First Person: Taking Separate Vacations Helps Us Save

Yahoo Contributor Network

Summer used to be the most expensive time of the year for my family. Our family vacations typically cost us about $4,000 or $1,000 per person. However, as my children grew older we realized we all have different interests. By taking separate vacations, we end up saving significant amounts of money. We try to plan our vacations so they accomplish practical goals while also meeting our needs for fun and relaxation. For example, I'm taking a vacation to New York to help my son move into his new apartment.

Going on mini vacations

According to an AP article, one of the most popular summer destinations is Disney World in Orlando. Since we live in Florida, we are able to take mini vacations throughout the year. Our "stay vacations" saves us money. I recently went to the Clearwater Beach with my sister. I spent only $20 for the entire day. In the past, we took family vacations to the Bahamas that cost thousands of dollars.

Booking our flights

My husband is vacationing in Las Vegas so he can participate in a card tournament with several of his friends. We researched the best times to buy plane tickets to save money. We booked the flights on Tuesday. We also read that the most expensive days to fly include Friday and Sunday. He will be flying out on a Thursday night and returning on a Monday. We also book our plane tickets 6 weeks to 3 months in advance, which has given us the best rates.

Saving money on gasoline

Since each member of my family wants to go on different vacations this year, it would cost too much to drive. We consider not only the high cost of gasoline, but also the cost of oil changes and car maintenance. We also avoid renting cars by arranging transportation with our friends and family in other parts of the country. My husband shares the cost of a rental car when he travels with his friends to attend card tournaments.

Rethinking the hotel

Instead of staying in hotels, we have been able to stay with friends or family. It's a lot more difficult to put up four people than it is to accommodate just one person. We used to put aside $4,000 each year for our family vacations. However, in the past two years, I've noticed we spent $2,500. Much of the savings is due to the cost of renting a beach house or paying for hotels. We also have been able to stay at a relative's rental home that was in between tenants. As part of the trade-off, I agreed to clean the home and get it ready for the property manager to show.

Although we save money by taking separate vacations, we spend plenty of time together. In many ways, it makes it easier to live together on a day-to-day basis when we can each look forward to our own separate getaways. Also, we each like the thrill of going off on our own to explore. Since we save $1,500 a year, we have been able to boost our retirement savings. When we retire, we will have more money to travel the world as a family or solo.

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