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5 Tips for Planning an Affordable Family Vacation

Are you ready to start planning your family’s summer vacation?  In the past, this was an exciting time.  However, the economy now has many Americans in a financial bind.  If you are one of those Americans, planning your family vacation may no longer be as fun.

In fact, it is something you may dread.  Luckily, it doesn’t have to be.  Although you are on a budget, there are many ways that you can plan a cheap, yet fun family vacation this summer.  How?

1 – Stay Close to Home

When many of us think of summer vacations, plane rides and faraway destinations often come to mind.  People like to getaway.  A family from New York is likely to opt for Hawaii or Florida as their summer vacation destination.

A family from Florida may opt for the Caribbean or New York City.  These vacations are nice.  After all, you get away and get to experience something new.

Nevertheless, if you are on a budget this year, you should think closer to home.  Plan a new activity each day and have a series of daylong vacations.

For example, visit a state park with a natural pool and hiking trails on day one, travel to a nearby museum for day two, visit a semi-local amusement park on day three, and so forth.

 

2 – Let Your Children Help Choose Activities

Staying close to home is one of the best ways to save money on a summer vacation.  If you plan a series of daylong vacations for the week, start close to home.  Your family can sleep in their own beds each night.

As you get farther away from home, book a hotel.  Unfortunately, with this arrangement many parents feel like they are shortchanging their children, especially if they were used to the above mentioned faraway vacation destinations.

Remember, you are operating with limited financial resources.  Planning activities you can afford is more important.  However, you can reduce boredom by letting your children help plan.

For example, your teenage daughter can plan day two of your vacation, your ten-year-old son can help plan day three, and so forth.

3 – Give Camping a Try

If you don’t want to stay close to home, you are likely to book your airline reservations and a hotel room.  Price compare to find the best deals.

However, you should never pay more than $100 a night for a hotel room.  This just gets too costly, especially if you are on a budget.  A good and cheaper alternative is to camp.

All across the country, you will find campground parks and state parks with camping accommodations.  Camping rates vary greatly, but most charge no more than $25 a night!

4 – Wisely Choose Your Travel Dates

If you don’t want to stay close to home, wisely choose your travel dates.  Since you are planning a summer vacation, you will find increased rates, but look at the little things.

It is cheaper to vacation at the beginning or end of the summer.  The middle is the most expensive.  You will find higher hotel rates and fewer available rooms when there is a popular concert, sporting event, or convention in town.

5 – Don’t Wait for Last Minute Travel Deals

When it comes to finding travel deals and discounts, many mistakenly believe you should wait until the last minute.

Yes, many hotels, airlines, and car rental companies offer last minute travel deals and discounts, but they are usually less common during the summer.

The summer is a peak travel seasons and they rarely have problems filling planes and hotel rooms.  For most, it is too risky to wait.

If you are one of those individuals, plan your trip in advance, but always be on the lookout for moneysaving deals and discounts.  Luckily, hotels, airlines, and car rental companies offer them all year round, not just at the last minute.

Choosing the Right Home Improvement Project Home Decor Products

When it comes to home improvement projects, they are not all created equal. Some will add value to your home, while others really only serve to maintain it and prevent the value from falling.

Here is a rundown of improvements that are worth investing in, as well as the ones that you have to invest in.

Take Care of the Roof

At some point, your roof will have to be replaced. While this is normal maintenance, it’s also a chance to upgrade the house.

Architectural shingles are fresh and current, so you should make the switch to them if you have asphalt shingles. However, there is also something to be said for turning to metal roofs. Appropriate for cold and warm climates, metal roofs are energy efficient and more durable than asphalt.

This change will not immediately bump the value of your house up, but it will pay for itself over time through lower utility bills and a longer life.

 

Kitchens and Bathrooms

It’s been said time and again that the smartest renovations are kitchens and bathrooms. You can plan to spend well over $10,000 for a kitchen, and bathrooms run a close second at more than $7,000. However, these renovations will actually increase the value of your home.

Most experts estimate that you will recoup up to 90 percent of your cost when you sell the home. Take care to keep the renovations consistent with the neighborhood because the increase in home value will be limited by the value of other homes around you.

 

Claim More Floor Space by Finishing the Basement

When it comes to basement renovations, they range from basic to stunning. You can toss carpet on the floor and paint the walls for a quick and easy playroom. Alternatively, you can build beautiful interior walls and finish the ceiling with sheetrock for a magnificent home entertainment room.

Keep in mind that the floor space in the basement will only count if the ceiling is finished. If you want to add value to the home, the open ceiling must be enclosed with sheetrock, drop panels or another appropriate surface.

Once the basement is finished, you can expect your home value to rise by several thousand dollars, and the property will be attractive to more buyers.

Doors and Windows

If you are tired of watching your energy bills rise because of older doors and windows, then you are wise to invest in energy efficient options.

Most people believe that making this investment will increase the value of their home. This isn’t necessarily the case. What new doors and windows really do is maintain the value of your property.

If you try to sell a home with old windows. Then you can bet that potential buyers will offer you lower bids as a result. You can actually boost the value of your home by choosing new windows and doors that are an upgrade.

Invest in metal security doors and consider upgrading to bay and bow windows. If you are hoping to watch your property value actually rise.

When it comes to improvements around the house, they don’t all repay you with higher property values. However, there are several that will pay for themselves through lower utility bills.

You will get the most bang for your buck with kitchen and bathroom remodels. But there is also value in finishing the basement and investing in an upgraded roof.

Regardless of the changes you make, choose items that you will love and enjoy. The point of any renovation is to make the house more pleasurable for you. A higher selling price down the road is just a nice bonus.