5 Ways to Cut Teen Summer Travel Costs

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By Mike Morland According to the National Consumers League, 70-80% of teens will have some type of job during their high school years.  Of those, 50% will work more than 15 hours a week during the school year.  After months of saving, many teens anticipate spending part of their summer traveling with friends.  However, it’s important for teens to plan trips as wisely as they save for them. Whether it’s an overnight camping trip or a week on a coastal beach, smart planning is equally important to financial success.

1.     Travel When Others Don’t. Many teens like the idea of a weekend flight, but according to Rick Seaney of the travel website FareCompare.com, one of the best day to fly is Wednesday. If your teen can avoid traveling on a Sunday, it could save them some major cash. Sunday fliers are often hit with a “peak air traveling surcharge,” which can be up to an additional $30 each way.

2.    Split the Cost. If your teen is planning on staying in a hotel, encourage them to room with friends.  According to a recent Travelocity.com search of the popular Myrtle Beach destination, many hotels can accommodate from one to four occupants without major price fluctuations. If your teen doesn’t mind bunking up, it could save them several hundred dollars.

3.    Take the Bus. If you’re concerned about your teen driving long hours, you’re in luck. One of the newest and best kept traveling secrets is the MegaBus.  Since 2006, MegaBus has offered lost cost travel with free Wi-Fi to all its passengers.  According to megabus.com, a ticket from Ann Arbor to Chicago is $15 one way or $30 round trip.

4.    Second Choice isn’t Second Rate.  If there’s a place your teen would love to visit, but it’s just too expensive, try a nearby alternative that’s less expensive (because it’s not a tourist trap). Some of the best vacation destinations are the ones less traveled. Advise your teen to use the internet as a tool and do some homework with them on alternative destinations. Plus, any word of mouth recommendations from a reliable source could save you some money over a travel agent.

5.    Set a Budget.  As a parent who’s traveled before, express the importance to your teen about setting a budget and sticking closely to it.  Help them manage several expense categories including things such as supplies, food, accommodations and even souvenirs. Helping your teen set up an itinerary of what they are doing on what days can help budget planning go more smoothly.

Helping your teen plan their trip can be a challenge.  However, with a little advice and guidance now, you are preparing them for a lifetime of smart financial traveling.