Recession-friendly pointers for financially strapped Moms.
Wondering how you'll even afford a vacation this year when gas is almost four bucks a gallon and a quart of milk practically sets you back a week's salary? Never fear. Just follow these cost-cutting tips, courtesy of travel consultant Amy Vanderbilt, and you'll be on the beach in no time.
• Travel off peak: You will get better rates on flights and hotels if you travel even one week off peak. Check hotel websites and experiment with different dates to find the magic week when prices change.
• Be flexible on destination: Most people would suggest that if you travel last minute, you will get a better rate, but how many parents do you know that can drop everything and run off with the kids for a vacation? Instead, schedule the weeks that you want to travel, and set your budget. Then, when you are within a month of the date, see what destinations are available for your price and book it! That is one way to go last minute but have the advantage of time planning. It also adds some adventure to your vacation outlook.
• Look for hotels with a free breakfast: Grab a few extras from the buffet to make a picnic lunch. This is particularly helpful when traveling with the kids and/or to places (such as Scandinavia) where the cost of food is up to four times what it is here in the US.
• For international travel: if you stay downtown, you will not pay too much extra and it will put you within range of public transportation. Public transport in Europe is very clean, safe and an effective way to get around to all the sites you may want to see PLUS you can avoid the high price of renting a car and the even higher price of keeping the tank full.
• Skip the hotel: There are apartments or homes for rent in the city that you want to see where you can often get a better deal for more space than you can get at a hotel. Plus, you will have a kitchen, which can translate into less money spent on eating out.
• Become a Mom-preneur: If you spend more than $3000 a year on personal travel, consider getting your own franchise of an online travel business. It requires no experience, and takes only about 5 minutes to set up. You will enjoy the rates that travel professionals get and you can write all your personal travel off of your taxes. That will net you about a 50-80% discount on all of your travel adventures.
How do you save money on vacation?