Sorry for not posting since Thursday. I've been at the....
This prompted me to write about how to save/plan for a vacation. If you are wanting to take a vacation or even long weekend get-a-way you will need to factor in the following:
Gas (this is a big expense with our current gas prices)
Decide what you want to do once you get there and plan your lodging accordingly. It doesn't make any sense to stay at a hotel that is not anywhere near the activities you are wanting to do and see.
Don't forget to include the snacks while traveling...better yet, pack your own and save. Gas station snacks are overpriced!
Try to book a hotel that offers a FREE breakfast. Most of them do now and some even offer a pretty decent variety.
Be sure to research where you want to stay first. If you are not particular, there are websites that you can just enter what you want to spend and it will choose the hotel for you. That sort of scares me. However, I know several people that have done it and it worked out beautifully for them. Just be sure to not skimp on the star system. I would advice to never go below a 3 star. If you are traveling internationally, I would advise AGAINST this! I have read where someone did this and ended up in a terrible place in another country. Not wise!
Also, when looking for a deal on the sites be sure to compare them to the actual website of the place you want to stay. Sometimes they are even cheaper! Another thing I do is call the hotel and ask what their best rate is or if they are offering any discounts not listed on the website. Several times I've gotten a discount just by calling and checking on things!
We rented a beach house for this vacation. It was really nice to have a full kitchen and a big house to move around in. Typically, beach houses are more than a hotel would cost. However, be sure to factor in the savings of being able to cook full meals (the entire time if you wanted).
Things to do in the area
Always research things to do in the area. Normally, you can find coupons on-line to take with you. Once you are there, ask the hotel if they know how to get discounts to local attractions. They may even have a special discounted rate with a place you are wanting to go!
Most importantly, have fun! So many of you that I've spoken with are so afraid to take a vacation because you don't know what it will cost. The beauty of planning ahead and setting a budget is that you are in control of how much you spend. A plan is a beautiful thing.
My favorite memories are family vacations. It was quality time away and that was what mattered. It isn't how much you spend that counts, it is that precious time that we all crave. Unplug, unwind and go have fun!