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  • Top Saving Tip$ for Your Next Trip

    Top Saving Tip$ for Your Next Trip

    Sandra Sherk

    You and your family are ready for a holiday and you think you need cheap vacation ideas. First, change your thinking – try “inexpensive” vacation ideas. Sounds better already. 

    Not everyone can afford to go to Disney World or Mexico—and that’s okay. It doesn’t mean you can’t have a great family vacation. Here are eight tips to plan ahead and save on vacations:

    1. Set a Budget. You need to establish a budget so you know what you can afford to spend on your next vacation, then see where these dollars can take you.

    2. Involve the family. Let them know what the vacation budget is and then brainstorm possible ideas.  With brainstorming there are no bad suggestions, but if everyone is way off base with price you may need to “manage expectations” and clarify the idea of vacationing on a budget.

    3. Staycation anyone? Consider a staycation. Enjoy the house, the backyard.  Make use of the community pool or the local beach. Have friends over for a potluck barbecue. Sleep in, read books, enjoy the sunshine.  It’s important to plan ahead so you can all relax during this time off. Extra tip: Clean the house and buy groceries before you start your staycation.

    4. Comparison shop.  A vacation on a budget doesn’t have to mean going nowhere.  Your low cost holiday may not allow for a week in a hotel, but you might be able to afford two nights away.  You can explore a lot of sights with just two nights in a different city, like Ottawa or Montreal. And by checking sites such as Trivago, you can compare hotel prices. If you have a car consider hotels away from the city centre—they may be less expensive. And try to get a room with a fridge and microwave, so you can bring your own food and drinks and not be forced to eat out for all three meals a day.

    5. Be a tourist in your own backyard. If you’re considering a staycation join the other tourists and discover new attractions in your city. Most major cities often have City Passes or Passports. For example, Toronto has a CityPASS you can purchase that includes five local attractions, as well as a hop on a double-decker bus tour. The pass is good for a few days too. Vancouver has a City Passport that includes great savings for a family. I did the Toronto CityPASS with a friend from England. It was actually my friend who found the pass when she was looking for things to do in Toronto.  I have lived near Toronto for years and had never done a city bus tour! Don’t knock it ‘til you try it.

    6. Pack a picnic. If you’re taking day trips, pack a picnic and find a scenic spot along the way to enjoy the view. The British do this all the time.

    7. Consider the great outdoors. Budget-friendly family vacations on a budget could include camping. Look up provincial and national parks and see what’s close by. Parks Canada is offering a free pass to all national parks this year in celebration of Canada’s 150th year. Some places offer cabins, as well as campsites. If you don’t have a tent you might be able to borrow one from a friend or family.  Or depending on how often you’ll use it, it might be worth investing in one. Just make sure it’s big enough so everyone can be comfortable, in case you have to sit out a rainfall.  You’ll also likely need a propane stove and tanks, sleeping bags and folding chairs.  If you don’t already have these items add them to your vacation budget. The food budget should include items that can be cooked over a campfire or on a propane stove.  And don’t forget the chocolate, marshmallows and graham crackers for s’mores!

    8. Do your homework. Travelling on a budget can still mean an out-of-country trip, you just might have to go off season, such as going to Mexico in July instead of March. Make sure you do your homework by checking reputable sites, and plan ahead so you have the funds you’ll need when it comes time to pay.  Also, remind everyone what the family budget can afford, so there are no temper tantrums when you tell your son he can’t go horseback riding on the beach, hypothetically speaking of course.

    Travel means going somewhere and exploring what it has to offer.  Do not be fooled! You can definitely travel on a budget and enjoy the experience, and sometimes more so than others with much larger budgets.

    Learn more about how to plan a vacation on a budget:

    Learn how to save for vacation:

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    Topics: Vacations

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