Budget Travel Hacks to Stretch your Vacation Dollar
Staycation is an Option
That might not sound exciting but it’s often the cheapest option because there are no travel or flight costs and no accommodation costs. But don’t just sit at home. The trick is to do activities that you wouldn’t normally do. For example, most people haven’t been to their own town’s tourist attractions since they were on grade school field trips.
But let’s assume that you want to get away from home and go somewhere. How can you keep your travel budget in check?
Here’s what you can do before your Vacation.
- Save – regularly put money aside during the year in a separate account.
- Join an airline miles program and try to link a credit card airline program to it if you can.
- Search for flights and hotels online in ‘incognito’ mode. This is where you can surf the web without your browsing history being recorded. Sometimes when you come back to look at a flight or hotel, the prices have gone up because your browsing history has been tracked and the company knows you’re interested.
- Search a number of discount travel sights like Groupon and cheapflights.com to compare prices.
- Be flexible with your dates. For example, it’s often cheaper to fly midweek rather than on a weekend.
- It can also be cheaper to travel during ‘shoulder periods’ which fall either side of a peak period, like Spring Break or the week after Thanksgiving.
- Think about the airport that you’ll fly into. Some of the less popular airports that are just outside the city might actually be cheaper, cheap enough to offset the transfer costs to your hotel.
- When you’re thinking about accommodation, consider alternatives to hotels which can be pricey. Check out sites like Couchsurfing and Airbnb or you can even try housesitting.com.
- But if you really want a hotel or resort experience consider an all-inclusive vacation which may end up being cheaper because it includes your food and some even include your drinks.
- Finally, don’t forget to look for discounts like military, senior, or student discount. It never hurts to ask.
You can save money during your Vacation too.
- Once you’re away, embrace the public transport system wherever you are to get around.
- If your meals aren’t included, head to the supermarket for breakfast and lunch supplies to save on meals. Find a park and have a picnic.
- Alternatively, eat your largest meal for lunch at a restaurant when meals may be cheaper thank in the evening.
- Skip the international phone plan while traveling abroad. Use Wi-Fi at the local cafes or at your hotel to send texts and emails, and update your social media. To make calls use an app on your phone such as Viber or What’s App.
- There are other useful apps like Gasbuddy for finding the best gas prices when you’re road tripping in the US.
- You can save on your activities to by searching online for free or low cost activities. An example is that many museums have a “Free Day” once a month which may fit in with your schedule. Again Groupon is a good place to find local deals for activities.
- Take it easy with the souvenirs. Try to purchase something that has a practical purpose. My favorite go to is a Christmas tree decoration.
Find more tips from Navicore Solutions here and watch their Budget Travel Hacks video below!
Lori Stratford is the Social Media Strategist at Navicore Solutions. She promotes the reach of Navicore’s financial education to the public through social media and blog content.