Go on Vacation Without Going Broke
By Hannah Goodwyn
During these tough economic times, it is hard to imagine planning a summer vacation. Such as it as, travelers can find a few treats – bargain hotel packages and reasonable airline prices. With the gas prices as they are right now, a road trip may be a smart choice as well.
To find the perfect vacay for you and your family, follow these three steps.
#1. Count the Cost
Before you decide where to go, first determine how much you can spend. Come up with a general budget for travel, food, hotel, and miscellanous expenses. And when you're on the trip, do your best to stick to the budget.
Make it a family affair by including your kids in the planning stages. Allow them the opportunity to chip in toward something on the trip, such as an ice cream outing or a couple rounds of putt-putt. They will be proud of their contribution and enjoy it all the more.
#2. Do Your Research
The best way to make sure you’re getting the best deal is to know the ends and outs of your trip. Expedia and Orbitz-like search engines are good starting points, but do not limit yourself to these travel mega-sites. Find the deals there and then expand your research to make sure you are getting the best your money supply can buy.
If you have a particular vacation spot in mind, try searching for location-specific Web sites. For example, go to www.visitflorida.com for ideas about where to find great deals in Florida.
#3. Examine the Travel Options
Once you've done your initial research, it's time to weigh the pros and cons of each option. Never take anything at face value. Find out what other people have said about the hotel, tour, or cruise that caught your eye. Better safe than sorry.
Also, review what the area has to offer. For instance, do an online search for the best local food. Skip the restaurant chains and find out where the locals like to eat.
Vacations that Cost Less
Not sure where to go? Here are a few ideas that will not break the bank.
FOR FAMILIES – Cabin Fever
Rent a no-frills cabin near a national state park or fun amusement park (alphabetical list of parks in the U.S.). You could even look for a small house on one of the countless beaches in America. Get the place to yourself and enjoy swimming, hiking, and barbequing with the kids. Take a look at the beaches and parks in your state to save on travel costs.
FOR COUPLES – Bed and Breakfasts on the Go
Pick a corner of the United States you and your spouse would love exploring together. Take a few days off from work and drive from small towns to big cities staying in romantic Bed and Breakfasts along the way. Waking up in a warm bed with a delicious breakfast waiting for you downstairs will help you both relax.
FOR SINGLES – Road Trip, Anyone?
Pick a trip route, pile your friends into the car, and see a part of the country you’ve always wanted to visit. Although it could be fun to spontaneously stop in random cities, having an idea where some great spots to stay will cut down on your expenses and stress. Going north for the summer to escape the humid weather in the southern states is wise.
No matter what you decide to do – remember to be good stewards of your money. If you can’t swing a trip this time around, plan and save for next year.
Hannah Goodwyn serves as the Entertainment and Family producer for CBN.com. For more articles and info, visit Hannah's bio page.
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