Over the last several years, families have increasingly focused on stretching every dollar they have. Rising fuel costs and an economy that is still struggling have inspired many families to permanently adopt a thriftier lifestyle.
While it's good to be financially prudent, families don't have to give up luxuries like summer vacations. Instead, parents can employ a few simple saving strategies that can reduce the cost but not the quality of a summer vacation with the family.
* Find accommodations that provide a kitchen. A significant portion of a family's summer vacation budget goes toward food. Families will need to eat no matter where they go, but cost-conscious parents should find accommodations that include a private kitchen. You won't need to eat in every night, but cooking two or three times over the course of a week-long vacation can save a substantial amount of money. If you can't find a room with its own kitchen, try to find one with its own refrigerator and microwave.
* Stay local. Staying close to home for summer vacation can save families a good deal of money. Rising fuel costs have made both driving and air travel more expensive. Finding affordable flights has become increasingly difficult, especially for families who don't have the luxury of planning their summer vacation several months in advance. Staying local for summer vacation reduces the need for costly hotel accommodations and saves money on fuel.
* Visit a major city or tourist area. For families who simply must get away, keep in mind that the further you go off the beaten path the more costly it will be to get there. For example, a remote locale is likely nowhere near a major airport, and it can be expensive to get from the airport to the resort. In addition, it's harder to find affordable flights to remote locales, as there are typically less flights available to such destinations, than flights to major cities or more popular tourist destinations. So while vacationing in the middle of nowhere has its benefits, cost-conscious families might be better off choosing a destination that's much more accessible and affordable.
Taking a summer vacation is a tradition for many families. This summer, families focused on saving money can do so in a number of affordable ways.