After the Seder there are a few days of Chol HaMoed. Nice weather, no rush and the spring season outside. This is the time to pack up your bags, gather your children and travel around Israel. But during vacation we want to enjoy ourselves without going bankrupt. The word ‘vacation’ does not exempt from planning and calculating a budget, and doing a few tasks before leaving on vacation will enable us to enjoy ourselves without going bankrupt.
Tips from Paamonim – for sensible financial management:
- Home Exchange: With 3 or more children, hotel costs can increase drastically, especially if you need two rooms or a family suite. That’s why there is a leading trend of exchanging homes which saves people thousands of shekels. You can exchange your house with another family that wishes to take a vacation in Israel or in a different city. Look for “Home Exchange” on Facebook or online and check out many free possibilities.
- Traveling with Israel Railways: Check out Israel Railway’s website for a list of suggestions for nearby activities along the train stops. A roundtrip ticket costs less than a one-way ticket. There are also websites that give special discounts for those coming on public transportation. Keep your ticket and show it at the box office.
- Israel’s National Trail: Hiking on Israel’s National Trail is a great activity for everyone- you just need to choose the right course for you and your family or friends. Online you can find information about different parts of the path, public transportation to the location and possible nearby sleeping arrangements.
- Camping: There are a variety of reasonably priced camping sites across Israel, especially compared to hotel costs. Family overnight camping trips for a few nights can sometimes cost less than spending one night at a hotel. The unique experience of being outdoors in the nature has attracted more and more families with children, and is great opportunity to experience Israel’s nature.
- Go Outdoors: Eating out in restaurants will make your vacation significantly more costly. Buy supplies at a local supermarket and make your own meals. If you do decide to eat at a restaurant, limit the amount of appetizers and desert you order, and look for business meal deals.
- Together is Cheaper: Go on vacation with another family. There are many advantages, since children can often times entertain themselves, and being with people means less of a need for costly activities. You can also rent a house or car together and save as a result.
- Coupons: Look for coupons and discounted rates in advance, and make a list of free-entry sites. Find coupons on specific websites or through organizations, work or credit card companies.
- Snacks and Drinks: Don’t buy snacks and drinks at gas stations, they are extremely expensive. If you choose to buy snacks and drinks, purchase them in advance at local supermarkets.
- Be Tourists in Your Hometown: You can have your family vacation at home and save sleeping costs which end up being a significant part of vacation costs. Define your family vacation, plan and organize food and activities so that you can have a great balance between going out and staying in.
- You Just Returned from Vacation? It’s time to begin saving for your next vacation.