Summer is here, and for many, that means it is time to pack your bags and head out on your family vacation. However, affording a vacation isn’t always easy, especially if you have a large family. For your next vacation with the kids, here are several (painless) ways that you can save a significant amount of money.
1. Rack up the Travel Miles/Vacation Perks:
Get two or three low rate credit cards that offer travel benefits. You may get airline miles, hotel discounts, car rental discounts, lower travel insurance rates and discounts at theaters, amusement parks and museums. Use your credit cards for an entire year before your planned vacation to make all of your purchases. Be disciplined! A credit card is not play money, and you are going to have to pay it off. So don’t overbuy. Pay your credit cards off every month before you get your bill to avoid paying interest.
2. Save, Save, Save:
Open a vacation savings account. Appoint a certain amount of your entertainment budget for your upcoming vacation, and try to avoid shopping sprees that could prevent you from saving as much as possible. If you do this for 12 consecutive months, you will accumulate a tidy sum. Don’t touch the money in your savings account. Use your credit cards to pay for everything on your vacation. It is safer this way.
If you lose cash, you are out of luck, and not every establishment takes Travelers’ Cheques. If you lose your debit card, it is up to your individual bank how much they are going to reimburse you for. If you use a credit card, you cannot be held responsible for charges you didn’t incur. After you get home from your vacation, immediately pay off your credit cards from your vacation savings.
3. Use Your Smart Phone:
Invest in personal finance apps for your smart phone. Keep track of your budget prior to and during your vacation. This is an easy way to keep on top of your finances. Personal finance apps are very handy for keeping track of your cash inflow and your payment outgo.
4. Advance Planning:
Plan your vacation ahead of time and use all the discounts that your low rate credit cards have to offer on hotels, car rentals, amusement parks, museums and dining. If you are going to stay at one location for the whole vacation, you might want to consider renting a house and eating some meals at home. Or, you could apply your credit card perks to a packaged deal at a hotel that includes meals.
After saving ahead of time and using credit card discounts, you will probably plan your vacation this way every year.
What are your family travel savings tips?