It was a blustery and cold winter for mid-Missouri, but we made it! Spring is nearly here to stay. While we were bundled up during our 18” snowfall this year, we were dreaming of warm vacations. We talked a couple months ago about how to save money on holiday travel, and now we’re ready to talk about saving while taking advantage of the warm weather.

Budget your vacation

Before you start planning, sit down and outline what you can afford to spend on your vacation. The last thing you want is to be stressed about money during your fun, or to come back from vacation with debt because of unplanned costs. Once you know what you can spend, begin your research. Decide how you’ll be traveling and build a more itemized budget on what you will spend on flights (or fuel), food and fun.

Research your options

Look online to see what deals are available. Typically, you’ll be able to find hotel, airplane and car rental deals on travel and discount travel websites. While you are doing your research, consider your options: Is there another family you are friends with or relatives who can come along? It may save money to rent a home or condo together. Are you going to a park? You may save money by staying at a local campground. Remember, June 20 is the beginning of peak season for travel. If you can take your vacation before then, you may be able to avoid peak season prices.

Enjoy what’s close

Your budget may not allow for a trip to a beach, but you can still plan some fun at home. Try seeing mid-Missouri through a tourist’s eyes! Consider pitching a tent in the back year with the kids and taking them somewhere local for the day. We have the Boone County Historical Society Museum in Columbia, the Winston Churchill Memorial in Fulton and a ton of local parks. Rocheport is a town that your kids may have never visited. Take them and show them a great area right on the Missouri River.

What are your favorite money saving vacation tips?  Where are you headed?