Summer is finally here and it’s time to plan your next well-deserved vacation. Learning to plan a vacation on a budget could be a lot of work, but below are a few tips. We are going to cover a few main expenses when planning a vacation.
Where To Travel
Travelling can be expensive for a number of reasons, but deciding whether you want to stay local or adventure across the world is a good starting point. If you’re travelling locally, try going on a road trip. Pack a reliable vehicle with your travelling buddies to save on airline tickets. This is great for travellers who prefer to “take the scenic route.” The key to saving money with road trips is to focus on the scenery and not costly hotels and attractions. Try camping as opposed to splurging on a hotel, especially if you already have camping gear. If not, ask a friend to borrow their equipment.
On the contrary, if you’re planning to venture across the country - or road trips just aren’t your thing - flying is an option. Take advantage of the many resources online to utilize flight trackers. These resources do the work for you by scouring airline prices to find the best price for your destination. Many of them will notify you when the price is at its lowest, so you don’t have to check rates daily, which means less work for you when planning your budget-friendly vacation. Kayak Explore allows you to set a budget and will only show airfare within your budget. This nifty tool is great if you want to vacation and aren’t set on one destination.
Where To Stay
With the rise of hotel alternatives, like AirBNB and VRBO, there are many options when travelling. Research the area, the host, the property, read reviews and make an informed decision. When choosing hotel alternatives, safety is the number one concern. Many of the hosts have been properly vetted and you can often chat with them before booking to feel more comfortable. These alternatives help you vacation on a budget since they often come with utilities like laundry machines and full kitchens to prepare your own meals.
Hostels are another alternative to traditional hotels if travelling abroad. These work best when travelling as a couple, as opposed to a large group since you may have to share a bedroom. If this interests you, take the opportunity to meet new friends while saving money and sticking to your budget, as a typical European hostel costs between $20-$40 per night.
If you prefer the comfort of a hotel, try choosing an establishment with free amenities. Often you can ask if a hotel includes free breakfast or happy hour. Even if it’s not listed on the website, it doesn’t hurt to ask. Hotels may be open to improving your stay, especially if you are visiting for a honeymoon or another special occasion.
What To Eat
Buying three meals per day for the length of your trip can quickly add up. The key to vacationing on a budget is to plan. If you’re planning to have an expensive dinner, offset the cost by choosing a cheaper breakfast and lunch option. Try purchasing snacks ahead of time or at your destination's local grocery store. As stated earlier, hotels or hotel alternatives may come with a kitchen so cooking food at home can greatly impact your food budget - in a positive way! Take advantage of the local supermarkets if you have the opportunity.
Your vacation should be a time to reset and relax, not stress and worry. By making budgeting a priority and allowing yourself to compromise, you can plan that perfect vacation you deserve while keeping some cash in your savings account.
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