Planning an Affordable Family Vacation

March 31st, 2014

Hispanic family in a car. Family tour in a car.Travel expenses can take a big bite out of your budget, but the Michigan Association of CPAs advises that there are many ways to make your vacation dollar go further.

Search for Deals
Don’t miss out on the many online opportunities to find great bargains. You can use online travel sites to search for the lowest airfare, hotel rates, and car rental, as well as entertainment deals. It’s a good idea to check specific airline sites, too, because they may be advertising specials that aren’t included on the bargain sites.

Pick the Package
Before booking any segment of your trip, check out packages available from airlines or hotel chains. It’s often possible to find low-priced packages that include both hotel and airfare, and admission to local attractions, as well. However, remember that packages may not always be the cheapest deals. Examine the details and make sure that what you’re getting is worth what you’re paying.

Be Flexible
Uncertain exactly where you’d like to go? Then plan your trip around the best deals available. Sites that specialize in low-cost travel usually advertise specials to certain locations, as do many airlines. If the location sounds like somewhere you’d enjoy exploring, you could save a great deal on your trip.

Choose a Destination Location
Want to save money during your vacation on gasoline and admission costs for various attractions? Pick a hotel that has a pool, playground, nearby hiking, or other on-property activities. In addition, many hotels offer suites with their own kitchens. While these may cost more than regular rooms, the savings on restaurants may more than offset the higher price.

Explore the Great Outdoors
Camping is not only a fun family activity, but it’s also a cheaper way to travel. There are campgrounds and cabins at national and state parks that offer an inexpensive way to explore these locations. Outdoor vacations are a great departure from the usual routine and make it possible to get away from the television and computers. And in many cases, they are much less rustic than you might imagine. There may be cabins available at some sites, as well as water and electricity hookups.

In addition, getting in touch with nature may not be your only option when you camp. Disney World, for example, has campgrounds that can lower the price of what might otherwise be a fairly pricey vacation. You may find campgrounds near other theme parks or attractions, so don’t limit your search to hotels when looking for accommodations.

Head South
If you’ve dreamed of taking a vacation in the Caribbean or Mexico, summer is a great time to do it. That’s because summer is considered the off season, and many resorts offer promotions that feature great rates. If you’ve assumed you couldn’t afford a sunny resort locale, double check to see if prices are lower than you thought at this time of year.

Consult Your CPA
Your local CPA has many great ideas for cutting costs in various aspects of your life. Turn to him or her for advice on any of your financial needs.

This article was submitted by the Michigan Association of CPAs (www.michcpa.org).

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