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Ways to Save Money on Your Summer Vacation

Ways to Save Money on Your Summer Vacation
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By    |   Thursday, 05 July 2018 05:22 PM

Warmer weather means more sunlight and time spent outside—and for most Americans, more vacation. With vacation come expenses: airfare, accommodations, food, gifts, new experiences and more. All of these expenses add up rather quickly.

This has led many Americans to seek ways to save on summer vacation. But while some cost-saving methods are well-known—such as sharing accommodations with family and friends—some not-so-obvious methods are also growing in popularity.

Here are some of the less-obvious ways to make a summer vacation affordable:

Avoid Hefty Local Taxes

Most American families are familiar with the little expenses that pop up during most vacations: bottled water for extended outdoor excursions, souvenirs for relatives and friends, and spending extra money for Wi-Fi access. But one of the most invisible costs associated with vacations often comes in the form of local taxes.

Hotel taxes can push lodging costs up as much as 20%. When traveling to high-tax cities, these expenses tend to add up. But there are a few ways to avoid paying more than you have to:

  • Pay attention to sales taxes. Thinking about making a big purchase while on vacation? Be sure to check the state sales taxes to see if it's worth waiting until you get home.
  • Watch your motor vehicle rental taxes. Sometimes you can't avoid it, but some local municipalities will slap on additional taxes for renting cars. This may provide further incentive for using other solutions, like Uber, for your transportation.
  • Calculate hotel taxes in your travel budget. It's easy to look online for hotel prices and conclude that you're seeing the final tally. But as you research, keep in mind that hotels often have to add local taxes to your bill. These taxes can vary in each city, so ask about them in advance and budget for them.

Create an Online Revenue Stream

There are nontraditional means of finding extra sources of money online that can be used toward summer vacation funds: selling hair, signing up as an Uber driver and even making money with selfies. The conclusion: Not every cost-saving measure for vacation has to mean cutting corners. Extra vacation funds might already be available with something you already plan on doing this summer.

Start Using Travel Rewards Credit Cards

Many travel rewards credit cards feature sign-up promotions that can make it easy to start earning rewards quickly. And if you have large purchases coming up—qualifying purchases that can be put toward travel rewards—then it only serves to make that money work as hard as it can.

Some people have even taken to the lifestyle known as "churning," or maximizing credit card rewards and bonuses to get free vacations. Some users on the Reddit churning community report free airfare, accommodations or even entire vacations that are fully funded by systematically using credit card rewards.

While this system is perfectly legal, it's important to research before you open dozens of credit cards. Keep in mind that having new credit accounts can adversely affect your credit score, which in turn could affect your ability to secure low-interest loans such as mortgages.

Embrace the Gig Economy

The "gig economy" refers to freelancers and project-based contractors who take on additional work in the form of self-employment. Sites like Fiverr.com and Upwork.com make it possible for people to share their skills online—which in turn makes it possible to work while vacationing.

Some also call this the "digital nomad" lifestyle because it's entirely possible to work remotely and earn a full-time income while traveling across the world. While this isn't an option for everyone—especially those with a family—it can be a great way to take a longer vacation without missed income opportunities.

Book With Venues Directly

In today's app-infused world, it's popular to book with sites like Kayak to search for the best deals. But educated consumers can also use these tools to supplement their research, identifying the best prices and then contacting venues directly to ensure that they truly are getting the best prices possible.

In many cases, you may discover cheaper fares and alternative options by contacting the venue directly.

With the high costs of summer vacation, "getting away" in the warm weather isn't always as stress-free as it's supposed to be. But by using these not-so-obvious methods to save on summer vacation, it's possible for consumers to take hold of their finances and enjoy a relaxing vacation that doesn't break the bank.

Joe Resendiz is a Research Analyst at ValuePenguin, where he focuses on personal finance and credit research to assist consumers. Previously, Joe specialized on public sector and infrastructure financing at Goldman Sachs. He graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a BBA in Finance.

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While some cost-saving methods are well-known—such as sharing accommodations with family and friends—some not-so-obvious methods are also growing in popularity.
save, money, summer, vacation
Thursday, 05 July 2018 05:22 PM
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