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Saving for Your Summer Vacation

May 6, 2010

Cindy Battles

I love to travel but generally don’t get much farther than my favorite café for lunch, most of the winter. That’s one of the many reasons why I look forward to summer. Perfect time for a road trip. And now is neither too early nor too late to start saving for a summer getaway.

This year my mom, best friend and I are going to venture down to Cape Cod for a week. Specifically, the little town of Harwichport, conveniently located at mid-Cape. We’re planning on staying at a charming yet affordable inn we’ve frequented before, just a grassy country road down from the ocean. In order to keep prices way down, we’re going in early September, off-season there.

Indeed, if you simply budget the time to plan ahead, a trip doesn’t mean you have to blow your bank account or rack up egregious credit card debt. I like to save the old-fashioned way with a cookie jar into which I toss change and dollar bills saved from not going out to lunch or dinner for a few months, brown bagging lunch once a week, getting my books from the library rather than Barnes and Noble, you get the (frugal) picture.

Plus, There’s always your tax refund at this time of year to go right into the jar, a nice chunk of change to get you started. You could also go big-time and open a savings account, to which you can have part of your regular paycheck easily — and wisely — directly deposited. 

You could go online and shop around from Priceline to Expedia.com for the very best flight and hotel deals. But chances are, if your vacation spot is within driving distance, your overall costs will be lower. And if, like me, you’ve got a fuel-efficient smart car, you’ll save even more.

In preparation, a little advanced research never hurts; take this book I found online called The Little Budget Travel Book which promises tips and tricks for splendid vacationing that doesn’t involve pending a small fortune. It’s subtitled: “Secrets of a Frequent Traveler Who Goes on Vacation Like It’s Free.” Perfect. In addition,  plan to visit my local library and look up Cape Cod low-cost travel books which offer suggestions on free galleries, reasonable Cape Cod dining spots, grocery stores and the various entertainment to be found on the cheap. 

It helps, too, if you can meet up with a vacation spot local like a friend or family member — an insider who can give you any additional savings skinny.

Just know that it’s not too late to start your own summer holiday savings plan! You deserve a vacation! And June, July, August, and September will be here before you know it. 

Cindy

Cindy Battles is a freelance writer based in Rutland, VT, winner of the National Disability Institute’s 2008 Blog Contest and a regular contributor here on the Real Economic Impact blog.

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