Everyone enjoys time away from the office for rest and relaxation.
With thoughtful planning, an out-of-town vacation -- even to an exotic locale -- can be both enjoyable and affordable. My wife and I typically take one week each year for a big excursion, and advance planning really helps us keep the cost under control.
Here are some tips that can make your next vacation one to remember:
We really enjoy cruising. Over the years we have visited a variety of destinations in the Caribbean, Mexico, and the Pacific Northwest. It sounds luxurious, and it is, but compared to other types of travel, a cruise can be surprisingly affordable.
Choose a trip that is “all inclusive,” meaning that meals, lodging and entertainment expenses are covered up front. That allows for better budgeting and planning, and leads to fewer surprises on the credit card statement after you return.
Many cruise lines also have loyalty programs for return customers that can provide some savings for future trips.
We travel primarily by air and have had good experiences with the low cost carriers. Nonstop flights to south Florida are popular and become a good jumping off point for the rest of your trip. When we go nonstop, we never worry about our checked baggage getting lost.
While hotels can absorb a substantial portion of your vacation budget, there is no substitute for a good night’s sleep in a clean room with a hot breakfast in the morning. Reputable hotel chains known for soft cotton pillows, workout rooms and hot pancakes are worth a few extra dollars.
Online tools make doing your own research and planning a snap, and it’s often more affordable than consulting an agent. When my wife began giving our travel agent planning tips, we realized we could save money by doing the trip planning ourselves.
Some of the best deals can be had by using the calendar to your advantage. Plan your trip for non-peak times and you’ll reduce the cost for airfare, lodging, etc. You won’t be fighting the crowds either.
Time off can help you refresh and recharge, and can enhance your personal and professional productivity. So go ahead, Get out of Dodge!
Rex works with the Membership Development Team at Virginia Credit Union. When he's not working, Rex and his wife practice the timely art of living below their means and paying cash for everything. This has enabled them to save for a secure retirement, take annual cruise vacations, and keep their cat, Gypsy, happy and content.
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