When you’re on vacation, the last thing you want to worry about is your budget. If you don’t plan in advance, it’s easy to overspend. There are easy ways to save in every step of the traveling process so that you can go to your dream destination. Learn how you can plan a budget-friendly vacation that won’t break the bank.
- Plan early: Planning your vacation early gives you more time to find the best prices for hotels, airfare, rental cars and more.
- Be flexible with your travel dates: A big way to save money when traveling is being as flexible as possible with your travel dates. Vacationing in the off-season, during the week, or when deals pop up is the best way to save money.
- Utilize travel rewards: There are many travel reward programs you should take advantage of such as airline miles, hotel, and credit card points.
- Check for hidden fees: Before booking your flight, make sure to check for any hidden baggage and seat selection fees. Some airline carriers are inexpensive up front, but charge for everything else. In the case where you would need to change your flight, know all the rules and additional charges before you book your flight. These fees can add up and make your flight more expensive.
- Pack light: If you secure a less expensive flight that only includes a free-carry only, pack light to avoid additional charges.
- Arrive early: If you’re flying to your destination, make sure you leave plenty of time to get to the airport. Many airports offer kiosks to check into your flight, which may take longer. You also won’t have to worry about the possibility of added time that is out of your control such as road construction, weather, or traffic. If you’re traveling within the United States, arrive at least two hours prior. If you’re traveling internationally, arrive three to four hours prior to your flight.
- Take advantage of rideshares: Rental cars come with high fees and added taxes, which can be costly. If your destination is far away from the airport, consider only renting a car to get to your destination. After you arrive, take advantage of rideshares such as Uber or Lyft to reduce transportation costs. You could also consider renting a car for a reduced cost through a peer-to-peer app like Getaround, Turo, or HyreCar.
Where You’ll Stay
- Consider your hotel options: If you are staying at a hotel, choose properties that are less crowded. Try to do business hotels on the weekends and leisure hotels during the week.
- Avoid big cities: Booking your stay in a big city can be costly all year round. Consider staying in the suburbs or a nearby city that offers less expensive accommodations.
- Look into Airbnb and VRBO: Airbnb and VRBO rentals are cheaper than you think, especially if you’re staying for an extended time. Before you book, make sure you read the fine print if your stay were to get canceled or if something is damaged.
Food and Drink
Aside from travel and lodging, food is one of the largest expenses of a trip. It might seem difficult to eat well and eat cheap on vacation, but it can be done.
- Pack snacks: We all know how expensive food can be at the airport. Consider packing lots of snacks so that if you find yourself hungry on the plane, you don't have to buy expensive airport food.
- Carry a water bottle instead of buying bottled water: It’s important to stay hydrated and it’s easy to spend a lot of money on bottled water. Consider bringing a reusable water bottle and be on the lookout where you can fill it for free.
- Take advantage of complimentary breakfast: Consider finding a hotel that offers complimentary breakfast. Although it might not be a four course meal, it is included within the price of your hotel room.
- Go out for happy hour: Of course you’ll want to try local restaurants when you’re on vacation. Food is one of the best parts of the trip, but eating out a lot can add up quickly. Restaurants usually offer reduced rates if you’re there before a certain time. Plus, you won't have to fight dinner crowds.
- Cook your meals: Another way to save money on food is by finding an accommodation with a kitchen so you can cook some quick meals during your stay.
Vacationing on a budget requires some planning and flexibility, but it can be a great way to enjoy a memorable trip without breaking the bank. If you need a little extra help planning your adventure, check out Central Travel.