest drains on your bank account when you go on vacation. After all, eating out breakfast, lunch and dinner quickly adds up for a family—you could spend as much as $100 each day! By hitting the store and picking up staples like bread, peanut butter and jelly, drinks, and even fixings for dinner, you could spend just a fraction of that. Just make sure you book accommodations that offer at least a fridge, if not an entire kitchen.
  3. Make a checklist: One of the easiest ways to waste money on vacation is to buy things you forgot at home. Whether it's sunblock or toothpaste, these little purchases can equal big money. So before you start packing, make a list of everything you might need while away, from toiletries and clothes to a phone charger and games.
  4. Don't just book the cheapest hotel: It's important to factor in considerations other than price when booking your hotel. For example, is it in walking distance to the attractions on your vacation itinerary? What you save on room rates you may pay extra for in transportation. Or perhaps the cheaper room comes without a fridge or kitchen. Likely you'll end up spending double what you saved on eating out.
  5. Create a daily budget: Decide how much spending money you can afford during your vacation, and divide that by the amount of days you'll be traveling. If you splurge a little too much one day, you make up for it by planning inexpensive or free activities the next. You may even want to think about bringing cash—while you may feel uncomfortable traveling with it, it's an easy way to keep track of just how much you are spending. Odds are the hotel will have a safe in which you can lock away whatever you aren't spending that day.
  6. Look for specials: These days, there are plenty of sites offering travel deals—you can even sign up for CoolDeals right here on CoolSavings. Some deals offer all-inclusive and money-saving packages so you can pay upfront and not have to think twice about spending once your trip comes.
  7. Save money ahead of time: Did you spend less on groceries than you planned? Put that money in a vacation fund! Are you willing to cut out your daily latte? Add that to your savings! Each little bit will add up, and then your bank account won't skip a beat when the well-deserved day comes.