Family’s  road trip

5 Simple Ways to Save on Your Summer Vacation

It’s summertime! Have you planned your getaway yet? Summer is a time of rest, relaxation…and spending. While there’s nothing wrong with going on a family vacation, the last thing you want is for it to set you back financially the rest of the year. If you’re able to save money on travelling, you’ll have more money to put towards your child’s RESP (I can’t think of a better investment). Here are five simple ways to save on your summer vacation.

Shop Around and Save
Don’t wait until the last minute to book your summer getaway. Plan ahead . Take the time to shop around and save. With travel websites like Expedia and PC Travel, you can comparison shop to find the lowest rate on your travel destination. Shop early and if possible, try to travel during off-peak times. For example, instead of travelling during spring break, try to travel a week or two earlier or later. You can still enjoy the same trip, but at a lower cost.

Attraction Passes
If you’re planning to see the sights, instead of paying for individual attractions, get an attraction pass and save. When I was recently in Ottawa, I bought an attraction pass to see all the museums at a discount. You might also consider going sightseeing on a bus tour; it’s a great way to see the city without paying an arm and a leg for parking.

Save on Lodging
You’ll need to stay somewhere on your trip. Where you choose to stay can make or break your travel budget. On my trip to San Diego last year for a financial conference, my hotel ended up costing more than the flight (thankfully my employer covered it).
If you’re not so lucky, there are still ways to save on lodging. If you’re travelling alone, you might consider staying at a hostel. It’s a great way to save money and meet new, interesting people, especially when you’re travelling alone (just plan ahead and read the reviews to make sure you’re staying somewhere nice). If you’re not too keen on hostels, you might consider joining the sharing economy and staying at short-term rentals, such as Airbnb. If you decide to go this route, make sure you plan ahead by looking for the best rates in prime locations. If you’re travelling outside the city, instead of staying at a hotel in a small town, why not go camping? You’ll get to sleep under the stars and save money, too (weather permitting of course).

Saving on Food
Besides flights and hotels, food is the third most costly expense when travelling for most people. If you dine out for every single meal, it can quickly add up, especially if you’re travelling with your partner and kids. To save on costly eating out, share plates and use Yelp to find restaurants with good ratings and reasonable prices. Typically, dishes are less expensive at lunchtime than at dinnertime. Food markets are great places to pick up prepared food or sandwich ingredients for a picnic in the park or at the beach. Cold cereal is a simple breakfast that’s easy to prepare and eat in a hotel room. Or choose a hotel with a complimentary continental breakfast.

Tack on Vacation to Business Trips
If you’re travelling on business to an interesting destination, why not bring your family along with you? You may be able to get a hotel discount from your employer (or they might even be nice enough to cover a bigger hotel room free of charge). If your business trip only lasts a couple days, why not stay an extra two to three days and see the sights with your family?

Wishing everyone a safe and happy summer!