Since we have limited our trips this year, it has been a perfect time to revisit how we save for travel. We only did a few short distance RV camping trips during 2020 due to the pandemic. This spring, as long as we feel safe, we will start to travel a little more. Usually we plan two to three road trips a year and about a dozen Texas State Parks camping trips.
We get a lot of questions about how we can afford to go on vacations, especially multiple in one year. The way we do this is it is a priority for us to spend time together as a family and travel. We also make this a specific line item in our budget, whether we spend it or not it goes into a separate travel savings account. When we travel, we are very conscious about what we spend. We are careful to price compare everything, I spend hours on this when planning trips. Also, even after the plans are made I adjust.
If you want to travel, you have to make it a priority and plan. We are careful not to just put things on credit cards because we want to go. Being strategic and paying for the trip as you plan and as you are traveling makes the trip home so much less stressful! We make sure we use a credit card with a high cash back percentage that we know we will pay off immediately; sometimes I pay as we charge. I like using the credit card when we travel for the safety of not using my debit card, but I don’t want to have a balance.
When planning I use price compare sites like TripAdvisor.com to check reviews and compare prices. Although sometimes I can find hotels cheaper, I never book advance purchase price or through a third party. We have been burned on both of these. We love the customer service though the Hilton Brands and Holiday Inns (IHG). If we have any issues problems can be immediately addressed without going through a third party middle man. With advance purchase, while cheaper, if something happens and the trip has to be adjusted, you end up spending more.
We look at booking hotels with either breakfast included or a location like a cabin that has a kitchen. Even a few meals and snacks can save a significant amount. For attractions we plan in advance, we try to locate all of the discounts prior to arrival so it does not take time on vacation.
Everything we do takes some time, but it is worth it to safe a little and spend time with our family!