Taking a vacation is one of the best parts of the year for many families – that is, if they can afford one. If you are looking forward to taking a trip but want to make sure you don’t break your budget at the same time, it is helpful to plan ahead and use some simply money-saving strategies.
You want to be able to enjoy your trip as much as possible, and you aren’t going to have very much fun if you are worried about money the whole time you are away.
Here are five simple tips to save money on your next vacation.
You can run into unexpected costs during your trip if you fail to pack all of the items you will need along the way. Having to buy something that you already own, but left at home, is a needless cost that will add to the overall expense of your vacation. By taking the time to carefully think about what you need to pack before leaving, you should be able to mostly avoid these unwanted costs later on.
Stay a Little Farther Away
If you are taking a trip to a specific destination such as a national park or an amusement park, the most expensive lodging is likely to be right next to the attraction. If you are willing to stay a short distance away, you could save hundreds of dollars over the course of your vacation.
Sure it might take you a little longer each day to get where you want to go, but the savings just might be worth it. This is why I like using travel sites like Priceline so much. You can input your destination and they’ll tell you what each region averages which allows you to find a cheaper alternative.
Travel on the “Edges”
Traveling during peak times will always cost more. For example, while all of summer is a popular time to take vacations, the middle portion between the Fourth of July and the middle of August tends to be the busiest – and the most expensive.
If your schedule allows, look at planning your trip for late June or the end of August to early September. You probably won’t get huge discounts using this strategy, but you may be able to save a small amount over traveling during the height of the season.
Plan More Downtime
Just because you are on vacation doesn’t mean you have to be going non-stop from activity to activity the whole time. In fact, some of the most enjoyable times can take place when you are simply relaxing with friends and family. Since most vacation activities cost money, planning some downtime into your itinerary can save you money as well.
Depending on how far you are traveling, it might be feasible to drive to your destination rather than fly. Usually, driving will save you money over the course of the trip since you won’t have to rent a car once you arrive. However, do the math for yourself and decide if driving is actually worth the effort in order to lower the overall cost of the trip. Driving may not save you money if you plan to travel hack for your next vacation.
What are some other ways you like to save money on vacation? Do you budget for vacations, or do you just go when you have the money? What trips do you have planned this year?
Photo courtesy of: Daniel Go