No doubt it’s been a tough year, and your vacation budget has seen better days. But, the holidays are meant to be spent with family. So, I talked with Carol White, co-author of the award-winning book “Live Your Road Trip Dream,” the ultimate road trip planning guide for extended road trips, about how to save money for your holiday road trip this year. Carol and her husband, Phil, have traveled over 50,000 road miles in the past several years and they specialize in helping people afford to take the road trips of their dreams. Carol gave me ten tips that can up to big savings over the next few months.
- Go to the Saturday matinee movie instead of Saturday night – bank the savings. Better yet, rent a DVD for home and buy popcorn to pop.
- If you have more than one vehicle, always take the most cost-effective one on the longer distances – save the gas.
- Make your weekend activities “cost free” – check the local paper for ideas or head for a park, the beach, the mountains, a river or take a family bike ride. Save what you would have spent for the big vacation.
- Turn in the change! Have everyone in the family empty their pockets every night into the jar – and no sneaking money out.
- Get the kids into the act. Have them donate a percentage of their jobs and/or allowance to the vacation kitty. They will appreciate it more.
- Consider taking a camping or RVing trip rather than flying everyone somewhere. It is guaranteed to be more fun and less expensive – according to www.GoRving.com, it’s up to 70% less to rent an RV than flying and staying in a hotel.
- Pick one activity that you hire outside help for (house cleaning, yard work, window washing, car washing, etc.) and have everyone pitch in and do it yourself a time or two.
- Share a house or condo with family friends at a resort area – the kids will think it is great fun, you’ll save money, and they will have someone to play with – less fighting!
- Buy fewer expensive prepared foods and take out – have everyone help prepare dinner using fresh in-season foods. It will be easier on the wallet and better for you. Grilled meat, a salad, BBQ veggies and fresh crunchy bread – easy and less than 30 minutes to prepare.
- Forego the Starbucks or McDonalds coffees/drinks for a day or two a week – add the savings to the jar.
Our family is going to travel to a more central location this year, where we can all drive easily, and rent a home together. It won’t be the same as all meeting at my mom’s house, but it’s cheaper and we’ll all be together, plus we will get to explore a new area together. You could also trade your home for another in a location you’ve always wanted to visit, and save the hotel costs. With a little sacrifice now, you can still spend quality family time this holiday season.
Any tips on how to reduce the cost of your holiday trip?