Wednesday, April 6, 2011
With warmer months right around the corner, adults everywhere are beginning to think about that much-anticipated summer vacation. From sunny beaches to clear pools and tourist hot-spots, these vacations offer singles and families everywhere the chance to enjoy days full of activities, dining and shopping – not to mention the oft-coveted rest and relaxation. By the end of our vacations, the only thing not feeling so refreshed might just be our wallets. We all know how it goes – we get caught up in the excitement of a getaway trip, and by the end of it, we wonder how we could have spent so much money. Well, fear no more. Vacations are meant for enjoying, and thankfully, there are five easy ways you can save money and still enjoy that much-needed break.
1. Hunt for coupons.The Internet offers an abundant supply of coupons for restaurants, attractions, destinations and hotels and capitalizing on these resources is as simple as setting aside a couple of hours to do some good, old-fashioned digging. Pick a few of the places where you plan to visit or stay and then search for coupons that might offer a discount on meals or other activities. Using even a few of these coupons can help you save over a hundred dollars throughout the duration of your trip.
2. Do a little grocery shopping!I know what you’re thinking: grocery shopping on vacation seems completely counterproductive for some solid R&R. Thankfully, the grocery shopping I’m referring to is quick and easy. Simply stop by a local grocer once you arrive at your destination and pick up some simple lunch food such as items for sandwiches. Together, these items might cost you $30 and last you a week. When compared to a week’s worth of eating lunch out on the town, you’ll quickly see how that adds up to quite a savings! You can even take this tip a bit further by opting to cook dinner at your place one night. Beach-front properties or cozy cottages offer great atmospheres for a relaxing night inside.
3. Spend a day just relaxing.Sometimes we get so caught up planning days packed full of activities that by the time the vacation’s over, we’re exhausted! Vacations are meant for catching up on rest, so make sure you schedule at least one relaxing day in your trip. Nearly every city offers various activities that you can participate in for literally nothing – if not for free. These might include nearby parks, scenic overlooks, hiking trails and beaches. While these activities offer some budget-friendly fun, they also provide you the opportunity to really enjoy the place you’re visiting. You’ll create memories and re-charge your batteries all for pennies on the dollar – simple as that.
4. Ask the locals.For those fun-filled nights out on the town, it’s often a tendency of ours to find the place where all the tourists are going. But, sometimes these tourist hot-spots, whether they be restaurants or attractions, are not as great as one might hope; and, they certainly aren’t as cheap. Before deciding on a restaurant or attraction, take some time and ask the locals. Many times, the city’s residents will have some great suggestions on places with excellent local food and attractions that are right around the corner – all for reasonable prices.
5. Budget, budget, budget!Easier said than done, right? Actually, there are some convenient ways to help manage the money you spend on vacation. Option #1 – take cash. Carrying cash is an excellent way to actually see the money you’re spending. By opting to have a specific amount of cash on hand, you can set aside certain amounts of money for each meal or attraction so that you don’t overspend. Option #2 – carry a loadable gift card. These cards allow you to put a certain amount of money on them, and then once it’s gone, you can’t use the card anymore unless you re-load it with more money. Much like cash, they allow you to keep track of how much money you’re spending. Most of these cards offer you the option of checking your balance online; so, you can budget how much you should spend each day. With no more money worries, you’re free to enjoy your vacation and still come home to a happy wallet.
J. Richard Arp is the Vice President of Marketing at Northwest Georgia Bank. As a community bank with branches in Georgia and Tennessee, Northwest Georgia Bank aims to provide sound financial advice and reliable products and services to their regional customers.