Summer has arrived, and our debt counselors know it’s not hard to overspend while having fun in the sun. With the lure of warm weather and sunshine, consumers are planning their summer vacations. According to American Express, the average vacation expense per person in the United States is $1,145, or $4,580 for a family of four. Therefore, learning some tips on how to save on summer expenses will be an important financial lesson.
When the weather grows warmer and people are eager to take a vacation, there is often a greater need for information and tips on how to effectively plan your summer expenses to avoid overspending. While planning your perfect summer vacation, you need to minimize some of the summer expenses in a way that can add up to balance your budget.
How To Save On Summer Expenses: Do’s
- Develop a spending plan: Many people overspend on vacation because they don’t effectively allocate and budget where their money is going to be spent. Decide how much you are going to spend before you leave, and be specific. Include plane tickets, hotel prices, gas, meals, souvenirs, park admissions, etc. If the total amount looks too high, cut back costs until the vacation is within your budget. Developing a spending plan can help you avoid unnecessary consumer debt post summer.
2. Consider off-peak travel: Traveling during the week is significantly cheaper than on the weekends. If you can take off weekdays and travel Monday through Thursday, you’ll beat the crowds and the weekend prices. Visit popular summer destinations in the winter and vice versa to get great deals.
3. Think outside the hotel box: Hotels can be very pricey. For a more affordable stay, look at other accommodations such as home shares, condos, summer cottages, campsites or search on Airbnb.com. Especially if you are traveling with a group, these options can keep costs down and personal credit card debt at bay. If hotels are your only option, check out websites like Hotels.com, Priceline.com, and the app HotelsTonight to score deals.
4. Consider a road trip: Instead of flying and paying for baggage costs, consider driving to your destination. Bring fun trivia and car games to turn what could be a boring car trip into an exciting adventure. You can also pack your own food to avoid restaurants and keep costs down.
5. Travel during restaurant week: It is nice to treat yourself on vacation, but fancy restaurants don’t have to cost a fortune. Consider traveling during restaurant week at your vacation destination and dine at restaurants for a more reasonable price.
How To Save On Summer Expenses: Don’ts
- Get charged credit card fees: If you are traveling internationally, make sure your credit card does not charge fees for foreign transactions. The fees, albeit small, can add up quickly.
2. Eat out every night: Bringing food with you on vacation can save you tons of money. Eating out every night can be expensive—not to mention unhealthy. Pack food that you can cook each night and some snacks to help you stick to your vacation budget.
3. Shop in tourist stores: Souvenirs are great mementos of your vacation, but touristy souvenir shops often overcharge customers. Check out local grocery stores, which have similar stuff, but with a much smaller price tag.
4. Delete email deals: Kayak.com, Living Social, Groupon and many airlines alert you when there are deals on tourist attractions, flights, and restaurants so you can get the most for your money. However, this may be too tempting when trying to stick to a budget. One piece of debt advice is to eliminate the temptation. Even though it’s a good deal, it doesn’t mean it’s the right deal for you.
5. Underestimate the value of free: Do your research ahead of time to see if there are any special offers happening where you are vacationing. Also, free activities a few states away can be a great way to take a road trip and save money.
If you’re struggling to pay off debt, ACCC can help. Schedule a free credit counseling session with ACCC today