Save Money During Your Summer Vacation


School is out, the sun is beaming and temperatures are rising. This can only mean one thing: summer has arrived! Along with warmer weather, summer is typically vacation season for many families.


Summer vacations are a great way to relax and take in new experiences. However, the stress of money spent on trips can often damper the getaway fun. Typically food costs along with the expense of experiences during vacations means shelling out more cash than your budget generally allows.


With proper planning the stress of vacation money troubles can be eliminated. If you plan to fly, check for airlines that offer special deals, such as a free bag check. If this isn’t an option consider only bringing a carry-on for your trip. Take advantage of the free beverage and snacks available on the plane instead of spending money on overpriced food at the airport and during your flight. Avoiding extra airline fees can make a world of difference when it comes to vacation costs.

If you are driving to your destination you could save money by carpooling and splitting gas costs with other family members. If your vehicle doesn’t get good gas mileage check with a friend who has one that does. Perhaps you could arrange a vehicle swap while you are away. You can make a difference with gas costs by planning ahead as well. In the month leading up to your trip start putting money back specifically for gas. A last minute option to gather extra gas money is to clean the change out of your car(s). Exchange your change for cash at your local bank and use that money to help your gas fund.


Choosing family-friendly hotels can also help cut down vacation expenses. Generally rooms at these hotels are larger to suit families. They typically include fold-out bedding, which eliminates the need to book a second room. Hotels that serve complimentary breakfast are a great choice as well. In addition, take advantage of hotels that include free shuttle transportation to your destination of choice. This will not only save you gas, but will also take away the expense of car rental. You might even find yourself extra relaxed by allowing someone else to take care of the driving!


Meal costs quickly add up to be quite an expense during vacation. Generally we tend to indulge on our getaways and eat out far more than usual. Trimming down the volume of restaurant meals on vacation is very cost-effective. While dining at new places is half the fun of a trip, you can save money by choosing to pack meals. If your hotel has a refrigerator, take advantage by keeping drinks and cold food items in your room. If your hotel doesn’t include a refrigerator, bring a supply of foods that are room temperature safe, such as bread and peanut butter. Consider eating breakfast and lunch with the foods you packed and then dine out for dinner. Also, pack snacks for your various vacation outings as this can save you from paying pricey concession costs.


Prior to your vacation as well as upon arrival at your hotel look for coupons that will benefit your family. Coupons can cut meal costs drastically. In addition, coupons may help make various vacation activities, such as golf and parasailing, more affordable. Most vacation destinations usually have coupons for select events. See what deals work for your family and have fun without breaking the bank.


Keeping the family entertained during vacation can sometimes equal even more money spent. Of course you should plan to pay for certain activities during your trip, but you can save money by bringing along your own entertainment as well. Pack movies, board games and books to keep your crew occupied.


Additional ways to cut vacation expenses include:


  1. If you have a military and/or student ID ask about discounts. Many businesses offer student and military discounts, but might not advertise this.
  2. Don’t waste money on excess souvenirs. The cost of vacation keepsakes can quickly add up. More often than not many souvenirs end up collecting dust in the long run. Instead of spending a lot on souvenirs, allow each member of your family to choose one each. Plan to take plenty of pictures during your vacation instead. Pictures are a free souvenir and will keep your memories preserved.
  3. Bring your own water bottle. Most theme parks and public places usually have free water fountain access. You can avoid paying extra money for beverages and stay hydrated by filling up your own water bottle.
  4. Take advantage of reward offers from your credit card, including your OVB Visa Rewards. You can use your Scorecard reward points on many items, even hotels, which can be booked directly from the EZCard site.


Hopefully with a little planning, you will have a magical vacation without the worry of money troubles. Happy summer!

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