Tips to Save Money on Vacation
Matrix Direct Newsletter - May 2011
Well, Happy Summer...and Savings! Tips to Save Money on Vacation
For many, the sluggish economy and rocketing gas prices are casting a gloomy shadow over the prospect of a vacation this summer. But take heart! Matrix Direct has gathered some money-saving ideas to help you make the most of vacation time.
Creative Ways to Vacation
Taking a vacation doesn't require spending lavish amounts of money. Vacations are about relaxation, spending time with family and friends, and enjoying favorite hobbies and recreation. Here are some ideas to help you relax for less.
Staycations. Stay-at-home vacations, or "staycations" continue to be extremely popular.
- Join the "Great American Backyard Campout" through the National Wildlife Federation. On Saturday, June 25, people nationwide will camp overnight in their backyards, neighborhoods, parks -- even their balconies! For details, camping ideas or to see if others camping near you, visit http://online.nwf.org/site/PageNavigator/gabc_2010_home
- Be a tourist at home and save big time! Visit Smart Destinations (www.smartdestinations.com) and check out the "Go Cards" and "Explorer Cards" for 14 major cities. You can purchase a one- to seven-day pass to all sorts of attractions, tours and museums for one low price. The cards include discounts for dining and shopping too. (Tip: Costco often carries them.)
- Another way to be an at-home tourist is with an Entertainment book. Often sold for fundraisers, Entertainment books feature dozens of discount coupons for dining, travel, entertainment and more. www.entertainment.com.
Volunteer Vacations. Also known as "voluntourism," a vacation combined with volunteer service can be a great way to enjoy a vacation, and a sense of doing good! Many national parks, camps, resorts and other special destinations need volunteers. Programs are located here and abroad. They vary in what they offer, and range from one week to all summer. Two resources to consider are www.coolworks.com/volunteer/ and www.voluntourism.org/
Family and Adult Camps. Camp isn't just for kids. There are plenty of affordable family camps and camps that accept adults nationwide. Some include meals and activities, and many focus on particular interests. Two helpful directories are www.campchannel.com and http://kidscamps.com/family_camps/family_camps.html
Yurts, Tree houses, Railroad Cars and More. If you want to think outside-the-box of a hotel or motel, check out the unusual lodgings at Odd Inns and Accommodations. Some of these opportunities are not only delightfully odd, but affordable too! http://www.oddinns.com/
Last-Minute Getaways. For spontaneous, affordable "let's get out of town" junkets, try Last Minute at http://us.lastminute.com/. Not sure what you want to do? No problem. They offer ideas such as "Sun and Beach," "Romance," and "Under $250."
Taking time off to relax is important for an enriched quality of life. At Matrix Direct, we're committed to help you enjoy life more. We specialize in affordable term life insurance, which is all about peace of mind. And with us, it's also all about saving money...up to 70 percent! If you have a policy with us, are considering one, or are curious if we can save you even more, please give us a call anytime. It's free, and you will not experience any sales pressure. It's our goal to provide you helpful information and save you money -- which can perhaps help you take a vacation!
Traveling Tips: Save and Enjoy More
Looking for some simple ways to save money on travel? Here are some tips.
Air Travel: Fly High on Savings
- The least expensive days to fly are typically Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday. The most expensive are Friday and Sunday, because they're the most popular.1,2
- Airlines have added a "peak travel day fee" to popular travel days and holidays. They range from $10 to $30 per ticket. For a chart of how these fees worked last summer and during the holidays, visit www.farecompare.com/articles/peak-travel-surcharge-updates/
- Consider flights with connections. Nonstop flights often have a pricey surcharge.
- If you are traveling with multiple people, try pricing the tickets separately. If there are only three seats at a lower rate and you are looking for four, the airline might bump you up to the next higher rate in order to complete the order.
- Many airlines are adding "fuel surcharges" to offset the rising cost of fuel. Some of these can be costly, especially overseas, where it can be as high as $400.3,4
- Good news if you're Hawaii bound. www.airtech.com is a consolidator that specializes in low-price, fully reserved tickets -- even at the last minute.
