Most people have to scrimp and save to go on vacation. That’s why it’s so important to get your money’s worth when you do travel. Fortunately, there are several easy ways to cut down on your travel costs. Use these tips and tricks to ensure that you get a great deal on your next vacation.
1. Time Your Trip Right
Perhaps the most important part of traveling on a budget is timing your trip to get the best deal. One of the biggest factors in travel costs is whether you’re going during peak travel times or not. By traveling during the off-season, you can save hundreds of dollars just on flight and hotel reservations. Research what times of the year are the best for traveling to your specific destination. For example, European vacations are often cheaper during the spring and early summer and Caribbean cruise prices tend to drop in the fall.
In addition to choosing the right time of year to travel, you’ll also want to get the timing right for booking your trip. Airline tickets are generally cheapest on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. In addition, flight and hotel prices sometimes drop when you book right after a holiday. Don’t wait until the last minute to book unless you’re specifically looking for last-minute deals.
2. Bundle Your Trip
Some travelers like to look for individual deals on their flight, hotel and car rental, but you can actually save quite a bit by purchasing a vacation package. According to National Geographic, travelers can save up to 30 percent on a vacation package compared to paying for each part of the trip separately.
Another way to save on certain vacations is to book a room at an all-inclusive resort. If you plan to get most of your meals and drinks on-site, this is an excellent way to save on those extra costs that tend to add up over the course of a trip. Plus, you’ll see how much you’re spending up front, which makes it easier to budget for your vacation. Even if you’re not going to an all-inclusive resort, you can save by booking a hotel that includes free breakfast or a free airport shuttle.
3. Become a Member
Membership can have some serious perks when it comes to travel. Whether you sign-up for a credit card with travel points, become a AAA member or use some other type of membership, it’s critical to use your membership status to get a discount whenever possible. If you are a frequent traveler, these types of memberships should be a priority. For infrequent travelers, make sure the costs of membership are less than the amount you’ll be able to save.
In some cases, you won’t even have to spend money on a membership in order to get certain discounts. Everyone from veterans to students to seniors can also get discounts on travel from many airlines, hotels and other travel services. In these cases, it may help to call directly rather than trying to book online.
4. Don’t Overspend on Small Purchases
Small purchases can add up quickly on a trip, but they’re usually easy to avoid. One of the culprits here are the extras charged by airlines, hotels and other travel services. These types of charges can include everything from in-room Wi-Fi to checked bag fees. Do your research before booking to find out what extra charges you may face. Factor in these charges to see which option is truly the best deal.
Another way travelers lose money to small purchases is poor planning. When packing for your trip, make sure you bring everything you need so you won’t have to buy something at an expensive airport or tourist shop. Common expenses that could be avoided in this category include buying a sweater or jacket when not packing warm enough clothing or purchasing expensive in-flight meals instead of packing a cheap snacks or sandwiches for the flight.
5. Sign Up For Deal Sites
Any savvy traveler knows that it’s helpful to subscribe to a few deal websites when planning your trip. Certain sites like Groupon Getaway and TravelZoo offer travel packages at discount rates. You can get daily emails with these deals or check their websites regularly to see if there are any good deals for your destination.
In addition to deal sites geared specifically towards travel, you can also subscribe to deal sites for your specific destination. Websites like Groupon and Living Social allow you to sign-up for deals from a specific city. You can often find great discounts on local restaurants, museums and other fun attractions. Watch for deals that you can use during your vacation (and be sure to check that they won’t expire before your trip there).
With these tips, traveling on a budget doesn’t have to affect the quality of your trip. Take the time to plan ahead and look for great deals and you’ll be able to enjoy a fun vacation without overspending.