Affordable vacations: How to travel on the cheap

dreamvacation.jpg

Tips for how to save on everything from transportation to hotels to airfare.

Tired of the “staycation?” Travel can be affordable, even for families. Here are some tips on how to create an affordable vacation.

Save on airfare

Airfare is one of your biggest travel expenses. But there are ways to find cheap airfare:

  • Be flexible with your dates. If you are able to be flexible with your travel dates, you can find some great deals. Traveling during the off-season can save you even more.
  • Be flexible with your destination. If you’re just looking to go somewhere, but don’t really care where, you can take advantage of advertised deals to determine your destination.
  • Shop around. Check several different websites, such as Expedia, Travelocity, SideStep and Kayak. Once you find a deal, check out that airline’s website. Often, you can find the same deal without the extra booking charges. It’s a good idea to check out the airlines’ websites anyway as not all airlines participate in the discount sites.
  • Sign up for airfare alerts. Many airlines and discount sites will alert you when a discount pops up. Simply sign up and indicate which cities you’re interested in.
  • Book a travel package. Check out air and hotel packages. Buying together can be less expensive than purchasing separately.
  • Travel light. It’s almost impossible these days to get around paying for your luggage, but the less you take the less you pay. Try to keep it to one bag per person.

Save on your hotel

Here are some tips to get a hotel room for cheap, without having to stay at a cheap hotel:

  • Book early to get the best rate and the best room.
  • Comparison shop. Hotel rates can vary widely between their website, toll free number and reservation desk. Check all three to find the best rate.
  • Stay mid-week. Weekends are much more expensive than weekdays.
  • Consider hotel amenities. Focusing just on the lowest price may not get you the best deal. Amenities like a free continental breakfast, shuttle service, and a pool can save you money in the long run.
  • Ask for a discount. Let the hotel know you’re considering staying with them, but found a better price elsewhere and see if they can offer you a deal.
  • Avoid the hotel. Instead, check into home exchanges or vacation home rentals. You can often find better deals and you have access to a kitchen, which can help reduce your food costs.

Save on food

Travelers tend to spend more money on food than they realize. But if you plan ahead, you can eat on the cheap and often have a much more memorable experience.

  • Go native. If you’re staying in a hotel with a kitchenette, considering shopping at the local farmer’s market and making your meals in your room.
  • Breakfast at a bakery. Bakeries typically offer meals at a lower cost than restaurants.
  • Gorge on lunch. Want to sample the local cuisine? Lunch can cost considerably less than dinner at most restaurants.
  • Shop at the supermarket. Go to the local grocery store to pick up easy-to-carry snacks that will keep you going throughout the day. This will reduce the temptation to buy pricier items in tourist areas.
  • Pack a picnic. While you’re at the grocery store or farmer’s market, pick up some supplies for a picnic lunch or dinner. Relax on a park bench and take in the scenes around you.

     

Save on local transportation

Booking your rental car with your airfare can help save you money. But there ways to ditch the rental car altogether and save money.

  • Use public transportation. Skip the taxi and hop on the bus, light rail or subway. Not only will you get the local experience but you’ll also be treated to a ride through areas you may not have otherwise seen—and you’ll save a pretty penny too!
  • Buy a pass. Many cities, especially in Europe, offer deals that let you board the local transportation as often as you need to.
  • Use your feet. Walking is one of the best ways to take in the local scenery and culture. It takes longer, but often provides you with the best experience.

     

Don’t forget to pack your technology

The latest travel apps for your smartphone can also help save you money during your vacation. The Priceline Hotel Negotiator app enables you to book a hotel room last minute on the cheap. And the Kayak app can help you find the best deals on hotels, flights and car rentals while you’re on the go.

Related Articles

Source: smartertravel.com, frugalliving.about.com, Associated Content, moneysmartlife.com, USA Today, moneyning.com, pcmag.com
Search All Articles
Related Articles
No Child Left Behind Increases Parents' Choices
Nclb_thHow No Child Left Behind provides educational choices
No Child Left Behind and Charter Schools
Apple_thHow Charter Schools work with the No Child Left Behind law
No Child Left Behind and School Safety
Books_thWhy No School Left Behind will make schools safer and more drug-free
Are You Ready for Earthquakes?
Areyouready_030_thHow to be better prepared in an Earthquake

More...
Most Popular
Egg Safety
EggsthumbEgg-associated illness caused by Salmonella is a serious public health problem.
Association Consistency Key To Success
ConsistencyiskeythumbPerhaps the most frustrating thing for a customer is inconsistent service.
Drones! Does your HOA need rules addressing Drones?
DroneDrones have been attracting a lot of attention in the last few years, along with some criticism from certain HOAs
Ten Tips to Protect Children from Poisonings
PoisoncontrolthumbThese simple steps can help you save children from environmental hazards around the home

More...

Zip Code Profiler

Neighborhoods, Home Values, Schools, City & State Data, Sex Offender Lists, more.

Instant Home Value!