According to a recent Forbes article, the average vacation costs around $4,500 for a family of four and they blame some of these high costs on a barrage of travel related taxes. They claim these tariffs and fees can boost your travel budget by upwards of 50%. If that sounds outlandish, consider cities like New York that can boost your room rental fee by upwards of 20% with a …
- Hotel Room Occupancy Tax Rate
- New York State Sales Tax
- New York City Sales Tax
- New York State Hotel Sales Fee
All of these extra charges are added on to a single hotel room rental rate and doesn’t include tipping, city and state sales taxes on other popular travel items like food and beverages. Some cities, like Miami for example, add on extra taxes for both food and alcohol served at hotels.
There’s no escaping them, if traveling by car, we’re hit with a number of gasoline taxes and don’t even get me started on all the fees that airlines are charging these days. Insane fees like these make things like camping seem a lot more affordable!
Staying Closer to Home
Speaking of camping, there’s plenty of locations and attractions that are not only cheaper, they’re also much closer to home. For those with tinier tots, camping out in the backyard is unbelievably affordable and can introduce the great outdoors to youngsters without leaving the comforts of home. For those who want to camp out in the future with their kids when they become older, this is a great way of conditioning them to the experience.
If you think you and your kids have seen everything that your area has to offer in the way of things to do in your neighborhood, try a Google search for “lesser known attractions” in your town or other neighboring municipalities. Or try Googling “trip advisor” followed by the name of the largest city near you and you’ll see the “Top 30 Things” to do in that town. You might be surprised as to what comes up as some fun, local things to do with your family.
Mastering the Staycation
If traveling and vacationing is simply out of your summer budget this year, don’t go! There’s nothing worse than going into long-term debt for what could be a stress-filled short week away from home and returning to a pile of unpaid bills. Just because you’re stuck at home doesn’t mean you can’t have some fun! And you shouldn’t feel guilty for not going, why not build a bonfire in the backyard and camp out there instead?
One of the best ways to master the staycation is to make it seem as much like a real vacation as possible by deciding when it will actually begin and end. Then set some ground rules like:
- Turning off the television, smartphones and other electronic devices
- No cooking, cleaning or laundry – make meals in advance and barbeque
- Avoid working from home and addressing emails
Although we may be turning down the technology, we can still have movie nights or a weekend watch-a-thon complete with microwave popcorn, classic selections from the past and new releases that each member of the family can choose. There can be a review period in between selections where the whole family can discuss the film.
Plan some activities and ideas for some fun in the sun at home with the kids like a good old fashioned water fight with squirt guns and water balloons. Play other outdoor games and try some board games inside by candlelight at night. Build a blanket fort, get the sleeping bags out and crash on the living room floor or camp out underneath the stars. Don’t forget the bug spray!
You don’t have to leave home to take some well-deserved time off and bond with your family and kids. With a little planning and breaks from your normal, daily routines, you can feel as though you’ve had a nice rest without leaving the comfort of your nest.
Our guest blogger, Hilary Smith was born and raised in Austin, TX. She is a free-lance journalist whose love of gadgets, technology and business has no bounds. After becoming a parent she now enjoys writing about family and parenting related topics. Follow her on Twitter: @HilaryS33