Top 5 Ways To Save For A Family Vacation This Winter

Last week, while looking out the window and expecting a beautiful view of orange and red leaves, I was greeted to a dusting of snow with continuous flakes falling from the sky. I didn’t know whether to cry or… cry. Winter is literally just around the corner whether we like it or not and although I’m not a fan of the white stuff, I look forward to our winter vacations and trips to warmer climates.

Planning a vacation has become somewhat of a family affair. The kids have their own ‘bucket lists’ and we plan all of the details together. We found that allowing them to be part of the decision making process has added a whole new level of excitement to the vacation!

Saving up for the vacation is something else that we’ve tried to use as an opportunity to teach our kids the value of a dollar. There are a couple of tried-and-true tricks that I’ve used over the years that have not only saved us a bundle, but provided us with free hotels and flights, and I’d love to share them with you!

1. Do Your Research

Before you start saving, definitely do your research! With a little digging, you can find some incredible flight and hotel deals. Another tip – don’t book travel on the weekends as prices always climb Friday nights and then drop back down by Monday afternoon. It’s something I’ve had my eye on for years now and each and every weekend, those prices jump.

2. Project Vacation

After you’ve gone through your own closet, have your kids clear out their old clothing, toys and games and have a yard sale! eBay is another way to make a pretty penny. Last month I made $400 on just a few things that were lying around unused. It pays to clean up the house!

3. The Jar Method

Let everyone chip in by placing their spare change in a clear glass jar. Mom and dad can put all of their change in the jar, while kids can elect to throw in part of their allowance.

4. Reward Cards

This is hands-down my favourite way to save because if you are diligent you can essentially travel for free. The American Express Gold Rewards Card is a great choice for many reasons. First off, as soon as you sign up, you’ll earn 25,000 Membership Rewards points just for signing up, which is enough to redeem for one round-trip  short-haul flight. The American Express Gold Rewards Card allows you to transfer your points to a wide range of frequent flyer programs, like Aeroplan, at a 1:1 transfer rate. As if that’s not enough, each dollar you spend on eligible travel or  everyday purchases like groceries, gas or at the drug store earns you two points per dollar.

By using my rewards card on a daily basis and opting in for double points when available, I’ve been able to travel for free by redeeming my points. I redeemed for 4 round-trip flights in 2013 alone!

5. Be Resourceful

Use your library instead of buying books. Did you know you can borrow books on your e-reader using the library’s e-book system? Make coffee at home instead of splurging at your local coffee shop and cut down on the takeout. Every little bit counts! Take the money you save on daily splurges and put it away. You’ll be surprised at how fast it all adds up.

“This post was sponsored by Amex Bank of Canada. The views and opinions expressed in this blog, however, are purely my own.”