How fam­i­lies can cut va­ca­tion costs

The Drumheller Mail - - CLASSIFIEDS -

Fam­ily va­ca­tions are the one time each year when all mem­bers of the fam­ily get to leave the daily grind be­hind to en­joy a lit­tle R&R to­gether. Such ex­cur­sions of­ten strengthen fam­ily bonds and help to cre­ate last­ing mem­o­ries that par­ents and kids will cher­ish for years to come.

Fam­i­lies plan­ning this sum­mer’s an­nual get­away may al­ready know that the cost of travel is on the rise. While there are al­ways deals to be had, bud­get-con­scious par­ents may still find them­selves look­ing for ways to cut their travel costs so more of their money can be spent on hav­ing fun in­stead of fi­nanc­ing trips. The fol­low­ing are a hand­ful of ways par­ents can trim their fam­i­lies’ travel costs with­out sac­ri­fic­ing the qual­ity of their va- cations. • Stay closer to home. It may sound sim­ple, but va­ca­tion­ing closer to home is per­haps the best way for fam­i­lies to save a sub­stan­tial amount of money on their va­ca­tions. Air­line tick­ets can take up a siz­able por­tion of a fam­ily va­ca­tion bud­get, and once the plane touches down fam­i­lies may need to add the ad­di­tional ex­pense of rental cars so they can get around their des­ti­na­tion and en­joy all its sights and sounds. But fam­i­lies who choose to va­ca­tion closer to home can take their own ve­hi­cles, pay­ing only for gas in­stead of air­line tick­ets, car rentals (in­clud­ing rental in­sur­ance) and gas. Find a lo­ca­tion close to home that still of­fers ev­ery­one an es­cape, but one that’s not far enough away that car travel will prove bur­den­some and ex­haust­ing. • Plan to make some of your own meals. Din­ing out is an­other con­sid­er­able ex­pense for fam­i­lies on va­ca­tion. De­pend­ing on the size of their fam­i­lies, par­ents may find that their din­ing bud­gets will ap­proach or even ex­ceed the cost of air travel by the end of a sin­gle week. But par­ents can dras­ti­cally re­duce those costs by plan­ning to make some of their own meals while away on va­ca­tion. Bring along a cou­ple of ce­real boxes so break­fast is sim­ple and in­ex­pen­sive, and try to book ac­com­mo­da­tions equipped with kitchens or out­door ar­eas where the fam­ily can fire up a grill a few times dur­ing the week to save on costly din­ner tabs. • Travel light. Fam­i­lies who must travel by air can trim some of the cost of fly­ing by trav­el­ling light. Many air­lines now charge fees for bags that ex­ceed pre-es­tab­lished weight lim­its and may charge for ad­di­tional bag­gage as well. Leave hefty jack­ets and ex­tra footwear be­hind when trav­el­ling dur­ing the warmer months, as ev­ery­one can likely get by with just some lighter sum­mer at­tire and less for­mal footwear. If trav­el­ling to a ski re­sort in the win­ter, con­sider rent­ing bulky ski­ing at­tire, in­clud­ing boots, so bag­gage lim­its are not ex­ceeded. • Work with a travel agency that spe­cial­izes in your lo­cale. Many fam­i­lies may feel they can now plan their own va­ca­tions and save money, but plan­ning through a travel agency may still be a fam­ily’s best bet. When book­ing trips via a travel agency, fam­i­lies can of­ten ne­go­ti­ate with a rep­re­sen­ta­tive, who can work to tailor a va­ca­tion that fits fam­i­lies’ bud­gets. Such ne­go­ti­a­tion is much more dif­fi­cult when go­ing it alone or work­ing through a travel web­site. In ad­di­tion, many travel agen­cies in­clude tours and other at­trac­tions in the price of their pack­ages, and that can be a great way to earn dis­counts to lo­cal sights and ac­tiv­i­ties.

Travel is ex­pen­sive, es­pe­cially for par­ents trav­el­ling with kids in tow. But cost-con­scious moms and dads can still plan relaxing and en­joy­able va­ca­tions with­out break­ing the bank.

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