How to afford a Beach Vacation

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(Personal Photo from Akumal Mexico )

 

My husband and I don’t want to wait until we’re old to travel. So we try and travel every year, or every other year, depending on finances.

Why?

During my 18 year marriage, we have buried 5 of my husband’s siblings. This was due to unique complications of health issues they had. My dad passed away at the age of 69. He was paralyzed from a stroke at the young age of 62.

My dad didn’t believe in spending money on travel.

I remember his mantra, “Pay off your debt, and don’t be foolish with your money.”

My dad never left Canada and probably only left the province twice in his lifetime simply for work and certainly not pleasure. His goal for traveling was to see all of Canada. Unfortunately, his massive stroke stopped his dream from becoming a reality.

All 5 of my husband’s siblings were planning on traveling the world when they retired. Most of them didn’t even make it to their 50th birthday. My dear friend Joanne died at the age of 42, after a 7 year battle with cancer.  Life can be too short, and even if we do grow old, we all know older folks who can no longer afford to travel, because of the cost of Health Insurance by having  health issues.

Have you envied people you know that manage to travel lots?

Travel doesn’t need to be super expensive.

How we afford it

My Husband and I don’t go out too much. We are lucky to go to dinner and a movie on occasion. We don’t go to the Clubs or bars and we rarely drink.  Going to a Club with friends is an easy $200 per night when you buy a few rounds of drinks.  Inviting friends over for drinks even costs money. A few bottles of booze can easily run you $50 – $100. We also avoid “weekend getaways ” that include hotels and travel. We also don’t do birthday presents or anniversary presents to each other to help save money for our  “holiday”.

If you are wanting to go on a Holiday yourself, first, I suggest a savings account. For two people to go on an all-inclusive trip to Mexico for 1 week, (including spending money) would generally run around $2,500 to $3,000 for two people. If you are single, I would look at $1,400 per person. I budget in $200 per month for travel into my savings account. This gives us a Holiday budget of $2,400 each year.

Personally, we like to spend 3 out of 6 days exploring the culture and country side. This means we usually sign up for 3 excursions, adding an additional $500 to our total.

I look for Holidays that cost $1000, including taxes, per person for 1 week . If I score it even lower, Great! We traveled to Cuba a few years ago for $750, including tax.

You will probably want to buy souvenirs for your loved ones back home. Make sure you budget for it and decide who to buy for before you leave. It may help to set a per person budget to help you stay where you want. ( I personally budget $100.00)

If you can afford to put $200 in a savings account each month, you can do an all-inclusive beach-side holiday for a week every year. If $200 is too much, put away $100 each month and go every 2nd year, for a couple’s get-away for a week.

When to Book and Go

January is the best time to book fares and to travel. Because I generally travel last minute, I have found January to be the lowest time of the year to go. Everyone is broke with holiday debt, and deals are at all-time high. Did you know leaving last minute can save you 50% or more?

Start Price Shopping beginning of January  and book holiday time off work mid to end of January for the best bargains.

Don’t travel when kids are out of school or on long weekends – Prices seem to go up. Instead, try to leave mid-week if you can.

As far as knowing where to book a resort, don’t be too scared off by the “Star Ratings”.  I’ve stayed at a few 3 stars and it was more than ‘fine” and even exceeded my expectations.

Some great sites to look at for beach-side deals are Selloff Vacations.com as well as Redtag.com.

If you don’t mind long flights or Milk runs of spending 12 hours on a plane to save more, check out Expedia or Bookit.com.

I hope you have a fun time traveling this holiday!

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