In this crazy economic market, sometimes it's tough justifying a family vacation. We've especially noticed the lack of airline deals lately, and the ever-increasing airplane ticket price. A recent Chicago Tribune article reported about a nationwide survey, which found that two-thirds of the respondents had downsized their trips in the past six months due to personal financial concerns. Another survey found that 47% of travelers polled plan to downscale their vacations to save money.
The article recommends the following cost-cutting strategies:
- Visit destinations where the dollar is worth more, such as Eastern Europe, Asia, South American and South Africa. Following our visit to Amsterdam, TD and I can attest that the dollar is NOT faring well in Europe right now.
- Check alternative or regional airports for better prices. This is a great tip, and we are big fans of both Midway (Chicago) and Islip (Long Island, NY) as often cheaper and more convenient airports than their big-time counterparts.
- Drive rather than fly. Check out my previous link for finding cheap gas during your trip.
- Look for family discounts.
- Book a package with most expenses locked in and pre-paid dollars. Look for those that include as many meals as possible. All-inclusives can definitely be a good deal. Even if you are just staying a night or two in a regular hotel, look for one like the Hampton Inn that provides free continental breakfasts - everything adds up.
- Take cruises and other inclusive vacations that include meals and high-quality lodging. Although TD and I have never been on a cruise, we know a number of people who have gone on them with children and had a fabulous time.
- Rent smaller cars with better mileage. Stay away from the Hum-Vs, no matter how tempting.
- Abroad, change money at ATMs rather than in banks or hotels
- In cities, buy a tourist card that includes local transport and entry to many attractions.
- Use public transport rather than taxis whenever possible. Aside from a cost-saving measure, your kids are bound to have fun in trains and metros and experience first-hand the culture of your destination.
Hopefully these tips can help you scale back, but not reduce, the amount of travel you and your families are planning for this summer.