As consumers face one price hike after another, they are forced to find creative ways to maintain their lifestyle. Everyone deserves a vacation, but many are finding it increasingly difficult to afford a holiday this summer. According to a recent study, 57% of Americans feel they are not able to spend as much on their vacations this summer as compared to last. With the rising fuel costs, and the decreasing value of the dollar, we are challenged to come up with ways to enjoy our time off without breaking the bank. Clearpoint Credit Counseling Solutions offers savings tips and creative ideas for the savvy traveler:
Consider these free or low-cost options as potential vacation destinations in our around your immediate area:
Though you may not be able to go globetrotting this summer, you can still experience a perfectly enjoyable vacation. For instance, “I Love N.Y.,” in an attempt to target state residents and the 80 million people who live within a three-to-five-hour drive of the state’s border, is working with more than 200 hotels across the state, offering travelers who buy two nights a third night free. If you don’t want to drive, you can take Amtrak and mention the “I Love N.Y.” discount — you’ll get 20% off your train ticket. Loads of tourism boards are arranging deals like this, including the Baltimore Area Convention and Visitors Association (with an extended-day harbor pass to go along with a third-night-free).
Believe it or not, you can get out of the country without paying a fortune. According to Budget Travel magazine, you can head out of the United States to rural areas and save some big bucks. For example, instead of spending a week in Paris, try the Dordogne region in southwestern France, where you can stay for as little as $55 a night. At that price, you could rent a car for a day or two and tool around the area! Another good option: Mexico. If you head to Yelapa, a tiny fishing village 20 miles south of Puerto Vaillarta, you can rent a six-bedroom house for $150 a night. Also, look to countries where the dollar is stronger than the local currency, such as Argentina and Costa Rica, even Thailand.
The big tip: Think outside the typical “travel box” and do more leg work to find the best deals. Pick up travel guides and check out rural areas that appeal to you. Do the same with travel magazines, and hit the Internet to start searching for the best deals out there (try EuroCheapo.com if you’re looking to find a great deal in Europe), and of course get guidance from travel websites.
Believe it or not, if you rent a home or apartment in a city you’re heading to for vacation, you could save a lot of money. Budget Travel says you can rent an apartment in Europe for $100 a night, while a hotel could cost you $300 per night. There are sites dedicated to rentals in Paris, and list some apartments for as little as $800 a week; you’d be hard-pressed to find a hotel room for anything less than $300 a night in the City of Lights.
For U.S. rentals, try Vrbo.com: You can find housing for less than a hotel would cost, and find great deals in some of the hottest areas (how about a three-bedroom plus pool in East Hampton this summer?!) The added bonus: The homes you’ll stay in have kitchens, so you won’t be spending money left and right on food, which becomes a hefty expense when you’re on the road.