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5 Guaranteed Ways to Save Money on Your Next Vacation

6349188556_c998ba345a_zTaking 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.

Pack Properly

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.

Consider Driving

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

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John Schmoll is a Dad, husband and veteran of the financial services industry. He's passionate about helping people learn from his mistakes so that they can live lives free from the shackles of debt and empowered to make their money work for them. You can check out his other sites: Frugal Rules, for ways to improve your financial literacy; and Sprout Wealth for tips on different ways to make more money. John has been featured on Forbes, Lifehacker, Yahoo Finance and US News & World Report and more. If you're wanting to grow your blog, check out my blog coaching services to see how I can help you take your site to the next level.

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9 comments

  1. We save money a couple of ways. One way is that we work camping into some trips. It’s way more cost effective than a hotel. If we’re driving somewhere and can bring the camping stuff then it’s a great way to save.

    The second way is that we only eat one meal a day at restaurants. Usually breakfast and lunch are simple meals made from food from grocery stores.

    • I think if you’re open to the idea of camping, that can be a great way to save money on vacation.

      We like to do that a lot as well Thomas. We try to stay somewhere that offers a good breakfast, or somewhere that has a kitchen. That way we’re only eating out once per day max.

  2. I always try to stay places where I can cook my own food and that saves me loads of money. I know vacation is all about sitting back and getting pampered, but those meals really start to add up.

    • We’re the exact same Petrish. When you start adding in kids the meals can really add up. We throw in a few meals out, but by and large we eat food we’ve brought or prepared there ourselves.

  3. I miss the days of being able to travel during the off times. My hubby is a teacher and my son is in school, so if we want to travel we have to travel with everyone else. Before my hubby went back to teaching and my son was born, we would travel during the week and odd seasons and got some amazing deals.

    • My youngest brother is just starting to see that now being in his second year as a teacher. We try to plan things as a family but he is limited in what we can do. That said, I love being able to travel when no one else is – it helps not having to deal with the crowds.

  4. One way I have saved on travel is I stay where there are no tourist. For example, last summer my fiancé and I went to Jamaica and stayed in a guest house that was located in a parish that was far from any of the attractions. We paid $200 USD for our entire stay versus the $2100 we would have paid if we had stayed in Montego Bay at a tourist resort. Some resorts were even $500 per night.

    If we wanted to go somewhere we would pay $2 for the bus. The house was located next to a field so when there was a soccer game or a party, we watched from the porch or walked over and danced the night away. So for accommodations, transportation, entertainment and food we spent around $500.

    Another way to save money if you’re travelling internationally, is to check the exchange rate before you go and don’t use the booth in the airport. They use a rate that is lower and charge you a fee.

  5. Go to places with more things to see than do. DC is pricey for hotels, but most of its attractions are free or suggested donations. Vegas has a bunch to see and do that isn’t gambling, and hotels can be cheap — especially if you avoid weekends.

    Also, when possible it’s best to choose a place with great public transportation, so you don’t necessarily need a car.

  6. Planning is really my thing. Before the vacation, I plan everything like where I am gonna stay, places I am gonna visit, things I will need, and a lot more, even the food I am gonna have each day because I call some restaurants for reservation. By the way, most of the time I don’t take a cab, I am more on walking just to embrace the place, like what I did in Thailand.

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