Summer Vacation Tips

The following is a post from staff writer Crystal at Budgeting in the Fun Stuff, where she writes about finding the balance between paying your bills, saving for your future, and budgeting in the fun stuff along the way.

If you are like me and want to get the most out of your summer vacation, make sure that you plan for it accordingly. A little advance planning can help you save some money and have a great time. Here are a few things to remember when taking your summer vacation.

Summer Vacation Tip #1 – Coupons

Coupons are a great way to save during vacations. You can use coupons to save money on hotel stays, airline travel, meals, car rentals, entertainment, and food. You can check coupon guides like the Entertainment Book for specific destinations to see which discounts you can use that will save you some cash. Remember to only purchase the coupon books if you can save more than the book would cost.

Also, search online for coupons or coupon codes before buying tickets to an event. I personally found half price tickets to one of the shows we are seeing in Vegas by simply typing in the name of the show and the words coupon code and hitting search. That 30 second search saved us about $75!

Summer Vacation Tip #2 – Traveler’s Checks

Traveler’s checks are a good thing to take with you in case you lose your cash, wallet, or purse. You want to make sure that you have some emergency money to use for a stay at a hotel or a return trip back home. Unlike cash, traveler’s checks are easy to replace so you can have access to money quickly. Just remember to keep the necessary information from the traveler’s checks in a separate location from the checks themselves. This may help you avoid being stuck waiting as long for banks to replace your lost funds and credit cards.

Summer Vacation Tip #3 – Budget

A summer vacation is a time to have fun as a family and enjoy the fruits of your labor. It is not a time to blow the entire family budget for the year in exchange for a week of fun. I’d suggest choosing a maximum dollar amount for vacations each year and putting enough money aside every month to fund that goal. Remember to include hotels, transportation, meals, souvenirs, and entertainment in your budget.

My husband and I shoot for at least $2400 a year in vacation travel since we take one big vacation and a couple of smaller ones throughout the year. I make sure to fund our vacation account with that $200 every month.

Summer Vacation Tip #4 – Pack Lightly

It is more important that you avoid the problem of over packing. Packing too many items will cost you cold hard cash. Taking too many bags on an airplane will result in higher baggage fees and more luggage in a car or SUV costs more in gas. Try only taking items and clothing that you absolutely need. If you accidentally forget something, you can usually buy it at your destination instead.

When my husband and I pack for a trip that requires plane travel, we each pack one carry-on. Yep, even I can live for a week out of a tiny rolling bag. It makes everything easier as well since you have less to keep track of and don’t have to wait in baggage claim.

I hope these tips help make your vacation even better!

Where are you going this summer? Did I leave out any good tips?

4 Responses to Summer Vacation Tips

  1. Ginger says:

    You can also use reward points to pay for hotel rooms or flights, if you have earned them through work.

  2. Good tips.

    For tip #1, I totally agree with the concept of actively discounts, whether in coupon form or not. One can get good hotel deals by using certain sites (Priceline, Hotwire come to mind). Even rental cars can be obtained cheaply.

    As for coupons, just go online and look, and you might find some. It’s worth a few minutues of checking (as long as you aren’t obssessive, and the ROI of the process goes down). In Vegas, for example, you don’t really need to pay full price for many shows or some activities. Just look for deals and you can find some.

    With regard to tip #4, I totally agree. First off, it’s often a pain to lug around a heavy bag or multiple bags. Plus, these days you might have to pay to have them accompany you on a flight. Think about the round trip cost! Pack light, plan it, and bring what you need – not excess stuff!

    I once got around a check-in fee indadvertently, when I tried to carry on a bag that was apparently way too big to be considered a carry-on. Had I checked it when getting my boarding pass, I would have paid a fee. However, when I tried to carry it on, after already getting my boarding pass and proceeding to the gate, they stopped and told me it would have to be checked. Since they told me past the point of check-in, there was no fee. Problem solved! Wasn’t my original intent at all, but interesting loophole nonetheless.

    • @Squirrelers, your story reminded me of the time that a bag handler caught me at the gate and asked me to check in my carry-on since it was “too-big”. I really hate waiting at baggage pick-up, so I planted my feet and explained that it fit just fine on the way in and I had checked it with all of those little metal boxes they provide to ensure your bag isn’t too big. He shook his head and actually followed me onto the plane to watch me put it (easily) into the overhead bin! Creepy…

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