As summer approaches, people normally begin to think about vacations and travel. But for those on a tight budget, vacation dreams often turn into the summertime blues.
If your idea is to take that dream trip-around-the-world type of vacation, you're probably going to be stuck with the blues. But for the rest of us there are many affordable options available to spice up the summer.
Let's start by considering ways to minimize travel costs. A "stay at home" vacation can work if you're part of the majority of people who have never visited the tourist attractions in their own area. There are also many attractions within a day's drive for most people. Often those secondary locations are very inexpensive and provide a good experience for children. You can also save yourself the hassle and wasted time involved in a long trip.
Next to consider is the cost of lodging. Many people can stay with relatives or friends for a getaway. Just don't overstay your welcome. Staying in a hotel or motel can be more affordable through online shopping services and looking for lodging on the outskirts of metropolitan areas. Small towns also have inexpensive lodging and make enjoyable vacation destinations. The hardier folks can camp out, but most of us prefer roughing it at the Holiday Inn.
Another affordable option is to combine a change of location with a missions outreach. You don't have to travel very far to be in a different world, like for instance, the inner city. Summertime short-term missions opportunities can have a profound impact, especially on your children. Just be sure to be a blessing, not a drain, on the ministry you help. It's not exactly a vacation, but it's so much better.
Funding a vacation is a challenge, especially if your income has been depleted and/or your credit cards are maxed out. Like other areas of life, we think the cash basis works best. You'll need a debit card for lodging and ready cash for dining and those souvenir shops. Remember: A little financial frivolity is good for the soul, so don't budget your vacation so closely that you have no fun.
Many of us grew up poor but never knew it because our parents knew how to have fun on a shoestring. It's a great gift to pass on to your kids.
Remember, if you're not having fun, you're not doing it right. So leave those summertime blues behind this year.
Ron Allen is a Christian businessman, CPA and author who serves in local, national and international ministries, spreading a message of reconciliation to God, to men and between believers. He is founder of the International Star Bible Society, telling how the heavens declare the glory of God; the Emancipation Network, which helps people escape from financial bondage; and co-founder with his wife, Pat, of Corporate Prayer Resources, dedicated to helping intercessors.
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