“I don’t have time.”
“I don’t have money.”
“I can’t get days off.”
“I used my vacation time to stay home and get yard work done.”
“I’m too tired to deal with planning a vacation.”
If you have not taken a vacation since the debut of Windows 95, you are long overdue. No more excuses.
No doubt about it, vacations are considered a luxury when the economy is down. People become anxious about their finances and feel they should hold onto their money, just in case.
Traveling for leisure just doesn’t seem like it should be a priority, even to those who have good jobs or are comfortably retired.
Vacation time is the first thing that gets cut out of the budget during rough times. For some people.
I rather eat macaroni and cheese and walk around my house in a sweatshirt and slippers than forgo travel. Or take the bus. Or shut off cable for six months. Or buy generic. Or eat lots of leftovers. Or sell things on eBay. Or shop at WalMart – noooo!!
I realize there are exceptions to this plan of action – those with children, college students, those who do not have a job – but most people can find a way to make traveling a priority – if they choose.
Traveling during a recession might actually be a good idea.
1. Vacations allow you to recharge your batteries. Everyone needs this. Taking a break, away from your job, ultimately makes you a better worker when you return to your job. Just staying home, hanging out, and watching TV all day is not the same thing. You need to get out of your current environment to reap the benefits. You need time away.
2. The recession. When the economy is struggling, guess what? So are the resorts at vacation destinations or cities begging for tourists. This is the best time to take advantage of early bird discounts, slashed prices, buy two nights get one free, free activity vouchers and meal coupons with hotel stays, etc.
Check with a travel agent or package coordinators to find out what specials they have. Search the Internet to find special deals at the destination you prefer.
3. The third reason I’d like to point out is the diminished crowd factor. Maybe you’ve never relished the thought of visiting some of the big tourist spots because you know the crowds are huge and more than you want to deal with. Since fewer people are visiting these destinations during the recession, it might be a good time for you to go.
So you know have three reasons why you should take your vacation now, here’s how to make your vacation more affordable.
1. Your trip doesn’t have to be really far away or even for a full week. A long weekend to a vacation spot that relaxes and rejuvenates you will do just fine.
2. If you travel for business, take an extra few days to explore the area. Ask the hotel for a good rate to extend your stay or switch to another hotel in the area that’s less expensive. Bring your spouse and you’ll only be paying for one plane ticket.
3. Travel off season rather than during peak season. Every destination has a peak, low, and shoulder season and you should find out when these times are as there can be a huge price difference depending on what time of year you go.
4. Do you have friends or family that live in a great spot? Consider visiting. Split your time between spending it with them and venturing off on your own. This allows you to bypass the cost of a hotel, while having fun with those you care about.
5. Sign up for free stuff. I know people hate junk email, but get over it. For 3 minutes of your time, you can find out about deals all over the place. Living Socials, Groupon, Travel Zoo – all offer great deals on travel. Sign up. Today. Right now.
6. Apply for loyalty programs. You can sign up for hotel or airline loyalty programs and start saving up your miles. Even if you only travel once a year, you could rack up enough points for a free gift card. This saves you money, so you can take more vacations! MyPoints.com is an easy one if you shop on line or surf the web a lot.
7. Apply for credit cards that earn points. If you have not done this yet, shame on you. Companies like Chase offer spectacular deals for earning points towards travel. Just use the card for everyday purchases. Make sure you pay it off every month though!
8. Create a vacation fund. Set up a separate account that you will only use for vacation. Put $100 a month in that account. $25 a week, which is only $3.57 a day. The price of one fancy coffee. Call it your latte fund. Or your beer fund. Or your Pay-per-View fund. $100 is not much towards a vacation, but it can buy you at least 2 round trip tickets after a year!
You may think vacationing during a down economy may not be a good idea, but if your finances are doing okay, there are compelling reasons why taking a trip now is a good idea. There are also ways to make your vacation less expensive if you take the time to think it out and plan it through.
To be so very appropriately cliche —
Just Do it!