Disney Vacationing on a Budget

How can you experience the magic of Disney without going broke? Is it possible to travel to Disney World without completely blowing your vacation budget? Here are a few tips to make your Disney vacation a bit more affordable.

Timing is everything. Whether you have to fly or not, the time of year you visit Disney can make a huge impact on the bill. Airfare will be cheaper during non-peak travel times, and so will the park entrance prices. Try to travel from September to early November, or January through mid-March (before Spring Break). If you travel during these times of the year, you’ll not only save money, you’ll also save time waiting in lines. Not to mention the Florida sun won’t be as overbearing. Even if you can’t get away during the off-peak season, try to plan to go during the week. Weekend fares are always more expensive, both in the air and at the park.

Look for less expensive lodging. Disney has a big variety of resorts on their property. Some of the pricier hotels are as much as $2,000 a night! Thankfully, there are also the Disney Value Resorts. There are three levels of pricing for these on Disney property hotels. The Pop Century Resorts will save you the most, with prices as low as $69 per night in the off-season. Outside hotels are also an option. You just have to decide if you want to trade travel time for the money you’re going to save. If your family likes camping, you could stay at the park for less than $50 a night. Florida’s warm weather makes it possible to camp outdoors in the off-season without freezing. Plus, you’ll also have free access to transportation to the parks with the Disney shuttle service.

Think about a meal plan. Disney meal plans can save you up to 25% on eating. You can also take water and snacks inside the park to save some additional cash. Study your restaurant options online before heading into any of the parks. You don’t want to blow your food budget on meals at Cinderella’s Castle at $65 a person, when you can eat at the Akershus Royal Banquet Hall in Epcot for the Princess Storybook Dinner and pay a lot less to eat with a princess.

Try to find other places to get more for your money. Fastpasses help you get into rides quickly and waste less time in lines, but they’re first come, first serve. Disney now has FastPass+ for on Disney property reservations. You can book your rides before you leave home!

Skipping Fastpass? Look for attractions that are lesser known, where the lines are shorter. You should also buy multi-day passes depending upon the length of your stay. This can save you over $100 per person a day, since a one day pass is about $150 a person.

Disney has also developed My Disney Experience, an interactive space (and app) for you to plan your vacation. It lets you make reservations and find fun things to do, make payments, and allows you to split your Walt Disney World vacation into manageable financial segments.

If you are planning ahead for a future summer vacation, think about opening a First Financial Summer Savings Account. This account will allow you to save all year long, and deduct the funds in July and August when many families plan to vacation.

*A $5 deposit in a base savings account is required for credit union membership prior to opening any other account. All personal memberships are part of the Rewards First program and a $5 per month non-participation fee is charged to the base savings account for memberships not meeting the minimum requirements of the program. Click here to view full Rewards First program details.

Article Source: Vincent King for Moneyning.com

6 Easy Ways to Save Money for a Vacation

Don’t have much of a vacation budget this year? Here are several pretty painless ways to score a getaway on a budget this summer.

1. Don’t Forget About Credit Card Rewards Points

Do you have a rewards or cash back credit card? If so, be sure to log in and see if you have racked up any rewards points that can be redeemed on airfare, cash back, or travel related gift cards. Some cards even have perks good for hotel stays and discounts. Don’t let these points go to waste!

2. Set Up Small Automatic Transfers to Savings

If you take a vacation each year, setting up a small automatic transfer from your paycheck into an earmarked savings account is a painless way to build up your vacation fund.  Even if you only transfer $10 per week, you’ll have accumulated $520 in one year.  You probably won’t even notice that $10 transfer — but it will feel great to have an extra $500 or more for your vacation. And if you can transfer more, even better.

3. Cash In Your Change

Do you have any spare change laying around in a jar? Find a local coin cashing machine, and cash in! Then deposit the funds into your vacation savings account.

4. Recycle Scrap Metal or Aluminum

If you have any scrap metal from appliances or items you no longer use, your recycling efforts can really add up. Scrap yards will take a variety of scrap metals. You can turn aluminum, copper, iron, brass, and more into cash that can be deposited into your vacation savings account.

5. Find Some Easy Side Jobs

Know someone you can babysit or pet sit for, complete surveys, fill in at a family member or friend’s small business, craft, repurpose and sell old furniture? Any of these or similar tasks can earn you some extra cash for your vacation savings account. Plus, there’s nothing better than getting paid for something you enjoy doing.

6. Sell Items Online

What’s better than decluttering your home and earning money at the same time? Hold a garage sale or use a selling app like Let Go for household items/furniture you no longer have a need for, sell clothing on apps such as Poshmark or Mercari, and so on. You’ll get some spring cleaning done and make money for your summer vacation!

Article Source: Alexa Mason for Moneyning.com

How to Enjoy Your Tropical Vacation While On a Budget

Just because you are watching your money closely, doesn’t mean you can’t travel to a luxury resort without breaking the bank. Here are a few ways you can have a luxury tropical vacation (or an incredible honeymoon), without going broke.

Go to the grocery.

Stopping by a local grocery store for food and beverages could be critical to saving money. Like many other locales, resorts in the Caribbean are known to be extremely pricey. With a simple bike ride to the store, you could save tremendously on necessities for a week’s stay. For example, instead of eating every meal at expensive restaurants, if your room has a full kitchen, you can buy items to cook for lunch and plan to only eat dinners out instead.

