Scott Crawford, founder and CEO of DebtGoal, a do-it-yourself debt payoff solution that helps users organize, optimize and pay off their debts, has put together a list of tips for would-be vacationers who want a memorable summer vacation without going into debt. Scott is a self-described econ geek who worked at HSBC and the Congressional Budget Office before starting his own business to help people get out of debt faster. Here are a few of Scott’s tips to stretch your vacation dollar this summer!
Be spontaneous: One of my best vacations was a spur of the moment trip to Kentucky. After deciding not to attend a wedding, we were all packed up with time off work, and decided to make the drive. We saw a horse race at Churchill Downs, the biggest underground caves in the US, great golfing, and many things we never thought we’d see.
Drive, don’t fly: Getting there can be half the fun. My family took a couple of weeks to travel from Salt Lake City to Vancouver. It was a long drive, but we saw things along the way we never would have otherwise—like the salmon locks in The Dalles, Oregon.
Take the road less traveled: Popular destinations come at a premium, so look for adventure off the beaten path. Instead of Hawaii, try somewhere else. Arkansas, North Dakota, Georgia? I’ve always wanted to do a tour of the Great American Swamplands: Florida Everglades, Louisiana Bijou, Okefenokee.
Go camping: Hotel costs are a major cost of vacations, so cut them out. Regardless of where you go, you can usually find a campground—even near Disneyland.
Go during off-season: Consider a less-popular summer destination—like a town known for its skiing—for better prices on food, lodging and travel.
Pack light: You’ll save on luggage fees if you fly, and lower your gas mileage if you drive.
Bring your own snacks: Pack your own lunch and snacks to cut down on the number of times you’ll have to eat out.
Staycation: One of my best summer vacations was one where we simply spent a week as a family visiting all the local attractions that we tend to never make time to see. Skipping the hotel costs and packing your own lunches can save substantial cash while still giving you quality time with your family.
Book early: With prices going up, booking early can let you lock in the lowest prices possible.
Buy a package: Booking your Caribbean cruise as a package deal on travel sites like Expedia or Travelocity can save hundreds of dollars per traveler. Just be sure to buy only what you need.
DebtGoal is the industry leader in online personal debt management. Targeting the do-it-yourselfer, DebtGoal is helping its members organize, optimize and pay off nearly $1B in debt with its proprietary SmartPay PlanTM, which calculates an optimal pay-down plan based on a member’s preferences and budget. With its low monthly price and focus on helping subscribers build credit by repaying what they owe, DebtGoal represents a dramatic departure from previous debt solutions that charge high fees or significantly harm credit. For more information about DebtGoal, visit http://www.debtgoal.com