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Saving Money While Traveling This Summer

By Erik Folgate

Even though gas prices and airline tickets are at record highs this summer, people will still do a great deal of traveling this summer.  Some of you will stay in the United States, some will go to exotic islands, cruises, and some will venture to other continents.  Traveling is a big expense and vacations are something that you do not want to short change yourself on.  Let’s face it, we all need some good rest and relaxation!

The first thing that you need to decide is what the goal is of your vacation or traveling.  Are you going somewhere to pamper yourself or are you going to be dazzled by the sights and new experiences that you will encounter?  Figuring this out early means you can figure out which aspects of your trip you would like to indulge in and which parts you would like to be thrifty.

If you are wanting to pamper yourself, then I would suggest going to an all inclusive resort.  Many of you may think this is a bad idea when it comes to your pocket book, but I went to one on my honeymoon, and I think they are definitely worth the money.  Cruises are very appealing, because they run specials and it seems so cheap to go on a cruise.  But many times you will find out that the overall amount spent going on a cruise was not cheap at all!  Cruise fares do not include alcoholic drinks, nor do they cover anything that you do while you are at a port.  Drinks can be very expensive on cruise ships, and your bill can add up quickly!  Also, sometimes your cruise fare does not include port charges, taxes, and tips.  These charges add up quickly as well.  I love all inclusive resorts, because you can find packages that include air fare.  You pay one flat fee for each person, and that will include air fare, all meals, all drinks, and all activities that the resort offers.  Also, if you want to go on an excursion, you can go into the local town and negotiate prices rather than being forced to pay the price that the cruise ship charges you.  By choosing an all inclusive resort, all of the little stuff will be covered up front so you can focus your spending money on massages, excursions, and souvenirs.

If you are the adventurous type and you are traveling for the pure sake of traveling, then I would suggest traveling to Europe.  Yes, you heard me say it, Europe!  There are numerous ways that a family or a young couple can save money while traveling in Europe.  While I traveled in Europe a couple of summers ago, I used two airline services named Ryan Air and Easy Jet to hop from city to city in Europe.  These airline companies are the equivalents to Southwest or Airtran whereas they are a no-frills airlines services.  You can find one-way flights for as little as $20 – 30 per flight!  While in Europe, we focused more on spending money on sightseeing and excursions rather than nice hotels and fancy food.  You can find some great hostels in Europe, and it is a myth that you must be under a certain age to stay in them.  Not all hostels have an age restriction.  Check out Hostels.com

As far as food goes when you are doing a lot of sight-seeing, What we did was tried to find a place to stay that offered a light breakfast.  Then, we would buy some lunch type foods and pack a lunch.  This is great thing to do, because there is nothing better than having a picnic in front of the Eiffel Tower! 

If you are traveling in urban areas, I always suggest taking the subway or bus system.  This transportation is very efficient, cheap, and safer than you would think.  Europe has great mass transit transportation, especially in larger, heavily tourist traveled areas.  When I was in London, we would buy a 5 day subway pass for about 15 pounds that got us anywhere and everywhere that a subway or bus could take us.  This really beats taking a cab when it comes to the cost. 

These are just a few tips that I have learned from traveling abroad.  Remember, you are on vacation, so live a little!  Don’t rack up your credit card bill to go on vacation, but if you have 2,000 set aside for vacation and you spend all of it, no big deal!  Have fun and be safe.  Bring me back a souvenir.

 

Erik Folgate
Erik and his wife, Lindzee, live in Orlando, Florida with a baby boy on the way. Erik works as an account manager for a marketing company, and considers counseling friends, family and the readers of Money Crashers his personal ministry to others. Erik became passionate about personal finance and helping others make wise financial decisions after racking up over $20k in credit card and student loan debt within the first two years of college.

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