Summer is just about here. Is it possible to enjoy this time of year on, *gasp*, a budget?
It's a little late for the ideal "saving-up" lecture, but there are a plethora of ideas to get you and your family some fun-time in the city, around Alberta or to more exotic destinations.
I had the opportunity to chat with Dani Rohs and Pat Staron from 92.5 Fresh FM. If you'd like to add to the list of low cost ideas, be sure to tweet us your thoughts (see the end of the post) and check out Dani and Pat at www.925freshfm.com.
- Get a kitchenette: After flights and hotel costs, dining out can be a real drag on your summer time pocket book. Consider renting large facilities where you can share with friends & family by cooking meals to save big bucks! If you have a large family, a hotel with a kitchen will likely off-set the expense of eating out.
- Couch surf: not for those where privacy & space is a must, but if you enjoy adventure with hosts that will show you the local scene, you can inhabit the home of stranger and crash on their couch in cities all over the world - check out www.couchsurfing.org
- Rent an apartment for the night: an equally growing trend, but with enough room for the family (maybe - at least you and your spouse), you can rent out an apartment for the night or even list yours if you're looking for some extra cash - check out www.airbnb.ca.
- Try local: Why not be an Albertan tourist on the cheap? I was just in Calgary for business and the downtown hotels during the week averaged $350-$550 per night. Plus parking! But during the weekend, those hotels see steep price declines (not during Stampede unfortunately). Check out www.travelzoo.ca for hotel, dining spa deals and more. I've seen that same $400+ a night hotel during the week drop to just $149 with free parking on Saturday night.
- Stay-cation: It's always an option. Pick up a Where Magazine, take in the plethora of free events and festivals and spend some time in YEG as a tourist! Remember, there's people from all over the world that think E-town is cool enough to travel here. Why not get out in the city and see what all the hype is about! Check out www.travelalberta.com.
- Best time to fly? The cheapest time to fly is Wednesday morning and the best time to book your flight is Tuesday at 3pm ET. Check out my Marilyn Denis segment for more info and tips www.marilyn.ca/Finance/segments/Daily/April2014/4_28_2014/SaveMoneyTips
A few things to remember before you head out this summer:
- Check your coverage: call your insurance agent and your credit card company. You may be insured for extras like car rentals or trip cancellations. But then again, you may not. Spend a few minutes with a call to be sure.
- Get insured. BMO Financial Group estimated in 2013 that 83% of Canadians would be taking a vacation between May and September and on average, were planning to spend $3,073. But only half took out travel insurance before heading away from home. Shockingly, a broken leg in the US can cost a whopping $20,000 or more. Consider that holidays are a time of carefree adventure that comes with the chance of accidents. Don't skimp on this low cost insurance coverage.
- Can you pay it off soon? Don't slap your dream vacay on your credit card if you can't pay it off in a month or two. I promise you that the sting of those high interest rates will take the wind out of your sails when you're paying interest for years. Consider that if you put a vacation bill of $2,000 on a credit card with 18% interest and only paid the minimum payment, it would take you over 11 years (with no new purchases) to pay that holiday off. Sounds a little too stressful to me. Do your own calculations here - www.csgnetwork.com/creditcardmincalc.htm
Tweet us your ideas - we'd love to hear from you! @kelleykeehn, @danirohs, @PatStaron & @925FreshFM