American families take very few vacations compared to those in other developed countries. Perhaps a reflection of our “Puritan work ethic,” this unhealthy refusal to take time off is probably more indicative of our low wages and part-time opportunities. Americans would love to go on vacation and see the world but not enough families have the disposable income necessary to make it happen.
Taking time off is important for our well-being. While the scope and extent of our travels will always be tied to our particular income strata, getting out and seeing as much as the world as possible is a goal just about every family can reach by utilizing one or several of the following:
Getting a grip on the costs of a weekend trip to the lake or a two-week trip to Florida begins with research. Devise a series of possible plans contingent on mode of transportation, sleeping arrangements, et cetera. Research and compare not only the face costs of these different options but also hidden things like fees and surcharges. When in doubt get someone on the phone to confirm pricing, and make sure to get their name before ending the call.
Banks, credit card companies, and other financial institutions love to offer travel-related rewards because they know, as we previously mentioned, that Americans are not likely to cash them in anytime soon. Not this time. Call up your credit card companies to find out what’s coming your way – there may be thousands of miles racked up just waiting to be used.
Airplane and Boat Finance
Believe it or not but owning an airplane or boat is not a far-fetched fantasy for the middle class. Single-engine light planes start at about $75,000 with loans available, while financing a boat offers more leeway in terms of price range, with loans starting at $10,000. Alternative modes of transportation such as these enable families to explore the world from an entirely new perspective at their own pace.
A classic money saving technique for families, timeshares are time-tested for a reason. They provide an affordable way to enjoy luxury condo living, typically on or near a resort, at a fraction of the price of buying property all out. Considering Americans are lucky to get away for one week out of the year, they’re a worthwhile investment. Just make sure to use it!
An alternative to the timeshare is the house swap. It’s what it sounds like: families from across the country or across the world agree to switch homes for a certain length of time. Companies exist to provide the arrangements and security to ensure positive outcomes, but keep in mind that to be eligible your home probably has to be close to a desirable vacation destination to someone else.
Rather than rent a car when moving about a strange city or spending time searching and arranging for taxi service, opt for a ride share program such as Lyft or Uber. These handy services are ideal for folks on floating schedules, as a simple tap of your smartphone prompts the nearest driver to arrive to your location within minutes. This promotes more walking in the long run, which saves money, and ride share services usually cost only half what cab companies charge.
When looking for places to travel make a point to take the family somewhere which is chock-full of opportunities for exploration and adventure. The Orlando area, Washington DC, and Las Vegas are some obvious choices, but they also tend to be on the higher end of the price spectrum. Balance attraction density with the aforementioned due diligence to find the ideal destination.
Americans need to take more time off, but the problem isn’t the will, it’s the way. Not enough families seem to have the money necessary for a fun and exciting journey. However with the right approach to spending and the right combination of tactics a memorable vacation is within most people’s grasp.