All work and no play makes Jack or Jackie a dull boy or girl. Given the fact that our greatest asset is ourselves, we should constantly “sharpen the saw” in order to continue to be effective. One of the ways we can do this is by taking a vacation. However, if not planned well, vacations can turn out to be expensive and instead of giving you the rest you need, they create stress.
I will not claim mastery in this subject but I know two friends who do. I consulted them for tips we can use to kill two birds with one stone that is have fun and create memories without basting the budget. Below I share the tips they generously shared.
Plan, Plan & Plan
Both my friends had this as their first tip and I could not agree more. Not only does planning in advance save you money it also saves your sanity. One friend said she bases their vacations on the school programme. So come September after she is aware of what the school year is going to be like; she pens down the days they will be travelling. Starting in advance enables her to look out for where the deals will be. Also, it allows ample time to begin putting aside money to ensure that the vacation actually happens.
Another friend said she goes ahead and plans what meals they will have on vacation. She said she uses this site to find deals in restaurants. Nothing can dent a budget like meals. When you take time to check out what restaurants have to offer and how much it costs it allows you to stay within your lane when you eventually go to have your meals. Another tip I can share on meals is take advantage of the buffet breakfast that is offered. Eat as much as you can and ask if you can carry your fruit or yogurt to eat later. This allows you to have a light lunch so that you can splurge on a good dinner.
You could also go ahead and plan out the activities you will do while on holiday. Some tourist sites give discounts if you purchase tickets in advance. A good example is Disney Land. They have their years schedule online and you are able to know in advance which activities will be available. The same can be said of zoos and other places.
As you plan your activities, ensure that everyone in the family is involved in this process. This ensures that there is buy in and everyone will enjoy the activities to avoid last minute swaps because some people do not like what was chosen. Vary the activities for example one day you could have water sports and another day for shopping and another to visit the parks or museums.
Choose Your Destination Wisely
We all know that in order to access some countries, you need a visa. Frankly speaking some of these visa requirements can take up a huge chunk of your budget. My friend said she has discovered that the Far East has countries that allow you to visit for a certain period of time without a visa. You can do a quick google search to see which countries allow you to visit without a visa.
When it comes to vacations, remember what you are looking for is a place to relax and have a break but also make memories that the family can cherish. This should be your guiding factor so that you are able to keep within your budget. Also, consider taking a vacation in a nearby location you can drive to. The experience of just being out of your home can create the memories you crave and give you rest.
My friend also suggested trying out cruises, they tend to be budget friendly especially if you plan ahead (about 4 months ahead). The advantage with cruises is they allow you to visit a number of countries within a short span of time.
Choose One Airline For Most of Your Travel
Today with websites like sky scanner, you are able to find deals on tickets and other things like car hire. One of my friends however suggested that for her sticking to one airline for most of their travel has ensured that they save big time. They are able to accumulate miles as a family which in the long run enables them to get discounts on tickets, access lounges in airports and sometimes get upgrades. In addition, some airlines are able to notify you if they have some deals for particular locations.
Choose Your Accommodation Wisely
Depending on where you go, I would say after travel expenses the next big expense is accommodation. My friends had two very good tips on this. One said, they find that hotel apartments work out better and cheaper than hotel rooms. You tend to have more space which allows you to have some down time. This means you can engage in indoor activities like playing board games but also spend time bonding or even watching a free movie. Apartments also allow you to prepare a meal in the room and this saves you some money you would have spent in restaurants.
The next tip on accommodation was choose destinations where you have family and friends so you can stay with them. However, in such cases keep your stay short and also ensure that you are a good guest. Remember when time comes return the favour and host some people as well.
I also have a tip on accommodation, choose places that offer free transport to certain sites. Especially if you visit places like Disney World, staying inside the park can be costly. However, nearby hotels tend to not only be cheaper but also offer free transport to the park. When we visited Disney Land in Paris, we stayed at this hotel not only did we save on accommodation but transport as well.
Commit Everything To God
This last tip should be what you do first. We Know that “many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the LORD’S purposes that prevails”. You could be the best planner but if you do not seek for God’s blessing your efforts will be in vain. The worst thing that can happen is having people get sick while on holiday. (we always make sure we have a first aid kit with us).
Pray for good health, good weather etc. I recall when we did our Disney trip to Paris it was in April, which was spring time which means rain. I prayed that God would give us summer weather for that one week and God faithfully did so. Pray for God to provide finances and protection. It is easy to budget and save only for a major catastrophe to happen which takes away the vacation funds.
So there you have it friends, 5 tips to help you have a vacation on a budget. I am curious what are some of the tips you use to stay within budget while on vacation. Please share in the comments section.