Vacations are meant to be a time of rest and relaxation, not to stress about finances. Fortunately, there are several ways to have a memorable experience without worrying about money the entire time.
No matter what type of trip you plan to take, there are ways to manage a cost effective vacation by planning accordingly. Here are 6 ways to save on your summer travel and still get the most out of your trip:
1. Do your research
Your destination and desired travel dates will have a direct impact on the price of your trip. Take the time to compare and contrast months of travel, airline prices and hotel deals for the destinations you’re considering. There are many travel comparison websites that do the work for you and provide packaged deals for lodging and airfare. According to Alexa, five of the top ranked travel websites are1:
You can also sign up for free email alerts from travel websites to get notified when special deals are being offered.
2. Consider a road trip
If your destination is within driving distance, you can potentially save some money by hitting the road. According to AAA2, Americans paid the cheapest quarterly gas prices in twelve years during the first three months of 2016. If you know the fuel economy (miles per gallon) of your vehicle, you should be able estimate what your fuels costs would be roundtrip. Here are a few additional reasons why a road trip could be a great idea:
- Spend more time with family and friends
- Take a detour and see additional sights
- Save money on not renting a car or paying for taxis at your destination
3. Find an all-inclusive resort
If you find a great deal at an all-inclusive resort and you’ve researched the company, it may be a great opportunity to save money. Many all-inclusive resorts offer one flat price for most of the expensive costs of vacationing: food, drinks (alcohol included) and entertainment. Some packages even incorporate airfare and local activities. Knowing the set price for each person makes it a lot easier to budget. Once you get your wristband at the resort, you know the basics are covered.
4. Look for free entertainment
If this is your first time traveling to the area, research and ask around for cheap or free entertainment ideas. Museums, art galleries and street festivals are great ways to connect with local culture without spending a lot of money. If all else fails, head out for a walk and tour the area. Every turn can make for a new adventure.
5. Bring or make your own food
Another simple way to save money is to pack your own food or buy groceries at your destination. Going out for breakfast, lunch and dinner for two can cost you upwards of $100/day. It’s fun to go out and experience the local cuisine, but do so at a reasonable rate. Try these meal and snack suggestions to balance out the costs of dining out:
- Take your own cookware - A flat iron skillet, electric grill and microwave can go a long way. Even if you can only bring one of these appliances, you should be able to create a suitable meal plan.
- Pack a cooler - Packing a cooler with fruit, meats and cold beverages can add up to a lot of savings. You can even prepare soups and brown meat ahead of time to bring along and reheat later.
- Shop on location - Research some appetizing recipes that are unique to the local cuisine. Plan your shopping list ahead of time and search for the nearest grocery. Gather your travel mates and make your meal together!
6. Create an itinerary and set a daily budget
Not having a plan for each day can lead to a lot of unnecessary spending. Even if you do plan a more expensive dinner or excursion, you can at least compensate by being thrifty the rest of the day. Being spontaneous is fun, but try your best to be mindful of how much you are spending as a result.After you determine your itinerary for each day, set a daily budget for yourself. Leaving the hotel with a set amount of spending dollars may make you think twice about your purchases.
You don’t have to save up a fortune to go on vacation nor must you spend a fortune while on vacation to have a good time. If you plan properly and mind your spending, you could return home with a lot of new memories without breaking the bank.