Life can be stressful. It all seems like work, work, work. Admit it, you need some down time. But in this economy, a family vacation just doesn’t make financial sense. There are bills to pay and mouths to feed. It seems like the harder you try to save a little for a rainy day, the more your cash goes down the drain. But there are ways to make it happen. Here are a few tips that are sure to put a smile on your family’s faces and make you the hero of your little clan.
First of all, most vacations are more “doable” than you might think. Let’s take the typical Disney vacation, for example. If you paid full price for everything, you could expect a Disney vacation for a family of four to cost many thousands of dollars- and that is if you are frugal with souvenirs and amenities. You would probably spend that entire trip trying to figure out how to pay the bills once you got home. And let’s face it, there is always more “stuff” that you want to purchase than what you budgeted. So you would be stressed, over-budget, and feeling anxious as well. Not exactly a great way to get away from it all. Let’s take a look at a few options that may decrease your anxiety and keep your blood pressure from skyrocketing during this vacation.
You have been trying to save, but something always comes up, right? There are school pictures and library fines, or the car needs a tune-up. It never ends. Is there any way to put a little back? What if there was a way for you, your family, and your friends to all pitch in? Check out www.smartypig.com. Instead of a bad necktie or horrible holiday sweater for Christmas, ask your loved ones to put a little cash into the family vacation fund. They will be happy to be giving a gift that really means something, and you will be on your way to paradise! Also, quality time and great family memories often outlive a cheap tie or another pair of socks under tree. We often forget what we got from Aunt Bessie 10 years ago for a birthday or holiday, but those great vacations seem to stick in our hearts and minds for quite a long time.
But don’t stop there! Investing a little time and money into a vacation membership, like AAA, could save you a ton! Many hotels, cruises, restaurants, and attractions can be found for over 50% off of the retail price with your membership. Once you find a list of good hotels in the area, you can also check to see if the hotel offers free meals or tickets to events for choosing to stay with them. Make the companies compete for your business. The more informed you are; the better deal you can get.
There are also many alternatives to hotels that may offer even cheaper accommodations. There are many resources to find timeshares for sale or rent in Orlando that caters to the Disney vacationing crowd. You may be able to find something at just the right price, especially if you chose to travel during the off-season. There will also be fewer crowds and lines if you chose to vacation at an atypical time of year.
Also, sites like mousesavers.com, disneyland.disney.go.com , and Groupon regularly have coupons and special offers on all things Disney. And did you know you can sometimes trade volunteer time for tickets? Several places are offering Disney tickets in exchange for a certain amount of hours of charitable work. Check with the Better Business Bureau before agreeing to the exchange, though, to make sure the company offering the tickets is legitimate.
If so, what better way to teach your family compassion, value, and consideration for others than to volunteer as a family? The kids can help earn their way to a family vacation by helping others. You not only save a few dollars, but you get to have an impact on your community and your kids! Who could say no?
Even if Disney isn’t your cup of tea, these tips and ideas can be put to good use on almost any vacation. It takes a little time and effort, but the peace of mind you will have will make it all worth it. Besides, who wants to come home from a vacation and then spend the next 6 to 12 months figuring out how to pay for it?