By: Shannon Cornejo
Someone once said, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a cash advance” … but does it have to? According to American Express, nearly 200 million people are planning to travel this summer and expect to spend an average of about $941 per person on travel expenses. If you haven’t considered where this money is coming from, you might find yourself in a sticky situation that could really put a damper on your good time!
As explained in my previous blog post about having a savings plan in place, there are many different ways to plan ahead for unexpected expenses. Vacations are another expense I personally feel are important for a healthy work/life balance, but most families may need to set aside money or get a loan to make them happen. In order to help make your dollar go farther, I have found a few ideas to help you make this summer sizzle—without watching your budget go up in smoke.
Go on a Road Trip
Road trips are a great way to save a buck and take in the sights! Life is about the journey, after all, so why not make the vacation start the minute you pull out of your driveway? If you’re interested in saving a little and can be flexible on the destination, you can use the website www.imoova.com to rent a one-way RV for as low as $1 a day. Some rentals also offer fuel or travel credits! Pack your bags and dust off your old CD collection for a few days of travel and leisure on the open road.
Hit the Beach
Beach vacations are also very popular and can be cost-effective if done right. Try looking for hidden locations that offer what you are looking for ahead of time to get deals on pricing. If you want a family-friendly spot with lots of activities for kids, try Clearwater Beach. It’s a great alternative to the more expensive beaches in South Florida, and it offers many family excursions, like dolphin watching or fishing on the pier. If you prefer something more laid-back, try Siesta Key. Either choice is an excellent option for renting a small condo or home where you can bring your own meals—helping you spend less money on food and more time at the beach working on your tan.
Visit a National Park
If ever there was a year to visit a national park, this is it! Not only is the National Park Service celebrating their centennial this year, but the weekend of August 25th to 28th will also be their birthday weekend, when all national parks that charge an entrance fee will offer free admission to everyone.
If that weekend doesn’t work for your schedule, don’t fret! Certain members of your party may still be able to get a discounted or free pass anyway. Military members are allowed free admission and can bring three additional adults into any park with them at no charge. Seniors also get discounted lifetime passes, and 4th graders are eligible for free access to all federal public lands and waters, thanks to the Every Kid in a Park initiative.
My dad always talks about how much he loves Yosemite National Park. But remember those big-name places will be crowded over the summer. So if you’re looking to avoid the crowds, do your research ahead of time and find a lesser-known, but still memorable, park to visit.
Now that you have a few travel ideas to inspire you, I’ll leave you with just one or two more helpful hints:
So we’ve saved, planned and prepared ourselves to stretch our dollar as far as it can go. At this point, I think Mark Twain said it best when he said, “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”
The content provided in this blog consists of the opinions and ideas of the author alone and should be used for informational purposes only. VyStar Credit Union disclaims any liability for decisions you make based on the information provided.