- Some airlines provide a refund voucher for future travel if the fare drops after you purchase. (Note: Some will deduct a reissue fee.) Yapta is a tracking site where you enter your flight details, they track it and will alert you if the price drops. It's free! Visit www.yapta.com
Hotel Happiness: Lodging for Less
- Interested in an affordable adventure? Go back to school! Many colleges and universities rent dorm rooms for daily and weekly stays during the summer break. They can range from $20 up per night, and often have a kitchen or kitchen privileges. Contact the campus you want and inquire if they rent to individuals.
- Think hostels are for students traveling on a shoestring? Not so! Hostels cater to all age groups. These days, they're more like budget hotels. Many have private rooms with private baths, and free WIFI. Visit www.hostels.com to learn more.
- Monasteries often welcome overnight visitors for affordable prices. Simply search online for a monastery where you'd like to stay. (Be sure to ask about their policies. For example, some have curfews and observe periods of silence.)
- Another option is to stay at a retreat where they hold spiritual, religious and conference gatherings. Many retreats allow individuals to stay, and they often include meals. One directory is www.findthedivine.com/index.html
Pet Projects: Traveling with Animal Friends
If you're not traveling by plane (which adds expense and other considerations), why not take your four-legged friend(s) along? In recent years, pet traveling has become more common -- and welcome. You'll save on pet sitting or boarding, and have fun too. Here are some tips.
- Three resources for pet-friendly lodgings and travel tips are Travel Pets http://travelpets.com/, Pets Welcome http://www.petswelcome.com/ and Trips with Pets http://www.tripswithpets.com/
- Create a temporary I.D. tag for your pet's collar. Put your cell phone number on it and/or the number where you are staying. ? Be sure to bring some of your pet's favorite items (e.g., toys and blankets) to ensure comfort.
- Pack plenty of food. Don't count on your type of food being available where you go. Many pets are sensitive to having their food switched suddenly.
- Not all pets are comfortable traveling, so make sure your pet won't suffer from motion sickness, anxiety, or the worsening of a physical or medical condition. Talk to your vet about traveling, and ask for a copy of the medical records.
Saving at the Pump
With gas prices making headlines again, Matrix Direct rounded up these ways to save.
- We might not be able to make gas go down, but we can help you find the most affordable in town. Visit www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/gasprices/states/index.shtml for prices nationwide. This can help you in planning your drive.
- Drive carefully and watch your speed. The government's Fuel Economy site lists the average gallon of gas at $3.52.5 According to their tips:
- Aggressive driving is like burning an additional $0.18 to $1.16 per gallon.5
- Driving over 60 miles per hour adds $0.25 to $0.80 per gallon.5
- Stay tuned! Keeping your car in tip-top shape is also key to saving money.
- Tuning your engine can bring a fuel benefit up to $0.14 per gallon.6
- Properly inflated tires can save up to $0.11 per gallon.6
- Using the recommended motor oil grade can save $0.04 to $0.07 per gallon.6
Whatever summer holds in store for you, we hope you enjoy peace of mind. If you have been delaying getting term life insurance, aren't sure if you have the proper coverage, or are wondering if you are paying too much, give us a call. One simple, free consultation can do wonders for your peace of mind. There is no cost, no hassle, and no hype. Just the information you need, and perhaps savings up to 70 percent!
"Cheapest Days to Fly and Best Time to Buy Airline Tickets," Fare Compare, March 1, 2011 http://www.farecompare.com/articles/tips-from-air-travel-insiders/
"Cheapest Day to Fly is Wednesday for U.S. and Canada," Fare Compare study, http://www.farecompare.com/articles/airline-industry-news/cheapest-day-us-canada-flights/
"Airlines Hike Fares, Surcharges for Costly Fuel," March 7, 2011, Reuters http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/03/07/us-airlines-oil-idUSTRE72668720110307
"Fuel Surcharges to Europe Go Sky High and Have Tripled Since 2009!" Best Fares.com http://www.bestfares.com/news/3090/Fuel-Surcharges-To-Europe-Go-Sky-High-And-Have-Tripled-Since-2009!-.html
"Driving More Efficiently" FueEconomy.gov http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/driveHabits.shtml
"Keeping Your Car in Shape" FuelEconomy.gov http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/maintain.shtml
Matrix Direct and its representatives do not offer medical, health, tax, financial or legal advice. Individuals should discuss the advantages of life insurance with their tax, financial or legal advisor(s).