Can you afford long weekends? These rest days are likely hurting your savings

Aneth Ng-Lim

Posted at Apr 10 2023 03:16 PM | Updated as of Apr 10 2023 03:35 PM

News of long weekends are generally met with cheers. After all, who doesn’t want a break from the daily grind?

For families where both spouses work, and especially those with school-age children, a long weekend is their best chance to schedule a vacation without having to worry about anyone missing work or classes. But long weekends are also prime opportunities for hotels, restaurants and other merchants to charge you more.

With the current administration’s policy to embrace “holiday economics”, or moving national holidays closer to Saturday or Sunday to boost travel and tourism, there are at least 8 more long weekends coming up this year.

Now, when it comes to getaways, you can get the lowest prices with early planning. But with the long weekends already set, all travel-related companies are also ready with higher rates anticipating the bigger demand on these red-letter dates.

So if you want to have the vacation you deserve, without using up your savings or going into debt, consider these tips when planning your next family outing.

#1 Plan vacations at least 3 months earlier

Planning early gives you choices, whether it’s with airfares, hotels, even tour packages. When you have flexible dates, meaning you can go the week before or after, you can take advantage of dips in rates. When booking online for airlines and hotels, you can see in their calendar the changes in prices depending on which days you will book. Sometimes, just choosing to go one day earlier can make a big difference. Even if you must go on the planned long weekends, booking early will give you some savings compared to when you book the week or even the month before.

#2 Avoid the peak seasons of certain locations

In summer, we all want to go to the beach, so expect prices to generally go up. Because everyone is heading out of town, why not a staycation at a city hotel? You can enjoy the pool and buffet breakfast, and likely at a much lower price than what you would have to pay at a beach resort. For those who want to go abroad, catching the cherry blossoms in Japan and South Korea also means paying for “tourist” prices. Come earlier or later and you can visit the same places, without the cherry blossoms, but at much friendlier rates.

#3 Take the road less travelled

For local travel, check out places that do not attract crowds as high demand also means more expensive prices. Baguio, Boracay, and Tagaytay are some of the places usually on top of most people’s lists. Why not go and explore Antipolo, or Vigan, or Catanduanes? These places also offer cooler climes, historical sites and pristine beaches, respectively. For overseas travel, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam are less expensive options to Singapore and Japan.

#4 Set a travel budget and stick to it

When on vacations, people tend to spend more and budget less. If you want to come home without a holiday spending hangover, make sure to set a travel budget and share it with your family. You can plan your meals, places to visit (especially those with tickets) and how much shopping you will do. Then give a room of about 10 percent to 20 percent more just in case food turns out to be more expensive, or there are other places you decided to go to, or you wanted to shop more because items turned out to be quite cheap. 

#5 Go against long weekends when scheduling vacations

If you are working, and your spouse too, long weekends can also mean more pay for both of you. Some companies need workers even on long weekends, and if you and your spouse don’t mind, you can raise your hand and make more money while all your colleagues are away and on vacation. Then schedule your vacations on non-peak seasons, and non-tourist traps, and your family could have the best time within your budget.

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With 8 long weekends coming up in 2023, don’t feel that you have to plan vacations for each of them. You can still reward yourselves with a great vacation even if you spend within your means. Never mind YOLO (you only live once) and FOMO (fear of missing out). Instead, avoid going into debt just to take a trip, and keep your savings for a rainy day.


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