Regardless of whether you travel or have a staycation, summer vacations when the children are out of school can be very expensive if you don’t plan ahead and look for as many ways to save money as possible. Here are some suggestions.
Draw Up a Budget
No matter where you are during the summer, try to set yourself a daily allowance and try not to go over. You might wish to get a small notebook you can carry around with you easily so you can keep track of what you are spending when you are out with the kids.
Summer camps such as the Y enroll early, sometimes as early as January depending on the facility. They also offer scholarships, but you need to apply in advance. The same is true for their sleepaway camps. Check to see if your child is old enough for sleepaway. Room and board will be included, and all activities.
Put Money in a Savings Account
Set aside some money every week for the summer, starting January at the latest. You will need to make bookings and at the very least pay a deposit for camp, if not the whole amount, unless your child has managed to get a scholarship.
Book Travel in Advance
If you are going to visit the grandparents or head out of town on vacation, you can often save a great deal on airfare by booking in advance.
Check for Bargains Online
When booking travel online, you can often save a great deal of money by purchasing airfare, hotel, car rental and even excursions through the website. Compare the price of the excursions to what the regular price would be online. You will usually find there is a substantial discount. Just print off your tickets and the vouchers and off you go.
Some resorts offer all-inclusive vacations complete with meals, entertainment and more. Check to see exactly what is offered in the package and how well it will suit your children based on their age. Disneyworld resorts are extremely popular.
Cruises are also all inclusive, and some go to more exotic locations than others. Again, determine how well the ports of call and the activities on the ship will suit your children based on their age. Also look carefully at cabin options in terms of indoor versus outdoor and the number of beds, sofa beds, bunks and so on.
Check the food arrangements. Is it sit-down meals at certain times, or a round-the-clock buffet? Check the childminding amenities and babysitting. Do they have a kids’ club where the children are supervised so parents can get a break?
Do they offer babysitting in the cabin so parents can spend some quality time together? How much do they charge per hour? Also check to see if the ship offers an on-board credit.
Make the Most of a Staycation
Make a list of all the things in your area that you would like to do. Get out a map and draw a 5- to 15- mile radius from your home. Going clockwise, visit each place one by one. Try museums, art galleries and more.
Find Free Days at the Museum
Many museums offer free days where no one has to pay an admission fee. Look up the days and mark them on the calendar, such as the third Tuesday of every month.
Consider Becoming a Museum Member
If your family has a favorite museum they love to go to, consider becoming a member and get all of the money-saving perks such as free or reduced admission, guest passes, a discount at the gift shop, and more.
With just a bit of planning, you can save a small fortune during the summer vacation.