All you need to do is step outside to know summer is here. With summer comes vacation season. If you’re still figuring out how you’re going to travel this summer without breaking the budget may I offer a few suggestions?
First, be flexible. You would be surprised how much you can save if you are flexible on where you are going, when you will get there, and what hotel you will stay at once you arrive. For example, a quick glance on the Southwest Airlines website showed several flights leaving Kansas City for ideal vacation destinations for $69. The trick is you can’t have a location in mind when you’re shopping because odds are that specific location won’t be offered at a deep discount at that time.
And once you get to where you’re going, if you’re not particular, you can use websites such as hotwire.com to get massive discounts on lodging too. The catch is, you don’t know exactly which hotel you are staying at until the purchase is made. You only know the general location and the quality level.
Another great tip for vacationing on the cheap is to let nature be your entertainment. While the idea of camping might not seem like some people’s definition of vacation, it can actually be a comfortable and inexpensive way for a family to get away for less than $50 a night. Many rental services like airbnb.com offer great RVs near some of the most scenic national parks in America.
What makes this type of vacation even easier on the wallet is most things inside these parks are totally free. You don’t even have to travel that far to get to one either, with 60 national parks located in the U.S., there is sure to be one close by. Just go to the National Park Service’s website at www.nps.gov to start your adventure.
If a more traditional vacation is what you’re looking for, there’s ways to save on those too. Consider purchasing a package deal, companies such as Groupon and Costco offer great package deals to some of the most popular vacation destinations in the U.S. at deep discounts. I took the family to Branson this spring for a couple of days. I received a two-night hotel stay, food vouchers, show tickets and water park admissions for four, all for less than $200 through a package deal on Groupon. These deals go fast, and sometimes you have to hunt for them, but by shopping around you can save a ton of money.
Finally, remember that in order to feel like you’ve gotten away you don’t have to actually get away. For a fun week that is cost effective, consider a staycation. Kansas City and its neighboring communities offer many new and exciting attractions that you would enjoy. Don’t believe me? Go to www.visitkc.com and I guarantee you there will be dozens of places they recommend right here in the area that, not only have you never been to, but maybe didn’t even know existed.
Whether you’re young or old, vacations are an important part of life. They provide you with experiences you never forget, bring you closer to family or friends, and rejuvenate the spirit. But, when you take vacations you can’t afford, they can be equally harmful to your financial future. This season, consider one or more of my savings tips and make this summer a great one for both you and your bank account.
– Luke Davis is the director of operations and compliance at Stewardship Capital in Independence. Advice is intended to be general in nature.