(StatePoint) Americans collectively neglect 430 million vacation days annually, according to the 2014 Oxford Economics analysis. Whatever your reasons for sacrificing vacation, don’t let it be finances.
“An enjoyable vacation is possible on even the smallest budget — and summer is the perfect time to travel,” says Tom Seddon, Chief Marketing Officer of Extended Stay America.
Seddon encourages families to save big on travel with these helpful tips.
People traveling during holidays and long weekends often experience higher gas prices, bigger crowds and longer lines. Seddon suggests dodging departures and arrivals during peak travel times to avoid congested roads and stop-and-go traffic.
Save on airfare by leveraging a family member’s business trip. Simply add days to the beginning or end of the trip. Whether visiting relatives, touring colleges as a high school senior or visiting a sibling already enrolled, adding extra time to the trip makes for a budget-friendly family getaway.
Remember, expensive doesn’t mean more fun. For a budget-savvy version of vacation, look for shorter trip destinations two to three hours from home. Consider nearby attractions that make for an inexpensive weekend or day trip, like theme parks, zoos or state parks. Select a hotel that provides a good value for what you need. Unlike a resort hotel where the experience is the hotel, use the hotel as a place to refresh, sleep and prepare snacks, so that you can spend more time experiencing all the local attractions.
Complete errands beforehand and create a full itinerary to ensure you don’t fall into your normal routine. Also, unplug — reducing time on tech means more refreshing time off.
Use your time to visit local hotspots you’ve also wanted to experience. Summer is usually the best time for state and county fairs and local newspapers and regional websites are great resources for finding off-beat events.
Loyalty Rewards Programs
Many point-based loyalty programs require a significant amount of time and investment before you see any benefit.
Enroll in loyalty programs that offer instant rewards, coupons, and discounts at national retailers, rental car companies, restaurants, theme parks and more. Programs like this will provide valuable savings to enhance summer travel.
Consider offsetting costs by pre-making snacks and picnic lunches. Staying at an extended-stay style hotel can be helpful, as guests have access to in-room kitchens and full size refrigerators. Don’t worry about forgoing local fare. This is an opportunity to visit the area’s farmer’s markets where you can shop for local ingredients and recreate a regional dish on your own.
Still craving a specific restaurant? Lunch menus are usually less expensive than dinner, and you’re more likely to catch happy hour drink and appetizer specials.
Stay Across the River
Hotel accommodations can be pricey in big cities. Stay across the river or in suburbs a short drive or subway trip away. The same concept can be extended to flights. Flying into a smaller airport or neighboring cities sometime yields lower rates.
For more budget travel tips and ideas, visit www.extendedstayamerica.com.
This summer, don’t forgo vacation. Savvy decisions can make for wallet-friendly travel.