By Jillian Chamberlain • August 07, 2013
Summer is here. Having extravagant plans makes it necessary to know how and where you can spend less. Travel is a key interest to summer enthusiasts, and we know it can rock your budget. If you step into summer knowledgeable about your financial options, you can save yourself the worry about blowing your wad and spend summer the way it’s supposed to be spent—carefree.
Having a AAA membership is a surefire way to be protected at all times, in more ways than one. AAA does more than just give you a jumpstart when your battery dies; a AAA membership can cut your costs substantially when it comes to booking a flight, hotel, or cruise. Did you know AAA can even save you money when dining out?
2. Become Gas-Savvy
The temperature isn’t the only thing rising right now. Gas prices are skyrocketing just as you’re getting ready to hit the road on your summer getaway. It’s necessary to know when and how to avoid spending upwards of $5 a gallon. If you have a smartphone, you can easily locate the cheapest gas station near you with your GasBuddy app. Second, keep those tires pumped! Under-inflated tires can lower gas mileage by .3 percent for every 1 psi drop on all four tires. That doesn’t sound like much, but it means that a person who drives 12,000 miles a year uses 144 extra gallons of gas, which amounts to a cost of almost $600. Remember that some grocery club cards come with gasoline discounts for members. You can save at the pump if you visit Sam’s Club, Costco, Kroger, or Safeway.
3. Get Spontaneous!
Planning to be spontaneous may sound like a contradiction in terms but it’s actually a great way to travel to exotic locations and capitalize on the low cost of last-minute deals. Have you ever wanted to travel to China? Australia? Turks and Caicos? Do you open those last minute travel deals and think to yourself: “If only I could pick up and go next week?” What if you can! Here’s how you do it. Choose a week that you would like to go on vacation, take the time off from work, keep your vacation money tucked away in your savings account … and then wait. As your vacation time draws near, keep your eye on the last-minute travel deals with companies like Funjet Vacations, Southwest Vacations, Globester, and Elite Hotel Booking. When you have a sense of adventure, you’ll be able to save thousands of dollars on a vacation that you might not have been able to afford otherwise.
4. Trips that are Fun AND Frugal
You don’t need to vacation on a yacht off the south of France in order to have a good time this summer. Not that we wouldn’t all love a yacht, but for those of us with champagne taste on a water budget, there are plenty of things to do and see that will not cost you a year’s salary. A great option is vacationing at any of our National Parks. This is an extremely affordable option because they have annual passes for only $80, which will give you access to over 2,000 recreation sites across the U.S.—Yellowstone, Yosemite, Great Smoky Mountains. Disconnect your electronic devices and reconnect with nature. Yachting sounds cool, but so does white water rafting through the Grand Canyon.
It’s summer; you’re going to be outdoors a lot. Our last tip is to bring along a reusable water bottle wherever you go—the beach, the amusement park, or the ballgame. In 2011, the average price for a water bottle was $1.21. Did you know you $1.21 is enough to fill up 2,500 bottles of tap water? Yes—don’t be posh, go with tap. It’s good for the environment and good for your wallet.
Travel safe and spend wisely!
Jillian Chamberlain When not Facebooking, Tweeting & Instagraming (basically turning any social media platform into a verb), Jillian can ironically be found reading a hardcover book, using an abacus and morse code.