It’s March so I think it’s fair to say that all of us deserve a vacation at this point. It seems like this is the time of year where it’s impossible not to be daydreaming about your next getaway or maybe even actively planning one. However, for some, the daydream is as far as they get. Vacations, while great fun, are not cheap and not all of us can afford the big, fancy trips. But there are ways that you can enjoy a relaxing vacation without spending a crazy amount of money. While it’s going to cost you not a small amount of money, certain money-saving techniques mean you can have a guilt-free getaway.
Plan well ahead.
First and foremost, saving money on your travel means planning far in advance. It can be a lot of fun to be spontaneous with your travel plans and might be something to try when money isn’t so much of a concern, but when looking to keep your budget small, start early. It’s fairly well-known that the price of plane tickets increases the closer you get to your travel date. So if you’re looking at the price months in advance and feeling like gambling on the price going down, just beware that that is a gamble that could cost you a lot. Likewise, choosing your destination at the last minute because it’s the cheapest option is fine, but if you pick a destination early enough, you could end up saving money and not having to settle for where you spend your much-deserved vacation.
Make a budget.
Whenever money becomes a concern, a budget is a necessity and a very helpful tool. Even if you feel secure with your finances and are just looking to save some money on vacation, a budget will not only give you a sense of what you can afford, but also provide a guide for how to make the most of your trip. Go into the planning stages of your trip with a set budget for the whole thing. Once that is established, it becomes a puzzle of making the rest of your vacation fit under this established umbrella. Start with the big expenses like flights and hotels, then break it down with how else you’ll fill the vacation time. Be strict and be specific, looking at meals, transportation, souvenir shopping – it’s better to be safe than to have any unfortunate surprises on your trip.
Stick to an itinerary.
Again, being able to experience your trip in the moment can be a lot of fun, but it’s not really the most money-savvy way of travelling. Even once you have arrived in your destination, it’s a good idea to establish a solid itinerary to help you stay on budget while you’re there. This can be especially helpful when it comes to the activities that you do throughout the day. Knowing what you can afford and booking tours and activities means you won’t be stumbling into more expensive endeavours. It can also help to plan out your meals, so you can see where you want to eat and avoid the overpriced options.
Pick the right time.
When you travel has a lot to do with how much you’ll be paying. This might be one of the most difficult alterations to make because a lot of us pick the time we go on vacation for very specific reasons. For some, they are trying to escape the cold winter weather to somewhere warm and sandy. Others travel for anniversaries and birthdays. Others, because that time of year is particularly nice for their chosen vacation. However, if you are willing to be flexible and go on the off-season, the savings are quite significant. Likewise, if you’re able to fly during the week rather than on the weekend, it’ll cost a lot less.
Many people would rather not cut costs on where they stay on vacation. If you’re looking for accommodations and you pick the place that is the cheapest, chances are you’re looking at a pretty rotten place to stay. However, there are ways to save money on your accommodations without sacrificing more than you’re willing. Look for hotels that are a little outside the city center. As long as you can safely and easily get around, you don’t need to be spending extra for a little convenience. Also, look into rental websites like Airbnb which can often offer great accommodations for a fraction of the cost of hotels.
As with anything, a little extra work can change a lot. Your vacation is not out of your reach, just find those ways to stretch your pennies and you’ll be relaxing on the beach in no time.
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