Tips to make that family vacation happen
By Mike Aquino for Yahoo! Southeast Asia | BDO Money Matters – Mon, Apr 15, 2013 12:25 PM PHT
You’re living in a golden age of vacation travel: today’s low cost carriers, for starters, can fly you cheaper to more destinations across the region. In the Philippines, better roads and transport options get you to more interesting local places than your parents could ever have done when you were wee ones.
So you have no excuse: taking your family on vacation is easier than ever. Even paying for the vacation is easy… if you know how.
Planning early can save you plenty.
If you already have a travel schedule in mind, you can book your flights and hotel stays as early as six months before the trip. Booking this early unlocks major discounts: you can pay between thirty to fifty percent less on your plane fare and your hotel bookings this way.
Tired of hearing about airline sales at the last minute? Follow the Twitter and Facebook pages of low-cost carriers that serve your route—and pounce when they announce a seat sale for that route.
Still, look into the specifics.
Sure, the price may be attractive, but what does the fine print say? “The cheapest deal isn’t the best deal,” warns Susan Stellin, author of How to Travel Practically Anywhere: The Ultimate Planning Guide. “If the lowest price for a round-trip plane ticket means two stopovers each way, an early-morning departure, and a long layover in the middle of the night, it’s probably not worth all that hassle to save [money].”
Multiply this sentiment by ten when traveling with kids—you do not want to be stuck with a bored kid in an airport at 2am!
Also read: Top 10 money promises to make
Look for family-friendly packages.
And we’re not just talking about hotels with a kids’ club. A number of hotels now offer “all-inclusive” packages: for a slightly higher price, you get bottomless food and drink at any of the hotel’s F&B outlets, along with access to some of the resort’s other amenities (like non-motorized sports activities—biking, kayaking, among others).
On the face of it, this may look more expensive, but it’s better for families in the long run. The kids will appreciate being able to raid the fridge or call up room service at any moment. If your family members are big on food and services, going all inclusive may actually save you money.
Figuring funding out? Know your options.
After you’ve constructed your itinerary, you’ll be able to tally up a budget for your trip. With a figure on hand, do you now have enough money to make all the arrangements? Or do you need to look for additional funding?
Banks and other financial institutions can step in to help. A personal loan can distribute the cost of your travel expenses over time, and improve your travel options too, by increasing the available funds for the trip. Useful, if you want to trade in your stay at a backpacker hotel for a more family-friendly, but slightly pricier, resort.
Some banks or credit cards have special arrangements with hotels or air carriers, allowing you to secure discounts or easy installment terms for flights or stays paid for with their financial products. (Your correspondent was able to book Christmas flights for himself and his family this way—far cheaper than paying the full amount with a credit card!)
Also read: A reality check on loan-related fears
And most important of all: Keep a little money left over for buying pasalubong for the family back home. Or you’ll never hear the end of it!
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