Everyday Living, Good Reading, Money Saving Strategies

Taking that frugal vacation

Everywhere I turn there’s evidence that this summer is coming to a close – articles on various websites about back-to-school shopping, co-workers who talk about their kids or grandkids returning to school, whether it’s grade school or college …

In my opinion, when you’re pre-children, post-education or both, summer vacation really doesn’t impact you. I don’t have to worry about finding extended daycare hours for my kids who are on summer break. I don’t have to scramble to register for classes or buy back-to-school supplies. As much as I love the longer hours of summer, I mentally breathe a sigh of relief when August rolls around, because that means fall is right around the corner. That means open windows, favorite sweaters and a host of other great things.

But no matter where you are in your life, summer seems a very logical time to take a few days and go on vacation. And since Labor Day is coming up, you only have a short time to squeeze in one last hurrah before the leaves start to turn. Here are some articles that I’ve been hoarding to share with you in regards to taking/making a frugal vacation:

How to Mooch a Summer House – I’ll be blunt – I hate this article. (The word “mooch” should have tipped me off.) This is from TheNest.com which is an offshoot from TheKnot.com, a website known for wedding advice. (And when you get preggo, they also have TheBump.com – sigh! I think these sites are way to trendy for staid, old me.) The voice used to write this article is hideously twee and probably written by someone who doesn’t have great manners. So don’t read the “way to score an invite” part – jump to the “ways to get invited back.” If you have the fortune of being someone’s houseguest, make sure to act gracious – gifts don’t hurt and don’t overstay your welcome.

This article is an old one from Get Rich Slowly (GRS) and is entitled “Planning a (Debt-Free) Dream Vacation.” This is a little bit more detailed for just a bare bones vacation, but it has some really solid advice on the planning aspect of going on a major trip. The gist of this article? Research, research, research – your diligence will pay dividends in the end. Another good article from GRS is “Reader Story: Traveling Cross-Country Dirt Cheap.

Preparation is a theme that permeates the (non-twee) travel articles I’ve cited. This one is no different and tackles an age old issue in travel that strikes whether you’re taking a three-day or a 30-day trip. How do you feed your family frugally on vacation? This article is from ApartmentTherapy.com and has some good tips and reader comments on food that you can bring on the road.

It’s funny, when I was a kid, I always thought it was amusing that my parents would pack a full cooler when we’d go on road trips – we wouldn’t eat half of the food that my mom packed, but now that I’m older, I see the bigger picture – and the money that they saved by not having to stop at gas stations to buy us kiddos soda or sandwiches. Even if my husband and I are taking a short road trip, we have packed a Thermos with coffee and brought snacks that stand up well to traveling (i.e. – bananas, grapes, crackers and trail mix).

And finally – I really appreciated this article on BeingFrugal.net – “Tips for Visiting Relatives While On Vacation.” This reiterates what the article on TheNest was trying to say, but does so in a non-twee, respectful way.

OK – time’s a-wastin’ … and summer’s almost over. Does anyone have any last-minute vacation plans before the leaves turn?

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