Save money for your vacation: There’s no denying that travel can be expensive. There’s the cost of actual travel — whether flying, driving, or taking a train. Then there’s the cost of lodging, food, and entertainment once you’ve reached your destination. However, travel doesn’t have to break the bank. This article outlines eight ways you can keep your travel costs down and still have a great time.
1. Travel During the Off-Season
Some locations are more popular at certain times of year, and travel destinations are more expensive when demand is high. Choosing when to travel can save you a great deal of money. When thinking about your destination, consider selecting an off-peak time to travel.
For example, traveling to Mexico in March is going to be expensive. March is right in the midst of Spring Break, when many high school and college students travel to sunny locales. However, costs often decrease when you visit a beach location in the fall. To keep costs down, research your destination and determine which months are least busy. Book your vacation during that time.
2. Bring Your Pet
Boarding your pet can be costly, and even more so if you have multiple animals. That’s why it’s important to weigh all your options, including taking your pet with you on vacation. Traveling with a pet can save you money and time. Plus, it will give you peace of mind since you aren’t leaving your furry companion with a stranger.
When taking your pet along, keep pet safety in mind. If you’re driving, it’s important to take frequent breaks and consider a secure location for your pet. If you’re flying, check to see what kind of documents you need for air travel. Regardless of how you get to your destination, make sure your pet’s vaccinations, identification tags, and chip documentation are up-to-date.
3. Consider Lodging Options
Hotels aren’t your only lodging choice when getting away. Consider a hostel or a bed-and-breakfast. You can also rent someone’s home through a peer-to-peer rental site. There are plenty of options, with varying price points. Multiple platforms will allow you to see what type of housing is available.
If you’re looking for a home away from home, check out Airbnb, but also consider other sites like VRBO, FlipKey, and Onefinestay. If you want to stay in a hotel, check Expedia, Hotel.com, and Priceline, to name a few. Do your research and compare prices to ensure you’re getting the best deal.
4. Cook Your Own Food
One of the best parts about travel is trying new cuisine. But eating at a restaurant for breakfast, lunch, and dinner can be costly. It can also take away from time to see the sights or simply relax. And if you are traveling with friends or family, constant decisions about where to eat can cause angst.
If you have selected a rental house or hotel with a kitchen, consider making some of your meals. You can still check out some local restaurants, but adding a kitchen to the mix can save some serious dough. It also cuts down on the headaches that come from trying to figure out where to eat.
5. Review Your Credit Card
Before you go on vacation, make sure your bank knows you will be in a different state or nation. Some banks automatically freeze accounts if they notice unusual purchases like charges from another country. The last thing you want is to be denied access to your money when you’re on vacation.
If you’re traveling out of the country, review your credit card contract to see whether your bank charges a foreign transaction fee. If so, you might want to take out cash before you get to your destination or use another card. This is also true for ATM fees. Make sure you know whether there are ATMs available and what costs are associated with their use.
6. Create a Budget
One of the best ways to save money while traveling is to create a budget before you leave. If you have the expense figures from your last vacation, use those as a starting point. If you don’t, review your finances to determine how much you can safely spend on this vacation. Once you have that number (your maximum budget), create a more detailed budget.
For instance, group your expenses into categories, including food, lodging, and travel. Then, based on your maximum budget, decide how much you can spend in each category. This information helps you plan for your vacation with fewer financial surprises.
7. Open a Separate Bank Account
A great hack to help you save money for your vacation is to open a separate bank account. Then set up an auto-transfer to that new account after each paycheck. You don’t have to put aside a large sum each month. By saving money consistently, though, you can make certain you have money to fund your desire to travel.
When setting up an account, consider multiple banking options. Checking accounts are easy to use, but it’s possible a savings account might be better. Depending on how long you anticipate saving before you use the cash, you might even consider a CD. Make sure to research multiple banks as well.
8. Be Flexible
To save money, be flexible. While you might prefer traveling on a specific airline and staying at a specific hotel, those might be more expensive options.
You can still have an amazing vacation while sticking to a budget for your trip. If you spend a bit more to travel on your favorite airline, make adjustments to other travel expenses, such as accommodations, food, or entertainment. The more flexible you are, the easier it’ll be to save money.
From choosing the right destination at the right time to cooking your own food, the tips above will help save money when you travel. Your post-vacation glow will last longer when you don’t return to a mountain of bills.