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Recently, I received an interesting question regarding a timeshare property.
If the prices have left you in pain at the pump as well, remember there are steps you can take to make sure they don’t send you into a financial tailspin.
A getaway can be both fun and relaxing, but improper planning can lead to a financial disaster when returning home to stacks of bills.
For the most part, travel prices are dictated by climate. Hearty travelers who are willing to overlook extreme temperatures can avoid the crowds and save a lot of money.
Many parents don’t realize just how active their children are all day until they have to keep them occupied during summer vacation. In addition to the adjustment you’ll have to make simply managing your time, summer vacation also means facing a greater challenge managing your budget.
I live in Massachusetts and I just LOVE to camp. However, camping in May is like New England itself-a lesson in extremes. With a little advance preparation, even the downsides can be mitigated and you will find yourself in a place where 'it's all good'.
For all you would-be campers out there who can think of a dozen reasons not to venture out so early in the season I'm going to give you five better ones for why you should:
Prime real estate-With far fewer campers, you'll pretty much have the 'pick of the litter' when it comes to site selection. Whether you like sun, shade, water, no water close to the facilities or far away, chances are your ideal site is vacant and waiting for you on arrival.
It's always quiet hours-Camping at this time, especially Monday-Friday means you will have the place practically to yourself. You can enjoy all the benefits of a little alone time in nature usually afforded only to folks brave enough to sleep in the backwoods, with the all the amenities a modern campground affords.
Your wallet will thank you-Most private campgrounds charge the lower, off-season rate until early or mid-June. You get the same great experience for about 30% less. Now that's a bargain!
Go the the front of the line-Actually there isn't one. Great vacation destinations usally translate to many miles of traffic. Which can be a less than ideal way to begin or end your vacation at the height of the season (to say the least). Other places you won't find a line while camping in May: the entrance to the campground, the beach and, most importantly, the bathroom.
One less trip to the store-The weather might be a little bit nippy, but this is good news for your camping refrigerator (also known as 'the cooler'). Summer camping means a minimum of two ice refills a day (otherwise you're playing 'catch me if you can' with at least 2 strains of food poisoning). May camping pretty much means one and done. For the entire trip.
Pack a few extras blankets and a portable tent heater. You won't even feel the chill in the air. But you will feel the rest and relaxation.
1. Share the cost-Many campgrounds allow 4-6 people and 2 vehicles on a campsite. Team up with another couple of campers and divide the dollars. Splitting the bill will not only decrease your expenses, it will increase your good times.
2. Bring your own firewood-With a bundle of wood averaging 5 to 6 dollars, and a dusk to quiet hours fire consuming 2-3 bundles, the cost of lighting up the night can easily exceed the cost of your campsite. Scouting for downed wood at the campground and/or saving wood throughout the year to bring with you on your summer excursions can all but eliminate this expense. Word of caution: make sure your DIY firewood is properly seasoned or you will end up with more smoke than fire on your site.
3. Ice-This most critical of camping necessities pretty much doubles in cost once you reach the boundaries of the campground. You can buy 25 pounds of ice for under 3 bucks at a wholesale club the night before you leave, or pay a dollar a pound at the camp store on arrival. Do the math. For the most frugal of campers, start filling bags in your freezer a week or 2 ahead of time for a cost free way to chill out.
4. Keep the cost of gear under control-You can find all of your camping essentials for a fraction of the cost on eBay. Auctions almost guarantee you'll pay the lowest price. A little patience can help you score both new in box and gently used gear for less than half the retail price. Word of caution: make sure to research the current retail rate at a site like Amazon to avoid over-bidding.
5. Firestarters-Sometimes the best things in life really are free. DIY fire starters are a great example. You can make these bad boys from remnants around the house that would otherwise be tossed, and they are more effective than the costlier version for sale in the camp store. My snappy camper secret recipe: take a handful of dryer lint, place on a piece of wax paper, pour melted candle wax over the lint, place in a paper sandwich bag and voilà, you have the world's best fire starter.
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