Summer is coming! The days are getting longer and you might find yourself thinking that you need to eat some dinner, only to discover that it’s in fact late evening and that the pizza place you love has already closed for the night. It’s time to allow your mind to drift towards your plans for your summer vacation – some much-deserved rest and relaxation. If you need a bit of help with making those plans, as well as making plans that won’t break the bank, we’ve got you covered.
Choosing a Summer Destination (If You Haven’t Already)
You will of course have to choose a destination that fits your budget. Life can be annoying that way. Some places might not be as expensive as you were thinking, although it naturally depends on whether or not you can find a reasonably priced airfare to that destination (but more details on that in a moment). Portugal is inexpensive with sunny skies and expansive beaches (although swimming in the Atlantic can be a cold, bracing shock regardless of how warm the day is). Germany is ridiculously good value for money (especially Berlin) and has a fascinating (though often dark) history to explore. Greece is similarly cheap, and Greek island hopping isn’t difficult or expensive if you use the public ferries. Away from Europe, but with a truly unique charm and astoundingly beautiful weather, Cuba also offers fantastic value for money.
Booking Airfares That Don’t Cost the Earth
Your end decision might depend on whether or not you can actually fly to a destination without needing a second mortgage. During the planning process, sign up for email newsletters from travel agencies, travel websites, and the airlines themselves (check your junk folder since many automated mailings can end up there). Flash sales are not uncommon, but you need to be in the know and have the ability to act quickly. It might seem kind of retro, but don’t forget to compare prices with an actual travel agent too. They often have offers to deals that aren’t publicly advertised. When checking online prices, get into the habit of regularly deleting your cookies and clearing your cache. There’s a theory that travel websites register the number of times you view the price for an airfare, judging how likely you are to purchase. Multiple viewings can supposedly lead to a slight increase in price if it looks like you are inclined to buy. Clearing your cache and deleting your cookies can give you a neutral browsing experience with (theoretically) the lowest available price.
The Best Places to Stay
With the proliferation of apartment rental websites, who needs a hotel anymore? Well, a lot of people really, but it’s generally not the best bet for a summer vacation if you’re with your family. An apartment feels like a home away from home, you can all stay together while enjoying some privacy. Obviously choose a place that is in the best possible location (ideally within walking distance to the key sights) with enough space for everyone. And you’re going to save a lot of money by having your own kitchen to work in. There’s a case for hotels as well, especially if you can find a package deal for airfares and accommodation. And many hotels have childcare facilities, allowing you to dump your rugrats somewhere safe for the afternoon while you and your partner enjoy something really adult… like a few drinks and taking a nap.
Save Some Cash
Save cash on your summer vacation by googling coupon websites for your destination. Meals in restaurants, attractions, even luxury pampering at a spa, these are things you might be in the mood for on your summer vacation and you don’t want to pay full price. You might need to use Google Translate to navigate some of these foreign coupon websites, but it’s worth it. It also gives you a good idea of the sorts of attractions that can be on offer at your destination.
Tours Make Life Easier
Book a tour, even if just for a day. Many cities offer a bus hop-on, hop-off type of tour which you can ride as much as you want within a day, hopping off when you want to explore something in greater depth. These are a great way to familiarise yourself with the key sights in a city, and it allows you to see the big ticket items in a short timeframe… in a way letting you check them off your list in an unhurried manner. And then there are some destinations where taking a tour makes life so much easier. A 10 day tour around Cuba takes care of transfers in a country where making such arrangements yourself can be… an adventure. No matter where you go on your summer vacation, you’re going to make memories that last a lifetime. Even if it’s a memory of dumping the kids with the hotel babysitter and taking a really darn relaxing nap.