Does a vacation seem out of reach to you because you are on a budget? Well, kudos to you for sticking to your plan and staying on the right financial track but remember, you have got to live a little too. Thankfully, you can have your cake and eat it too if you are smart about your travel planning. Check out a few simple vacation tips that can help you unwind without stressing over money.
1. Be Smart About Your Flight
This is one of the biggest areas that you can save when traveling and the key is choosing the right flight time and booking your flight on the right day.
The best time to actually book your flight will depend on the season, according to cheapair.com. In the Winter, you want to book 62 days in advance, book your Spring flight 90 days ahead of time, Summer calls for 47 days of forethought and in the Fall get it done 69 days before you want to fly. Sounds crazy, but you can not argue with numbers.
As for the flight time, you need to aim for off-peak flight times if you want to save. The best days to fly are Tuesday and Wednesday and you need to fly out very early in the morning. You will be taking the flights that nobody else wants but your pocketbook will thank you.
2. Cut Out Airport Parking
You have got to get to the airport somehow and this can be another big expense.
For most travelers, getting there involves driving themselves and then paying for expensive airport parking. While there are ways to score some discount airport parking, it could still end up costing you well over $100 for a week-long trip.
For those of us that are budget conscious, a ride to the airport represents a better deal. An Uber ride is often a cheaper and more convenient choice. For just $20 to $25 each way, you can get dropped off right at the terminal with no parking fuss. It will also save you an easy $60 or more over parking fees and your vehicle can stay home all nice and secure.
3. Sleep On The Cheap
Hotel costs can quickly turn a cheap vacation into a budget buster.
When choosing a hotel, keep in mind that you will in all likelihood only be sleeping there. No need to spring for a hotel with all the bells and whistles. If you just wanted to hang around the pool all day, why are you traveling in the first place.
Scoring the best rate on your simple accommodations will take a bit of leg work but you will love the results. Visit your favorite hotel deal websites and pick out two or three bargains in the area that you want to stay. Note the price and where you found it and then pick up the phone.
Call the hotels and tell them the price that you found and ask if they can beat it. This should work in most cases since the hotel will not have to pay the websites money. You are actually saving them money which should result in an additional savings passes down to yo.
4. Save On Activities
Yes, you will need some form of entertainment on a vacation but it does not have to cost much.
First, be sure to hit up all of the free or nearly free activities such as museums and national monuments. Local parks are fun as is just taking a casual walk through the city sucking up the local culture. Spend a few dollars on a bike share and really get to know a city.
Do your research ahead of time and find out where the locals eat. Stay away from the Planet Hollywood type places that are just overpriced tourist traps. Dine like a local and get better regional food for a cheaper price.
When it does come time to spend, take advantage of vouchers from websites like Groupon or Living Social. You can realize savings of up to 80 percent and the business owners will be happy to have you. The great thing about these websites is the variety of attractions available and they often feature some very off the wall activities.