May 15, 2011

Tip of the day—Vacation Planning Tips, Part 2

Now that you have your budget reviewed, let’s think about ways you can save money on your vacation.  One of the biggest trends in vacation planning is having a “staycation”.  You’ll save travel expenses and spend time in and around your community enjoying the sights.  Tips for staycations:

  • Make it special.  Just because you are spending your time off at home, doesn’t mean it has to be ho-hum.  Plan special meals and snack foods.  Decorate your house to fit a vacation theme—seashells for a beach theme, fresh linens to give a bed and breakfast feel, baskets with travel sized shampoos and such to feel like you are at a fancy hotel. 
  • Do something different.  Imagine that you were visiting your area for the first time.  Where would you go?  Often those tourist spots are the places that locals neglect to visit. 
  • Expand your search.  Instead of just staying in your hometown, consider going to a nearby city as part of a day trip.  I’ve made day trips as far away as Ashville, NC before.  If traveling with children, factor fatigue into the planning.  While it is doable to make a day trip to a place 3 hours away, you might be so exhausted that the return trip is miserable for all included.  Don’t limit yourself to big places either.  One of our favorite day trips is to go for a hike as a family and pack a picnic. 
  • Make your home the vacation spot.  Fill up the kiddie pool, invite over some friends, plan a few crafts, make some special foods=FUN!  Sometimes the most relaxing thing you can do is to not go anywhere at all. 
  • Utilize your resources.   One of my favorite local resources is Knoxmoms.com because you can find all sorts of free or inexpensive activities around town.  If your town has a local message board or moms group, find out what is happening during your time off.  Get on your city’s website and see what they are recommending for tourists who visit.  If your town has a travel center, stop in and talk to the guides for suggestions.  Check out books from your local library about historical attractions in your area.  Look in your coupon books for attraction discounts.  Call AAA and talk see what they suggest.
  • Remember that you don’t have to do anything at all.  Sit outside and read a good book while your children play.  Catch fireflies while sipping tea on the porch swing.  Pick a bouquet of flowers, walking barefooted in the fresh grass.  Summer is called a lazy season for a reason.  Enjoy it and soak up all of the relaxation you can!

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