Vacation saving tips for low income families.
Vacations can be expensive. Many people simply cannot afford to take time off of work or pay for travel/hotel/transportation expenses. This is even more true for low to moderate income families that need to closely follow a budget. If you do find yourself in a financial position where you can take a vacation, here are some money saving tips. No matter what, it is always a great idea to try and do it.
When you take a vacation, it comes with many benefits. Not only does time off help you physically rebalance, it also helps you mentally recharge for the future. It makes employees more productive at work, allows children and parents to recharge for work or school and there are many other benefits.
In addition, quality time with loved ones (or even by yourself) is priceless for memories and pleasure. It can help a family rebuild bonds or give you “peace and solitude” (which has countless benefits too) if by yourself. If you can afford to take a vacation, here are some thoughts on how to save money:
How to save money and afford a vacation
Consider staying at a hotel that offers loyalty rewards points. Or another tip is to just go ahead and register to join a loyalty program before booking the trip. These programs reward customers with perks like free Internet, beverages or discounts on local activities and restaurants. Or you can build up your points over time to use to pay for a hotel room in the future.
Look for hotels that offer free breakfasts or maybe appetizers at dinner. Even cutting out one meal per day on a trip can add up to saving hundreds of dollars over the course of the trip. If you skip that meal, your restaurant bill savings will surely add up. Many hotels offer free breakfasts, with continental ones becoming more common in recent times.
Also, to save money on food, pack a lunch or water bottle. It can reduce the temptation to buy expensive snacks or meals while wondering about. Also pack enough food for the entire family, including hungry kids! If the hotel has a fridge, keep the water/food in their as well. Or stop by a local grocery store to obtain some food while on vacation as this is much more affordable.
Take advantage of any on-site amenities at hotels like pools, miniature golf courses, arcades or other family friendly features to save a lot of money. On-site amenities like pools can provide hours of entertainment and decrease the amount of money spent on traveling to local sites even if it’s just for an afternoon or evening. The point is to relax and spend quality time with your loved ones.
Take a vacation off season. While this can be difficult if your kids are in school, we have found that people can save up to 30% on their trip by taking it off season. Do not travel during the main holidays such as 4th of July or Memorial day or around the holdays. Other pricey dates can be Labor Day, Easter, and some of the nation’s major holidays. Go more "off-times" during a season. It is a small tip, but maybe the most beneficial one to a moderate income household.
Contact local tourism boards and ask for coupons/brochures to area attractions. This is one of our best suggestions to save. They are often available for free online. Coupons are usually available for local restaurants, theme parks, mini golf and other family friendly activities. A family on a limited budget, or low income, can really save money by doing this.
Compare prices. There are countless services and websites that will find the lowest price for you, whether for airfare, hotels, car rentals, or really anything. Examples of sites include Kayak.com, Expedia.com, momondo.com, trivago.com and others.
Book vacations using cash back rebate sites. Or use a cash back credit card or some other form of payments that gives you free points. If you are going to spend money, do it in a fashion in which you can gain some benefits such as reward points, rebates or cash back from a website, and other assistance. Every single dollar “earned” this way will help to go offset the price of the vacation. Read more on paying for items with cash back websites.
Go to a free attraction, like the beach! They cover almost the entire coast in some places, like South Carolina and Mt. Pleasant. But there are many other free amenities to try for free. They include many zoos, scenic drives, small local parks or gardens, museums (as many even like in NYC have fees but they are "requested" donations), large parks, and many more.
Go for a scenic walk, and stop and “smell the roses”. Take advantage of the “beauty” of nature, which is free to do and really anyone can do this almost anywhere (maybe except some of the major concrete cities which often lack the beauty of nature).
Or get the information from a free phone application. There are many to use. You can find out where to go while on your vacation, locate a few nearby events, or maybe some apps even give coupons for the area you will be in. Some of the apple and Android apps to try include bestparking, roaminghunger, viator, and field trip among many others.
Consider joining airline and car rental loyalty rewards programs which are free to apply for. They may also offer cash back benefits too. When doing this, ask for other benefits. Many of these programs may end up leading to upgrades, steep discounts for a lower income family and other services.
Many cities, including major ones, have numerous (even dozens or hundreds) of more “major” activities you can do for free while on vacation. There are things for adults and/or children to do, or activities for the entire family to participate in. We have listed on our site some major cities, including:
Almost any family, even a lower income one, can afford to take some type of small trip or vacation if they plan in advance, or at least a quick get-away. Even if you are struggling, it is healthy to recharge from time to time. Just stick to a budget, plan way ahead for the trip, and save money well in advance to pay for the costs involved for a vacation. All of these tips will add up over time and save you money during the vacation season.