Frugal Summer Travel
KEEPING IT LOCAL
The Frugal Yankee won’t go into why our economy is sucking so much wind. All we need to know is regular folks are paying the price for poor leadership and wanton greed. As summer gets closer, many of us are being forced to reconsider our budgets. One budget item popping up for belt tightening is our vacations. Plane travel is outrageous, gas prices are through the roof and every cost seems to be skyrocketing. How can anyone afford taking some much needed R and R?
One way is to get frugal.
New England is a great place to do that. We recently talked with Mel Allen from Yankee Magazine. He had some great ideas about vacationing in our beloved region this summer. You can hear his podcast FRUGAL SUMMER VACATIONS on our site and remember when it comes to New England travel, Yankee Magazine has it covered.
Beyond Mel’s savvy suggestions, there are some tips anyone, from anywhere can use to maximize this summer’s fun and minimize the impact on our wallets.
SKIP THE HOTEL
If you've ever traveled, hotels crimp your budget. Even if you're a savvy shopper and you use the internet, hotels are expensive. So think outside the box.
Here are a few alternatives:
Stay with Friends
Remember when we used to crash at your buddy's apartments back in our school dazes er, I mean days? Call up so old friends and stay with them. It's a great excuse to see them and you'll save money. Just remember Ben Franklin’s words of caution. Guests, like fish, stink after three days.
See if a condo or time share unit is available near where you want to go. Redweek.com, Tradingplaces.com and Craigslist are places to start your search. Local realtors are another source for information. Think about it, if the time share is used primarily for ski weekends, then summer rentals should be affordable and near mountains.
If you saw the Cameron Diaz/Kate Winslet film last December called Holiday, you know what home exchanges are. Using an exchange service or the internet, two people simply swap their houses for a brief period of time. There are some downsides, but a lot of upside. You can find out more at HomeExchange.com or Homelinks.org.
Camping & Campgrounds
If you're traveling around the country, think about campgrounds. Campgrounds have changed a lot in the past few years and you could be surprised at how accommodating they can be. It isn’t just a plot of land with six stones in a circle for boiling a cup of coffee.Today many of them have upgraded facilities, beautiful spaces and more. They are quite affordable, fun and adventurous. Start your search by Googling "campgrounds + the state you are visiting".
Rather than piecing your itinerary separate chunks, think about some package deals. Priceline.com and some of the other travel web sites do this. Don’t forget your local travel agent, they are usually hungry for your business. By wisely examining any proposal, you will find deals that suit your budget.
Hotel on the Cheap
If you're only staying one night, consider a hostel or some other inexpensive place. Hundreds of dollars can be saved. For example, in New York City there is a shared room hostel costing only $36.00 a night and a private room with a shared bath goes for around $90 a night in mid-Manhattan. Be sure you check it out carefully before you commit.
CAR RENTING TIP
Here is a little trick I found out by accident many moons ago. Rent an economy car and then arrive late. You'd be surprised at how few economy cars rental companies have. So when you arrive, they may be out and you'll be automatically upgraded to a bigger vehicle. I won't fill you in how I learned this. Let's just say, I got fired, my boss was a whack job and I was hung over.
If you are planning on experiencing gastronomical delights at some nifty, pricey restaurants, don't go to dinner. Go to lunch. Lunches are traditionally half the price of the dinners. Yeah, the portions maybe a bit smaller, but you're still sampling their wares at a budget price you can hit more restaurants without destroying your budget.
The local Chamber of Commerce or visitor’s center usually have great local tips. Some even have discount tickets. You can do your leg work over the internet and be prepared by the time you get there.
There are many more ways you can save on your summer vacation. The bad economy should not hinder you and your family, just be curious and savvy. Do your research, plan and then kick back. It’s what the Frugal Yankee always says, “Enjoy Life, Spend Less.”
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