Escaping from the confines of a cubicle and having a fun-filled vacation is something most people dream about. The good news is that you can enjoy your holiday without spending exorbitant amounts of money. So how can we vacation on a budget?
- Create a list. What are you looking for in a vacation? Is it a beach, nature, somewhere with rich history? Create a list of interests and then start digging into the details. Can you do these things locally? Do you know anyone who has done it before? Thorough research can provide you with time-saving tips, help you avoid tourist traps and save on miscellaneous hassles.
- Have flexible dates. While not always possible, having flexible dates can be one of the largest money saving options. When starting your vacation planning process, start with the location, and then look at flight options and hotel options on different dates to see what dates are the cheapest. These will usually be in off seasons, but worth looking into because it could save you hundreds. Apps like Hopper will show you on which days flights to your location are the cheapest.
- Check prices from multiple websites. If you know what hotel you want to stay at, you can check the hotel’s website to get a price benchmark. Check multiple websites to see if they can offer lower prices. Priceline or Hotels may be worth looking into for discounted hotel rates up to 40%. Travelocity, Tripadvisor and Google will show you the prices from various websites so you can compare all at once. If you are traveling with a large group, make sure to ask about group discounts, you may end up saving even more!
- Make your own food. Instead of booking a hotel, consider booking a VRBO or AirBnb. Often a kitchen is provided to make your own food. You can save hundreds of dollars by going to a local market and making your own meals instead of going out to eat. Although you may be interested in the local cuisine, your budget will thank you if you only go out once or twice over the course of your vacation.
- Do a “staycation”. While not the most exciting option, it can be fun to experience your city from the eyes of a tourist. Book a hotel for a couple nights in a different part of town from where you live and spend the weekend exploring the local flavor. You’ll save a lot of money on other travel expenses such as airfare, and staying in a hotel will still make it feel like a vacation.
- Stay away from trends. If everyone is going one place, consider somewhere else. Certain destinations and activities are in high demand during certain times of year. For example, Disney World is peak in the summer, but winter holiday, not so much. A trip to a major ski resort in January or April will cost less than February and March.
To enjoy a well-deserved vacation you do not have to take to the skies or seas to have fun. By shopping around and planning ahead, your next adventure can be fun and and affordable.