Many families are finding it hard to come up with the money to take a vacation, with the rise in prices for almost everything in the last few years. But taking a vacation does not have to be expensive. There are many money saving travel tips to be found to save the average traveler a lot of money.Regardless of age or income, everyone can benefit from money saving travel tips. Whether aiming for a four-star, week-long vacation or a weekend getaway, there are travel tips that can save you money to be found with a little searching. These tips can save you money on everything from hotels, to airfare, to food.Money Saving Travel Tips For LodgingOne of the best money saving travel tips for saving money on lodging is compare prices. Prices for hotel rooms can vary greatly, even if the hotels are located close to each other. If booking a hotel room online, check several different sites for the same hotel rooms. Chances are the price on one site will be lower than the prices on other sites. Another way to save is with a Travel Membership.Another tip for saving on lodging is” try to be flexible”. For example, in Hilton Head, a hotel room with an ocean view is more than twice as much per night than the hotel room with all of the same amenities but without an ocean view directly across the street. If you are intending to spend your vacation days on the beach, an ocean view may not be necessary and that extra money could be spent towards something else. With a little research, money saving travel tips can save you quite a bit of money over the length of your vacation.Money Saving Travel Tips For DiningOne of the biggest expenses of any vacation is food. With some money saving travel tips and a little prior planning, you can minimize the amount that you will pay for dining. The first tip is to research restaurants in the area before leaving on vacation. This way you know what types of restaurants are in the area and the price ranges for these restaurants. Many people on vacation walk into a restaurant that they have never been in before and pay a much higher price than they intended to spend for the meal. By choosing which restaurants you will eat in before you leave for the trip, you will eliminate the possibility of sticker shock when you see the menu.One of the most overlooked money saving travel tips for dining is to request from the city you are planning to travel to, a guide to the local restaurants. Many of these guides include money saving coupons to restaurants in the area to entice you into eating there. Whether the coupon is for 10% off or 50% off, they are still saving you money you would have had to spend anyway. By doing a little research and learning some money saving travel tips, a vacation does not have to be as expensive as expected.You can also get lodging that comes with a fully equipped kitchen, so you can cook some of your own meals. Most places you vacation have a local grocery store or deli near by. This is a great way to save. On a romantic get away you can do breakfast in bed and be spoiled by your love. If you have the family with you, having a kitchen will save you a ton of money on food. Just make sure Mom gets a break from the kitchen. Remember, this is her vacation too.
In Chicago home prices are down, home sales are up but foreclosures continue to flood onto the market even as the inventory of unsold homes is clearing. What does this housing market trend and the Chicago real estate news mean for those looking to buy or sell their home this year?In Chicago home sales were up more than 71.6 percent in November 2009 over the same period last year, says the Illinois Association of Realtors. Median Chicago home prices, however, have fallen 10.1 percent in the past year, according to the Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller home price index. This paints a very mixed picture of the health and recovery of the residential Chicago housing market.The first thing to remember about the Chicago real estate market is that all of these figures are year-over-year, meaning they are compared to the same period of the previous year, which is when the recession hit hardest. The current housing market trend in Chicago show sales of existing homes were at record lows and sellers were holding out for prices comparable to the height of the housing bubble. In Chicago, specifically, many condo developments were still pouring into the market with new properties. Thousands of homes went into foreclosure or were listed as short sales at greatly reduced prices to avoid foreclosure. This all contributed to driving home prices down.However, the double digit rise in Chicago area home sales in November marked the fifth consecutive month of rising home sales. This end of the year push was in part due to the original November deadline for the Federal Housing Tax Credit. As a result, rising sales have cleared out most of the inventory of distressed properties, which was the driving force behind falling home prices.”Until those foreclosed properties work their way through the system we won’t have a price recovery that will match the sales recovery. Most people are seeing the foreclosure peak occurring in 2010,” states economist Geoff Hewings, director of the University of Illinois Regional Economics Applications Laboratory (REAL). This, combined with the annual rise in home sales in the spring, should pave the way for a rise in Chicago house prices in the first half of 2010.Other influences on housing market trends are the continued low interest rates and the extension of the Federal Housing Tax Credit until April 30, 2010. The tax credit has expanded to include current homeowners and those with a higher income than in the original First-time Homebuyer Tax Credit. Many expect interest rates to rise as soon as signs of recovery are evident in the housing markets, but probably not until the second half of 2010.The real Chicago real estate news is that, if these indicators are correct, both home prices and sales volume will rise in the early part of this year. However, most analysts agree and the national housing market trend indicates that improvements in the residential Chicago housing market will taper off over the summer and probably fall again in the third and fourth quarters of 2010.Bottom line: Sellers can expect the best Chicago house prices and most buyer interest in their homes in the first half of 2010, before April 30. Though it is still a buyer’s market, if you plan to sell anytime in 2010, the spring is the best opportunity. For home buyers, based on Chicago housing market trends, expect to see a wealth of new properties enter the market earlier than usual this spring. This will increase the selection on the market as well as the competition.