Walk (or bike), don’t ride.

Instead of paying for a taxi every time you need to travel around town, either walk or ride the bikes provided by your resort. Also, renting a car for getting around town can be pricey too. So, by walking and biking instead of riding, you save money and also get some exercise.

Listen to the locals.

Locals working at your resort may know about events going on in town, that are hosted by the local tourism department – which may be worthwhile for you to attend. You will just want to confirm with your resort’s concierge, that you are in a safe area/country before leaving your resort to attend an offsite event. At these events, you might be able to find great food at low prices, and inexpensive souvenirs handmade by local merchants. By listening to suggestions of those from the area, you can get a glimpse of the local culture, and save greatly on food, drinks, and gifts.

Article Source: Wendy Moody for CUInsight.com

The Best Times to Buy Airfare

Surprisingly, there’s no difference in airfare whether buying a ticket on a Sunday, Tuesday or any other day of the week. The cheapest fares are typically found when you book about 70 days before departure.

Bargain shopping? Try to monitor airfares for travel routes during the prime booking window (4 months to 3 weeks before leaving). Destination discount fare alerts can be set up on such sites as Hipmunk.com, Airfarewatchdog.com, GoogleFlights.com or an app like Hopper. The one factor that plays a significant role in price is the time of year you plan to travel.

Here are some tips on when to buy flights for each season:

Summer

The best summer deals are in August and September, with late summer offering the lowest prices overall.

  • The average best time to buy is 47 days (about 1.5 months) in advance.
  • Prime Booking Window is 14 – 160 days (2 weeks – 5 months) from travel.

Fall

If you’re traveling in the fall (excluding Thanksgiving), you can usually wait a bit longer to book air tickets and still not miss out on the good prices.

  • The best time to buy is 69 days out
  • Prime Booking Window is 21 – 100 days from travel.

Winter

Here are tips for general (non-holiday) winter travel.

  • 62 days from your expected travel date is the best time to buy an affordable airline ticket in the winter months.
  • Prime Booking Window is 21 – 110 days from travel.

Spring

With Spring Break dates spanning March through April, finding a good deal in the spring can be challenging.

  • Exactly 3 months (90 days) from your travel date on average is the window to buy best airfare for spring air travel.
  • Prime Booking Window is 46 – 122 days from travel.

Happy vacationing!

Article Source: Myriam DiGiovanni for Financialfeed.com

 

Ways to Save on Your Last Minute Summer Vacation

We’re in the midst of August and that means the start of the school year is around the corner. But the summer heat is lingering and there’s still time to take a last-minute vacation before fall arrives. Here are four ways to save on your final summer trip of the year.

Stay close.

You can still get away while not venturing too far from home. Check out places to visit that are within driving distance. That way you can see something new and different without paying the hefty price of air travel.

Visit friends and family.

Check into areas where you have connections and a free place to rest your head. Accommodations are a budget-killer so forget the pricey hotels and ask a friend or family member if you can pay them a visit before the busy school and work year gets revved up.

Research airline discounts.

Many flights are a fraction of the cost at the end of the summer season. Start by following your airline of choice on social media and track their last-minute summer travel deals. Also, because you’re planning quickly, consider traveling during the week or at flexible times when airlines will reduce rates to fill flights.

Hold off on the hotel.

Instead of dropping hundreds on a pricey hotel room, consider booking your accommodations through Airbnb. Although you may not receive turndown and concierge services offered at hotels, Airbnb will offer lodging that is charming and unique. Also, consider checking out Roomer.com, a service where travelers who’ve cancelled their plans (and had a non-refundable room) the opportunity to sell them back to those on a budget. Many rooms available are offered at up to 85% off the original booking price.

Enjoy the last few weeks of summer!

Article Source: Wendy Bignon for CUInsight.com

3 Vacation Expenses You’re Forgetting About

Vacation season is in full swing and it’s time to get packing. Your flight and hotel are booked and you’re ready to go. But before you take your trip, take a careful look at your travel budget. Are there certain expenses you may be overlooking? Be sure to take a look at these three commonly forgotten travel costs so you can plan your vacation budget accordingly.

Airport parking

In most cases, airports don’t require payment for parking until travelers return from their trip and head home. Therefore, once you arrive at the airport and head off to your destination, paying for parking may not be on your radar. It’s important to keep parking costs in mind while you’re enjoying your trip so when it’s time to pay, you still have enough set aside. Also, consider parking in economy lots over more expensive options. Even if you have to park farther away and take a shuttle to the terminal, at least you’ll be saving a few bucks after an expensive getaway.

Tipping

We all know to tip at restaurants, but it’s also proper to tip for other services while on vacation. The American Hotel & Lodging Association gives specific details on who should be given gratuity and how much. Examples of such services that are often overlooked by tippers include housekeepers, concierges, room service attendants, and travel guides.

Extra fees

It can often be difficult to find our preferred bank while traveling. Using ATMs at other banks can cost anywhere from $3-5, which can add up if you’re withdrawing cash multiple times. Instead, before your vacation begins, know where your bank’s ATMs are located or prepare to take out enough cash in advance before you travel. Aside from the cost of ATMs, also consider fees for using Wi-Fi (whether on a plane or in your hotel room) and data roaming charges. There’s nothing worse than using your phone for the internet and messaging only to come home to a massive cell phone bill you weren’t anticipating.

Article Source: Wendy Bignon for CUInsight.com