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How To Spend Less This Summer Vacation

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Kids dream about this yearly excursion all year long during those long winter months at school, but adults will often dread the thought of vacationing during working hours, especially with skyrocketing travel costs. With gas prices reaching all-time record highs and hotel rates going through the roof, Forbes recently reported that according to American Express, the average cost for a vacation is over $4,500 for a family of four.

OUCH!

Having a fun-filled family vacation shouldn’t have to break the bank, but at the same time, you shouldn’t have to camp out in the backyard as a sad excuse for a real outing. Travelling with a family is not without cost, but there are many ways to turn a budget-busting bon voyage into a cost-saving vacation that still creates some long-lasting memories.

BE PREPARED

Shared with the Boy Scouts motto for over 100 years, younger cub scouts strive to “Do their best,” and as parents, that’s where our loyalty lies. So it only stands to reason that we shouldn’t wait until the last minute to do our planning and “homework” when it comes to vacationing. Almost everyone knows that booking flights early will often provide significant savings and the same applies for other early vacation planning options.

Be on the lookout for special promotions, coupon codes, rebates, anything that will help save an extra buck on expenditures. Timeshares and vacation clubs are out-of-reach for many families,

IN YOUR BACKYARD

Earlier we mentioned the “sad excuse” for a real outing in our own backyard, but consider travelling a shorter distance and still seeing some spectacular sights, explore some new adventures and vacation a little closer to home.

Try Googling “things to do” in “your city” and you might be surprised to see what comes up. Another possible search is for “lesser known vacation spots” in your city or state. Try neighboring municipalities or states for another close-to-home trek. Use well-known sites like Trip Advisor, enter your city or state in the upper search bar followed by “things to do” and check out the results. Not only will you see some possible new locations, you’ll get their reviews as well.

SUPPLY AND DEMAND

Be amused without getting abused! If your kids have their hearts set on going to an expensive amusement park or water attraction this summer, look for off-peak specials and locations that aren’t uber popular, like Disneyland or Six Flags. For example, while Southern California is home to Walt Disney’s classic funland, just a bit further north is Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk. Less crowded, but still full of rides and attractions, it’s also home to one of the most popular wooden roller coasters, seen in popular movies like “Lost Boys” and “Dangerous Minds.”

During some off-peak tourist times, like weekday evenings, these can provide substantial savings. For example, some of the Boardwalk’s recent promotions include “Retro Nights,” Mondays and Tuesdays after 5:00 p.m., the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk offers all their rides, Pepsi ® drinks and cotton candy, all at only a buck a pop. For thrill ride junkies, another Pepsi ® promotion offers unlimited rides at $12.95 (plus tax) on Wednesday and Thursday evenings in exchange for one of their soda cans.

This isn’t a promo for Pepsi ® - but rather an example of many different types of discounts available if we look for them. Since we always ensure that our children do their homework and get to bed on time, we should do the same when it comes to our vacation planning. A little timely, early planning can go a long way no matter how far we travel on our summer vacation destination.

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