In just a couple of weeks, school will be out for the summer and everyone in the family will begin counting down the days until the annual family vacation. Although the economy is still a bit shaky, many families can still afford to take a trip somewhere this year if they know how to budget wisely.
To help you plan the perfect family getaway on a budget, the American Financial Services Association Education Foundation has provided eight tips which we’ve summarized below:
- Set a budget. Don’t rule out shorter trips or consider checking out the tourist spots where you live.
- Research, research, research. Browse the Internet for low-price airfares and lodging accommodations but read the fine print. Also, look for discount codes and ask about special offers when booking.
- Determine a realistic gas allowance if you’re planning a road trip. Gas could exceed $4 per gallon this summer in many areas according to industry experts so plan accordingly.
- Know the line of credit on your credit cards and daily withdrawal amounts allowed for your debit/ATM cards. Also, make sure your ATM card is accepted at your destination without any additional charges.
- Know the refund policies for your airline, hotel, booking site, travel agent, etc. If the airline doesn’t offer a refund policy, you should purchase travel insurance just to be safe.
- If you’re going to go on a road trip, get your car tuned up. Be sure to check the condition of your vehicle’s tires, belts, battery, and spark plugs before setting out on the open road. Maintenance is cheaper than emergency road service and also helps “maximize your gas mileage.”
- Organize your packing. Pack a few days in advance to avoid having to making a purchase at overpriced hotel gift shops for a forgotten item.
- Cut back on activities. You don’t have to visit every tourist attraction while you’re vacationing. Spend more time relaxing but be mindful of how much you’re spending on a daily basis.
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