Worried about fitting a vacation into your budget? Cut costs by staying relatively close to home — after all, you’re living in the state everyone else wants to visit! See the sidebar for some specific ideas. Then check out these additional quick tips for budget-conscious vacation planning.
Know Your Budget
Determine how much you’re willing to spend and what it needs to cover. For instance:
• Transportation to and at your destination
• Other expenses, such as house or pet sitting while you’re away
Get Creative With Cost Cutting
Next, think about which expense categories offer opportunities to save. For example:
• If you “staycation” from home or opt for a hotel with a kitchenette, you can cook your own meals —significantly reducing eating expenses.
• Staying at home and making day trips can eliminate lodging expenses. Or bunk with friends or family who live in a vacation-friendly locale.
• If a hotel is a must, then consider compromising on one that’s safe and clean, but not luxurious.
• Pick a destination that doesn’t require flying — plenty of great escapes are within a day’s drive of your California home.
• If you don’t drive yourself, investigate your destination to see if it’s feasible to rely on public transportation rather than renting a car.
• Look for free tourist attractions or those that ask for “suggested donations” rather than charging set admission fees — public beaches, local museums, and national parks, historic trails and monuments. (During the summer, many towns offer free or low-cost outdoor entertainment, too, such as concerts, fairs and special events.)
Dig Up the Deals
Another way to stack up savings is to seek out coupons, deals and discounts. Consider these tactics:
• Call hotels, airlines, rental car agencies and area attractions in advance to ask about special rates for which you may qualify, such as association memberships (like AAA), children, seniors, military or public service employees.
• Use online travel “bidding sites,” where you can name your own price and see what’s available. (Read the fine print — you may be required to purchase what you bid on, and you may not get to choose exact dates and times.)
• Sign up with a travel agent or websites such as Expedia, Travelzoo or Travelocity to be alerted when special deals become available.
• Search for special offers in travel magazines, newspapers, association publications and couponing websites such as RetailMeNot.com and SavingsOnArrival.com.
Stash Away Savings
Whether you have a few weeks or several months, use the time to build up your vacation budget. Try cutting back temporarily on little luxuries like eating out, going to the movies and making impulse purchases, and put the money into a special savings account instead. Have the whole family drop their change into a jar every night. When it’s full, add it to your vacation savings. Even if you save just a couple hundred dollars, it’s still more funds — and more fun — for your getaway!
Get started today! Open your Rabobank Personal Savings account online now.
Six Great California Vacation Destinations
You know the usual tourist attractions. Now check out these options just off the beaten path.
• Humboldt County
– towering redwoods (drive through the “Avenue of the Giants”), the Bigfoot Museum and the Loleta Cheese Factory
• Santa Cruz
– elephant seals at Ano Nuevo State Park, the historic districts and the Grateful Dead archives at the local University of California campus
– the Path of History, the Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca and the Cathedral of San Carlos Borromeo, America’s smallest cathedral
• Pismo Beach
– Oceano Dunes State Vehicular Recreation Area, the giant clam statue (in honor of the famous Pismo clam) and the local pelican population
• Palm Springs
– celebrity bus tours, the Air Museum, the aerial tramway and the VillageFest street festival every Thursday
• San Diego
– the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, local wineries like Orfila, the beach cliffs at Cardiff-by-the-Sea and the ARCO Olympic Training Facility in nearby Chula Vista
The information contained in this article is intended for general educational purposes only and is not to be construed as legal, tax, or financial advice. Please consult with your own legal, tax or financial advisor for guidance with your own particular circumstances.