According to the weather report, the eastern half of the United States just broke away from the land mass and moved to the Bahamas. Film at 11:00. Who could blame it if it did? February is the month in which, at best, we’re tired of being cold and wet. At worst, we’re looking across the room at our spouse, ready to take his/her blanket if they move… just… a… little. Today, Gildshire has a better idea. Let’s plan a trip for spring break.
“I would love to, but I can’t afford to sell my other kidney.”
Gildshire would never make you do such a thing. In fact, we’re going to help plan a vacation that is fun, but not expensive. Today, in Part One, we’re going to help with the inexpensive part. Tomorrow, in Part Two, we’ll talk about where to go, what to do when we get there, and where to stay that will make you feel like royalty, but pay like peasantry.
No one enjoys a trip that puts the family underwater when it comes to everyday expenses. The one eternal truism about vacations is that they end, and real-life comes barging in the front door. A free budget template can make things easier if you’re able to plan your trip well in advance. However, we also came up with these ideas for saving money on a great spring break vacation.
Let’s plan! By the end of our two-part series, you will be ready to pack!
Utilize Available Public Transit:
The cost of renting a car can quickly become prohibitive. Sure, the ad said $21.00 a day. Not bad, right? But, people love to vote “Yes” on rental car taxes. “Heck with those tourist-y types, because they don’t live here!” Your $20/day rental car is going to be more than half again the advertised price when taxes and fees are included.
Vacation city public transportation is both inexpensive and fun adventure. Tourist-friendly cities offer various-term transit passes. San Diego has a four-day $15 pass on their trolley with unlimited rides pre-loaded. Boston has a $21.25 weekly pass that is good on both the bus system or their (really cool) clean, safe subway. Vacation in San Francisco or Seattle and take ferries from place to place.
Take Midweek Trips If Possible:
Let’s be clear about travel days. Don’t fly on Friday or Sunday. On Friday the vacationers are leaving, and the salespeople are coming home. On Sunday, well you get the picture.
Investigate Vacation Rentals:
Vacation rental properties can save a few bucks and provide a surprising amount of fun. For the price of a nice hotel, you may be able to rent a house…with a pool! For destinations in North America, Airbnb offers a vast selection of rooms, apartments, and full-on homes, often at surprisingly low prices.
Control Your Food Costs:
When you don’t have access to your own home’s refrigerator, food costs can quickly get out of control.
“This one is inescapable. We have to eat!”
Of course, you do, but we’ve found tons of ways to save money on food during our travels. When booking a hotel, find a room with a microwave and a mini-refrigerator, even for a few bucks more a night. Take a half hour the day you arrive to shop for sandwich supplies, and cheap, healthy snack items.
Of course, you want to sample the local wares (and no, the Safeway produce department isn’t what we have in mind.) We’re thinking about something a lot more fun!
The food truck movement blew up in the last few years, and it shows no sign of slowing. You can eat at different food trucks every day of your vacation in urban areas from San Francisco to Washington D.C, and in every state between. Food trucks will save you money, and expose your family to local cuisines. Oh, the stories we could tell about the tacos we have had…
Those are the price cut ideas, but tomorrow we come to the meat of the matter. We can’t wait to get into ideas for a fun spring break vacation, but without excessive cost.