All-Inclusive Vacations Can Save You Money

Most of us carefully plan our vacations to fit our paychecks. Somehow, though, in spite of all of our best intentions, vacations always seem to cost more than we expect. We go each time with a plan in hand, and each time, we come back wondering where all the money went.

Budgeting for the big things like travel and lodging is pretty straight forward. Smaller expenses are usually the cause of unplanned spending. Entertainment, food, and drinks are more difficult to plan well for, since these items can be rather spontaneous in nature.

But you can avoid the overspending and still feel like you’re treating yourself well. One possible solution is an all-inclusive vacation. Let’s have a look at this type of package, and make this the year when you come back with both happy memories and a few bucks in your wallet.

What’s Included

All-inclusive vacations can really help you stay within your budget. You pay a fixed rate for all the essentials. As long as you don’t spend money outside the resort, you’re all set. If you prefer not to worry about money while vacationing, these types of packages can be ideal.

All-inclusive resorts are really the equivalent of an insurance policy. You pay a set amount in exchange for having access to everything you need, when you need it.

What’s Not Included

However, you won’t have the same level of freedom. Unless you want to pull out your wallet again, you’ll have to confine your food, beverages, and entertainment to the resort. Also, if you decide you don’t like the resort you’ve chosen, you’re stuck with what you’ve got.

Vacationing the more traditional way, you can always check out and head down the street to another hotel if you’re not pleased. Only you know how much that flexibility is worth to you.

Also, you’ve already paid for the package, even if you don’t use it. Be sure you’re going to get your money’s worth. For example, if your idea of vacation is sitting on the beach all day and eating one meal a day, you’re going to be paying for a lot more than you’re using with an all-inclusive package. In this case, you might be better off with a traditional vacation.

Consider these ideas to minimize your potential risk when booking an all-inclusive resort:

1. Look for amenities that suit you. Consider what you want to eat. Do hotdogs and potato chips sound good to you? Maybe you want a vacation that includes gourmet food in a nice restaurant setting.

* Some less-expensive places will only provide water, soda, and a few more beverages. Do you want to have access to mixed drinks and fine wine? Many resorts will not include alcoholic beverages unless you pay extra.

* Do you enjoy the types of entertainment they offer?

* How is the customer service?

2. Consider the quality of the accommodations. Some resorts are bare bones, while others are extremely plush. Be sure you’re getting the best combination of what you can afford and what you want.

3. Do your homework. Researching the quality of the resort is the most important task you can undertake before you book your vacation. In the Internet age, reviews and suggestions are easy to find. Low-quality establishments have a harder time hiding than ever before.

All in all, an all-inclusive package can be a great way to put a cap on your vacation spending. There are no surprises, and you can eat and drink without worrying about budget or about how much money you have left.

Vacations commonly result in overspending, but with an all-inclusive package, you can stay in charge of your finances even as you play. Start doing your research now; an all-inclusive vacation might be just the ticket this year.

Affordable Vacations: Travel With Friends or Family

Memories of family vacations are often the most vivid as one matures. Even though everything is getting more expensive, you can still create those unforgettable travel memories for your children.

One way to afford vacations is to travel in groups. Going on a trip with close friends or extended family members helps you cut travel costs dramatically.

Affordable Vacations Tips

1. Save on costs of traveling to your destination. Depending on how far away the desired destination is and how many people are in your travel group, consider renting a van.

* Renting a van allows all of you to share costs of the gas to get to and from your destination. Even if you’re traveling with just two other couples and no kids, you can save big when you all travel together.

2. Rent a place to stay as a group. If you’re traveling together in a large group, consider renting a large place to stay together at your destination. For example, did you know you can rent entire houses when you vacation? Or even large condos that accommodate 10, 12 or even more people?

* You’ll all be more comfortable. You’ll have the convenience of a full kitchen. Many times, such homes rent by the week and include swimming pools and many other amenities. Yet, the costs will be far less than staying at a hotel.

* When you rent these types of accommodations for your large travel group, all of you will save money as you’ll split the rent.

* Sharing this cost will cut both your food and lodging expenses and make your trip more affordable.

3. Chip in together for groceries. Shop at a local Sam’s Club or BJ’s Club to buy in bulk. As you know, one of the big expenses when you’re on vacation is meal costs. But if you stay where you’ve got a kitchen or at least a kitchenette with a microwave and refrigerator, you’ll cut your vacation food costs in half or more.

* Eat out for a couple of special activities when you’re out and about all day. Otherwise, save money by eating at your home away from home. This vacation is more affordable than you thought. Your food bill on vacation won’t be all that much higher than your food bill at home.

4. When you dine out, take advantage of restaurants where kids eat free. It’s money in your pocket when you don’t have to pay for your kids’ meals.

5. Babysit for each other’s kids. When you travel with other families, take turns babysitting for each other’s children so each couple gets a night out alone during the trip. There are no babysitting costs and everybody’s happy. Depending on the ages of the kids going on the trip, there might be a responsible teen who’s happy to hang out with the kids and babysit.

6. Get group rates when you take part in tourist activities. Many tourist attractions will reduce their admission rates for large groups. So, you can save money by taking advantage of these group rates.

7. Before you leave, check online to see if the attractions you want to visit have “free days.” Many museums and some amusement parks offer a day during the week when you can visit without charge.

Even though your budget might be crunched, consider traveling as a group with your friends or family members’ families.

Enjoy cut-rate deals on vehicle travel, house and condo rental, bulk groceries, and some tourist activities when you travel in a large group. Yes, you can take an affordable vacation next year and enjoy your friends and family members at the same time.