You’ve done the nearly impossible. You’ve halted your busy schedule to make time for yourself and your family! You’re going on vacation and we all know there’s nothing quite like it. It’s an opportunity for you to relax, be present and focus on making great memories with your loved ones. All of your cares and worries are left back at home… but are they really? No matter how great vacationing feels, there’s always a little stress hanging in the back of your mind. Is your vacation going to blow your savings? Have you gone over your budget? If this sound familiar, we’ve got some helpful tips coming your way!
Vacation isn’t the time to worry about finances and with these 10 tips and tricks, you’ll be well on your way to maximizing the potential of your next getaway!
10 Ways to Save Money While Traveling
- Be flexible. When choosing your vacation destination and planning your trip, be flexible! This can be incorporated into your travel in so many ways. If you are flying to your destination, flexibility is a must! Flying midweek (we hear Tuesday’s are best) can save you hundreds and reduce the amount of airport traffic you’ll see. Another important thing to keep in mind if you’re looking to save money is don’t travel during peak season. Spending Fourth of July at the beach may sound like a great idea, but it can also break the bank (check out our post on the Off-Season Vacations to learn more!) By being flexible and creating this wiggle room in your travel plans, you can bank some major savings.
- Location, location, location! Another important money saving tip for when you are planning your travels is to pay attention to the location of your accommodations. Is this resort close to your ideal area and the activities you plan on doing? Transportation costs can add up! If you are staying a little farther out, check on local transportation options and even car service pricing like Uber and Lyft (they can often be cheaper than a rental).
- Setting a budget/pay in cash. Once you’ve decided where you want to vacation, it’s important to create a budget for yourself. Having an idea of how much you have to spend will help keep you in check throughout your trip. Paying in cash is also a great way to stick to a budget. Try setting aside envelopes with the amount of money you have budgeted for each activity. If you aren’t a fan of traveling with cash, use your cards wisely! Chose to pay with a card where you can receive rewards like cash back or flight mileage.
- Book a room with a kitchenette or kitchen. This tip can lead to big savings! We all know how expensive it can be to take a family of four out to dinner. Having the option to eat dinner in for a few nights or even prepare your lunches to take with you during the day, can help keep you from an expensive restaurant tab. To feel like you aren’t missing out on the local food scene, stop by a Farmer’s Market and shop locally for your meal ingredients. If you can find accommodations that include a washer and dryer, that’s an added savings bonus!
- Book in advance. When you are planning out your vacation activities, do some research. Booking tickets in advance can save you some money, as prices are only going to go up the closer to your travel date!
- Call before you book. Don’t see any discounts on any of the activities you were planning on doing? Give the company a call. It can’t hurt to ask if there’s any deals they can offer you or if they will price match certain tickets.
- Look for free activities. Be sure to check out local event calendars for your destination. The majority of these activities are free and welcome to all, giving you the opportunity to partake in something local and experience the areas culture! Museums, self-guided tours of the area, and National Parks are also a great way to add something unique to your trip at no cost!
- Avoid the unnecessary extras. While we know sometimes these things can seem mindless and easily fall through the cracks, putting a little more focus on added expenses can mean travel savings! This can include things like ATM transaction fees (another reason why traveling with cash can lead to savings!), not checking bags when flying and bringing your own snacks and reusable water bottles to save at both the Airport and on vacation. Eliminating some of these extras is a simple step to take when you are wanting to cut back on your travel expenses.
- Experiences over material items. An important thing to remember during your travels is that the experiences and the memories you make with your family and friends are far more important than anything material. This is both a tip for helping you to get the most out of your vacation but also out of your budget. Having a great experience at the amusement park is something you can keep memories of forever, but is the $30 tshirt really going to add to that time you shared together?
- Travel together! An effortless way to split costs is to travel with another family or set of friends. Dividing up the costs of things like gas, lodging and groceries can help reduce your spending with the added bonus of great travel companions!
We hope that these tips help you to get started planning a worry free and money saving vacation!