Finding a way to afford a vacation may seem impossible. However, with some priority adjusting, careful planning and budgeting, going on your dream trip may be more possible than you think. Here are some tips for planning a vacation for less.
Figure Out Your Priorities
Knowing what you want out of a trip will allow you to determine what you can afford and what you’ll need to save for. Once you define your priorities, you can start making a plan to achieve it. Some questions you might ask yourself include:
- Do I need to pay for a flight, or can I take a less expensive mode of transportation to my destination?
- Do I need to stay in a fancy hotel or is a less expensive place like an Airbnb okay?
- Am I looking to experience a different culture or fill my days with expensive activities?
- Do I need to eat at the best restaurants or can I get by with less expensive dining options?
- How many days do I want to travel?
Make a Budget
Travelling without a set budget can lead to overspending. Use your personal budget as a guide to help you figure out where you can find money for travel. Start by deciding the total amount you can spend on a vacation, then decide where you can go based on the costs for transportation, housing, food, entertainment and souvenirs. Take into account your savings, expenses, and any variables that might affect a trip. If you’re looking for a little help with a budget, try and app that will show you which destinations fit your budget. All you have to do is input your destination and what you’d like to pay, and it will recommend some places to travel.
Consider Going with a Group
One way to save on travel expenses is to go on vacation with a group so you can share the cost of hefty expenses like lodging. Hotels, airlines and popular attractions may also offer group deals, especially if you’re booking several rooms at the same hotel. Certain websites can also help you find group rates.
Stay in Less Expensive Places
Hotels can be very expensive. Make sure to look into non-traditional accommodations. Here are some options to consider:
- Stay With Friends – Travelling to a place where you know someone will save you a lot of money. Give your friends or family a call and ask if you can crash at their place to cut out the hotel costs entirely.
- Hostels – A hostel is an inexpensive lodging option that requires you to share a bathroom or an entire room with other travelers. Hostels will work best for solo or couple trips.
- Rentals – Many people now rent out their homes to travelers when they aren’t using them, or they’ll allow you to stay with them while you vacation. Look for rentals on apps to find condos, townhomes and apartments for much cheaper rates than hotels. Most of these rental types will offer you access to a kitchen, laundry and other amenities that you would have to pay for at a hotel.
Plan Short Trips
Taking a shorter trip will still give you a chance to recharge, relax and have fun, but it will cost you much less. A vacation doesn’t have to be three weeks long to be enjoyable. Planning a shorter trip also means you can means you can drive instead of fly, which translates to big savings. Consider a weekend getaway in your home state like a camping trip at a state park or visiting a city you haven’t been to. Many attractions will offer state residents discounts and deals, so do some research on what’s available.
Watch for Discounts and Deals
Airfare will be one of the biggest expenses of any trip, so make sure you keep an eye out for airline ticket deals to the destination you want. You can set up a price alert at numerous travel websites.
Schedule Off-Season Travel
Different destinations have different peak seasons for tourism, but they typically occur during summer months or holiday breaks. There are some exceptions, such as tropical destinations, which can be more crowded during January and February when vacationers want to get away from the cold. Family-friendly places will be busier when school’s out. Be sure to do your homework and try to be flexible. You want to travel in the off-season when airfare and hotel prices are lower, the weather is still good, businesses are open, and there are lots of activities and events still happening, but there are less people around.