NEW YORK (5/28/08)--Gas and food prices are soaring, but that doesn’t mean your family has to forego its summer vacation (MarketWatch
May 14). A few money-saving strategies will have you building sand castles or sleeping under the stars in no time:
* Decrease food costs. It’s fun to eat out, but buying food at restaurants or convenience stores really adds up. When lining up lodging, try to book a suite with appliances so you can cook your own meals. Stick to a plan such as eating only one meal out each day. Purchase snack items ahead of time and assemble treat bags before your trip. * Stay in the neighborhood. Instead of spending big bucks on skyrocketing flights, consider day trips that are close to home to save on gas and lodging. Among local museums, historical sites and parks, you’ll get to take advantage of places you didn’t even know existed but are practically in your backyard. * Find inexpensive lodging. If your travel requires overnight stays, use the Web to search for the best deals. Consider staying during the week when many hotel prices are cheaper than on weekend nights. Campgrounds, hostels, and college dorms also are inexpensive lodging options. * Take advantage of off-season locations. Summer is peak season at many attractions, but traveling to popular winter destinations can help your budget. Summer is a great time to relax at a ski resort or visit Florida. You even might find some deals for vacations to the Caribbean and Mexico. * Have a souvenir strategy. Trinkets are tempting, especially to kids, but ask yourself what will happen to the items once you’re back home. Set a souvenir budget and enforce a policy such as: Everyone gets to choose one souvenir within a certain dollar amount or everyone gets a T-shirt that they’ll actually wear. Or choose a souvenir the entire family can enjoy such as a Christmas ornament or special photo (Thedollarstretcher.com).
For more travel tips, watch the “Money and Travel” video and read “Take a Summertime Drive to Safety” in Home & Family Finance Resource Center