If you have a vacation on the horizon, you probably have visions of a relaxing, fun, and stress-free getaway. However, unless you’re one of the lucky ones, and budget isn’t a concern, the stress of taking a vacation without placing a strain on your everyday finances can be a challenge. Fortunately, there are ways to escape and not jeopardize your finances.
Here are 6 ways to save money on your next vacation –
1. Do Your Research
This seems obvious but can take some time and is non-negotiable if you want to save money. Consider travel guides, websites and travel agencies. Travel agencies can be a big help if you’re short on time, or aren’t sure where to get started. Most important, don’t overlook your friends, family and co-workers. They may offer invaluable advice and tips, and may even own or have access to a place you could stay for less than the standard rate. Check ahead for free admission opportunities and local events that don’t cost money, but will provide a fun, educational outing.
2. Travel Outside of Peak Times
Consider traveling during off-peak times, maybe just after or just before the popular months, when the weather may still be at its best, but the rates less. According to most travel experts, it is always good to avoid traveling on Friday or Sunday, as they are the most common days for travel, and, therefore, the most expensive.
3. Consider Alternate Lodging
Camping is always a less expensive option (and a great way to bond with your loved ones), but if outdoor living isn’t for you, there are still many ways to save money.
- Shopping online for hotels can save you big bucks. You can compare pricing and many times a hotel room is less online than it is when calling the hotel direct. Consider bundling your flight and rental car and you’ll save even more.
- Hostels aren’t just for the young backpackers anymore. Couples and families all use them, but keep in mind, this requires a little extra research to ensure it turns out the way you want it to.
- Rent a house, condo or cabin if you’re planning on staying in one place for more than a day or two. This is another place the Internet comes in handy. There are websites out there just for this and they often have pictures, reviews and pricing options.
4. Pack Smart
If you’re taking a road trip, pack all the necessities so you don’t have to purchase basic toiletries and everyday items at twice the price. Consider packing snacks and breakfast bars to save on the cost of food as well.
5. Buses, Trains, and Automobiles
Sometimes flying a whole family to a destination vacation spot seems to cost more than your first car. If that’s the case, it may be time to consider hopping in the car, taking Amtrak, or heading to the bus station. Be sure to weigh out all your options though. Using up gas, time and your sanity can be costly. Keep in mind, the train and bus are less expensive and a great way to take in the scenery and a good book.
Whether it’s because of cost, health issues, or work obligations, for many of us a big trip just isn’t in the cards. The good news is that it doesn’t mean you can’t have a fun, relaxing vacation. The whole point of a staycation is to get “away,” without all the cost, hassle, and hours on the road. Consider treating a stay at home just as you would a vacation away: shut off your phones and laptops, close down the kitchen, and leave the day-to-day chores until after your vacation. Then get creative. Sleep in a tent in the front yard, or even your living room. Go sightseeing, geocaching, or canoeing – whatever you would do in the area if you didn’t live there, but decided to vacation there.
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