Heading out alone or with a few close friends for a vacation can be incredibly liberating. Having time to do as you please, catch up with friends, explore a new city and make memories is an enticing and difficult opportunity to pass up!
But, we all know just how expensive traveling can be. Between buying a plane ticket or playing for gas, paying for a hotel, buying two or three meals a day, shopping and spending money to see the sights, your pocket is noticeably lighter after a vacation.
Learning to vacation on a budget means you’ll not only save money when you travel, but you can do it more often since you’ll have extra cash to spare. Check out these few tips for ways to be a penny pinching traveler!
- Travel During the Off-Season: Traveling during Spring Break weeks, federal holidays or the summertime means you’ll probably have to pay higher rates for just about everything. If you can manage to sneak away from work or school and travel at an off-peak time, you’ll save a lot of money. Weekend trips to a close destination during an off-peak time are great ways to save money. Businesses like Chicago hotels still need to make money year-round, so they’ll be willing to offer you rooms at lower rates!
- Find Travel Packages: If you’re going on a bigger trip, something of a farther destination or a longer duration, using the services offered by websites like Kayak or Travelocity will be your best bet. You can book a flight, rental car and hotel all in one, saving you both time and money. Groupon Getaways also offers amazing deals on trips all over the world.
- Coupons, Discounts, Promotions: Before you leave, do your research and find discounts for any attractions you might be interested in. Find out if there is a ticket booklet or city pass you can buy, to see everything for one price. Beware of any tourist traps, and only spend money on things you surely want to do or see. Also, if you’re willing to go early or late, many museums or parks will offer discounted fees early in the morning or right before close. If you don’t want to spend all day at one spot, taking advantage of a time sensitive discount can save you almost half.
- Eat Out Less: A lot of dollars are spent on buying food during vacations. While most hotels offer free breakfast, you’re still on your own for the other two meals, and you’re probably going to enjoy a sit-down dinner for at least one. For longer vacations, these meals can really add up. If you’re staying in a hotel with a kitchen, cooking meals can be a great alternative to eating out. You can also packs snacks to munch on throughout the day, to avoid buying food or spending and eating less if you decide to purchase a meal.
Traveling and having a great vacation doesn’t have to be expensive. Being smart about where and how you spend your money, taking time to plan and saving bucks here and there can mean even more vacations will be in your future! Bon voyage!
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