09 May

Written by Kathryn Vercillo on May 9, 2010

We’re entering the 5th month of our 2010 money-saving challenge. So far we’ve encouraged you to reduce spending by turning off the heat in your home, quitting the gym, going on a diet and giving up your TV. If you’ve done all of that then you should have saved at least £240 ($400) so far this year. If you didn’t save that much, don’t worry. May’s challenge gives you a chance to catch up by saving even more than the £60 ($100) we usually ask you to save in a month. That’s because May’s challenge is to give up your annual summer vacation.

May’s Challenge: Cancel your Summer Vacation

Many people plan to take a vacation each summer. Maybe you live far away from your extended family and summer is when you take the kids to see their relatives. Maybe you like to spend the summer exposing the whole family to new cultures and ways of life through travel. Maybe you just need a break from staying at home all day during the long summer months. It’s tempting to splurge on a summer vacation but it costs a lot of money. Even budget travelers and people who use smart travel deals end up spending a big chunk of change. By canceling your summer vacation, you can save a lot of money.

How to Do It

If you’ve already planned the trip:

If you have already planned your summer vacation then you may need to be careful about canceling it. You don’t want to incur fees for canceled airline reservations or hotels. If you do want to cancel, do the following:

  • Review the terms and conditions for any travel plans that you have already made. Make sure that there are no fees associated with canceling. If you can only get a voucher instead of cash back then make sure that this is absolutely something that you will use before it expires. Otherwise, don’t cancel the trip.
  • Make sure that you cancel every aspect of the trip. This means that you double check any expenditures that you made so nothing gets overlooked.
  • Let everyone know that you won’t be making the trip after all. Present it to the kids with an alternative of what fun stuff you’ll be doing instead. Present it to anyone you might have been visiting in an apologetic but matter-of-fact way. Invite them to come visit you instead if you feel up for that.

If you haven’t planned the trip but you go every year

The toughest part about this situation is the disappointment that you and your family might feel if you break with tradition and don’t take your trip this year. To counter this disappointment, you will want to plan some new summer family traditions that will start this year. Get the whole family involved in the planning process so that nobody feels like they missed out. You may also need to notify extended family members or others that you travel with. Do this as early as possible so that they can make other plans.

If you were thinking about planning a trip

The good news is that you don’t have to do anything. The bad news is that you’ll have to refrain from planning a trip. If you get tempted by travel deals in your inbox or get the urge to travel spontaneously when your monthly travel magazine comes in the mail then you might want to cancel those things so that you aren’t tempted. Make a commitment to yourself not to take a trip this summer and figure out a way to stick with that.

How Much You Can Save

Realizing just how much you can save by simply not taking a summer vacation is a great incentive to not take it. Think about the average cost of your normal family vacations. Factor in plane travel, dining out, car rental, a week or so of hotel rooms and whatever you spend on attractions and activities. That amount adds up. You’ll easily save more than the monthly target of £60 ($100). In fact, many families will save ten times that amount just by canceling a summer trip. This puts you well on your way towards exceeding our 2010 money-saving challenge financial goal and will give you some extra money at the end of the year to have some fun, pay off debts or start a savings account.

Tips for Saving More

  • The big key when it comes to real savings with this money-saving challenge is to not replace your canceled trip with other activities that cost money. If you stay home but spend money on going to movies and museums then you’re not really saving. Commit to enjoying free activities and doing things together at home as a family.
  • Cancel another annual trip as well. Do you also take a Christmas vacation every year? Be bold and get ready to cancel that one as well for some genuine travel savings this year.
  • Take the money that would have gone into a trip and invest it. Earn something for your sacrifice!

Alternatives to the May Challenge

You may not be able to cancel your summer vacation for one reason or another. That’s okay; do one of these things instead to save money:

  • Switch to a budget vacation. You can use travel discount codes, couch surfing and other cheap travel options to significantly reduce the cost of your trip.
  • Shorten your trip and/or cancel some of its priciest activities. You can still go see the family but cancel the highest-cost things that you were going to do while you were there.
  • Cancel a trip planned for later in the year. You’ll still save money on travel in 2010 even though you do take a summer trip.
  • Give up your pricey transportation for the summer. Sure, go on vacation and enjoy it. However, cut back on your travel costs at home by biking instead of driving or walking instead of taking a taxi.

Good luck!

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