Tuesday, March 24, 2009
2) Making a budget. It's hard sticking to a per week allowance, especially when unexpected costs come up, but it lets us save for the things we really want.
3) Minimize our miliage. We do our best to cut down on our kms by only heading into town when we have more than one reason to do so. We combine picking up necessities with work, or seeing a friend. It cuts down on gas and future car expenses.
4) Shopping responsibly. If we need something, we let the other person know, and combine our errands. If I go out to get jeans, I have no excuse to come home with shoes and a top.
Research, Research, Research
When travelling during peak seasons (ie: Christmas or March Break) start planning flights and excursions EARLY, and take the time to find deals. We researched flights online and found an amazing deal out of Boston. Even after paying for the gas, meals, hotel, and parking we saved $1000, compared to flying out of our home town. That left us some money to spend on touristy stuff. It's so pricey, but it's the stuff you remember. Talk to attractions companies and see if there's a slow day/time that they will give you a deal on. Before you leave for your trip and get caught up in all the stuff there is to experience, pick the activities you're most interested in, and stick with them!
Travel off season
Ted and I discovered we wanted to see Ile de la Madeline, a tiny island off of PEI that is part of Quebec. We love road trips, and seeing places completely new to us. We looked into B&Bs, restaurants, and were able to plan most of what we wanted to see ahead of time. Peak season is the end of May to the beginning of September, so we travelled in April. The price of the ferry, and our accommodations were about half price of what they would have been just a month later. Another bonus is that we got to interact with more of the locals, because there were very few tourists around.
One downside of travelling this way is that certain attractions will be closed until peak tourist season. If you're into the touristy stuff it might be best to hold off until the season picks up. An advantage of that is they you'll have a better chance at great weather, and all restaurants will be up and running.
Watch your food budget
Spending money on food wisely will help you get the most out of your trip. We usually pack our food for travelling, that way it's healthy and inexpensive. Invest in a travel cooler so you can munch on sandwiches and veggies, and have nice cold drinks on hand. Food at rest stops is usually overpriced and not very tasty, so save that money for when it's worth your while.
We booked a B&B with a shared kitchen purposely, so that we could eat at least one meal in per day. We did our best to incorporate some local food into the meals we ate (since it was a french island we snacked on pate and cheese curds), and then made it count when we went out for meals. You can also eat lunch out, which is usually cheaper than dinner, and enjoy a private dinner in, when it'll be quiet, because everyone else is out!
It's easy to get creative with your vacations, and get the most bang for your buck when travelling. Planning really is the key, and using all the resources available, like expedia and trip advisor. Also B&B owners are usually a super good resource, ask their recommendations for food, sights, and experiences.