Monday, October 8, 2012

Guest Post - Saving for your next vacation

Planning and Saving for Your Next Vacation
By Joe Laing, El Monte RV Rentals

With the poor economy, high unemployment and high gas prices playing such havoc with our life these days, you may think that a vacation getaway is out of the question. However, you can still take a great vacation if you follow some enlightening tips to include a vacation trip within your limited budget. You can save for a vacation and be all ready to go when the time is right.

Everybody needs a vacation to relax and unwind from the day-to-day struggles in living. A trip away from home gives the whole family a new look at life and it can invigorate and refresh everyone. Vacations don't have to be expensive, so if planned correctly, you can save up for a unique getaway. Your family will thank you – and perhaps learn something in the process.

Getting everyone involved in planning and saving is vital. You start by having a family meeting and deciding what sort of vacation the entire clan can agree upon. Discuss activities the whole family can take a part in, whether it is scuba diving, snorkeling, sailing or touring museums. When you know what everyone would like, you can research places to go. Find the spot, set a date and time frame for your getaway and make that your ultimate goal.

Make some kind of vacation savings chart that you can display in plain view. It can be a type of thermometer that will show your target of money saved at the top. As money goes into your vacation account, you will color in the thermometer and show clearly how much you have gained towards affording your vacation. Your vacation account can be a separate account opened at a bank, or you can stash the cash in the house in some box or jar.

Now for getting actual money into your vacation account! You can do this by cutting expenses in any way possible. If you buy a cup of coffee every day on the way to work, change your habits and make your coffee at home. Figure what you save and put what is left over in your vacation stash. If you eat out more than once a week, cut it back to once a week. Put that extra amount you are saving into your vacation account. You can even keep a change jar nearby and plunk in all your pocket change – and encourage the rest of the family to do the same.

Saving money on gasoline is good any time! For about $2 you can download a phone app that will tell you where to find the cheapest gas prices in your area. The "Lowest Gas Prices Finder" app is perfect for iPhone users. You can also find your area's cheapest gas prices online by a Google search. Type in "cheapest gas prices in (your city and state)" and you'll find a list of gas stations and their current prices. Anything saved – into your vacation account!

Decide how much you can put into your account in addition to other savings. Set aside a little, even as little as $5 a week. It will add up. If you have extra money left over after some budgeted expense is taken care of, plug this into the account as well. Get your kids playing along. Show them the thermometer and let them know that if they will forgo that special pair of shoes they wanted you to buy, you will put it into the vacation account. (Taping photos of your destination on the fridge keeps reminding everyone of the fun they are going to have, too!)

You may think that RV travel is expensive, but think about it. When you eat out, it is very expensive. Paying for motels or hotels for a whole family also runs high. When you rent an RV, you can just shop at the grocery store and stock up on all your favorite foods. You will also find there are free or very inexpensive RV campgrounds where you can stay on an RV trip. When you stay at these types of RV campgrounds, you may not have hookups, but you can plan your trip so you can occasionally stay where you can recharge and get water and fuel. Do your research and you are sure to find the ideal spots to camp.

For all the activities you have in mind, be sure to book in advance. This way you won't miss out on some great opportunities. By advance booking, you know the cost and you have it secured. Follow these tips and save easily for your next vacation – and have a GREAT time!

About the Author
Joe Laing is the Marketing Director for El Monte RV Rentals. You can see more great RV vacation ideas in their Monty's Musings RV Travel Blog (http://blog.elmonterv.com/).

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