Everyone knows that teachers don’t do what they do for the money. They don’t get into the teaching profession to make the big bucks; they do it to make big differences in the lives of their students. But all this world changing, lesson planning, test grading, parent meeting and classroom managing can drive any teacher to their breaking point, which is why summer vacations are so vital to the rest and recharge of educational professionals.
But without a surplus of funds, it can seem like the relaxing vacation you deserve is a far off dream. Fear not, world changers, there are plenty of ways to have an awesome vacation on a teacher’s budget. We’ll prove it:
First of all, as you walk out on the last day of school, don’t throw your Teacher ID in the back seat and forget about it all summer. There are so many places that offer teacher and government employee discounts that can help ease the financial strain of fun summertime festivities. All across the country, museums, restaurants, hotels, theme parks and spas offer discounts for educators.
Consider a staycation. Instead of spending all of your hard-earned money on hotels and flights, explore your local area and do fun activities that don’t require a lot of travel. Even if it means making day trips to places a few hours away, you can experience a whole summer’s worth of adventure right in your own backyard. Coming home every night to your nice, comfortable bed will not only ensure you sleep well but will save big bucks on travel accommodations. If you know local friends or family who will be out of town for a while, offer to house-sit for a change of scenery and to explore a completely new city or town.
Don’t be too proud to coupon. Sites like Groupon exist to help people save money, so take advantage of it! Search your area for businesses offering discounts during the summer. Who knows, you may stumble across a new restaurant or attraction that you never knew existed.
Get back to nature. You spend all year surrounded by concrete and fluorescent lights, so why not spend your summer surrounded by trees and the sunshine? Camping is a fun and inexpensive way to get outside this summer, and you can borrow equipment from friends or family to save money on supplies. Since you won’t be spending money on a hotel, find a campground or national park that you’ve always wanted to visit and make the trip. Don’t forget the bug spray!
If you’ve never been on a cruise before, you must add it to your summer vacation bucket list. At first, it can seem expensive, but when you factor in that the price includes all of the food, sleeping accommodations, and activities for the entire family, it is beyond worth it. You don’t have to do much planning, there’s no commuting or driving or hailing taxis to worry about, and you have countless options for fun and entertainment. There’s always the chance you’ll run into a student on the cruise (vacation bummer), but it’s a big ship, and you’ll have plenty of places to “get lost” (Did we mention there’s usually an adults only pool? Hello!)
If you decide to go big and book a flight and hotel somewhere, there are a few ways to keep costs down while you’re away
• Vacation rentals, instead of hotels, can offer much more space than a hotel, and depending on where and when you go, can be much cheaper and more comfortable than cramming everyone into a hotel room
• Skip the restaurants and buy groceries instead. Making a few meals “at home” each day makes a big difference in the vacation budget
• Research activities and buy them in advance. Many attractions and events offer discounts when you buy tickets ahead of time rather than at the door
• Skip the souvenirs. This one can be hard, but spending tons of money on silly key chains and coffee mugs could put a dent in your budget. Instead, take pictures and keep free souvenirs (like maps and ticket stubs) to take home as a memento from your trip
• Be flexible with flights. Since you have the whole summer, click the “my dates are flexible” box when planning your flight online. This may open up cheaper travel dates that will save you money. When it comes to airline tickets, the earlier you buy them, the more money you save
Everyone thinks it’s the kids that are most excited about summer vacation, but teachers are just as anxious for a little R&R. If the travel bug has bitten you, don’t let the idea that teachers can’t afford vacations stop you. There are many things you can do to make the transition from “teacher” to “person” that are exciting, convenient, and affordable.
Written by Diane Eastman