Though a vacation may be a luxury and not a necessity, giving your children memories or taking a break from the daily grind are an important part of long-term happiness. Unfortunately, vacations can be quite costly, especially if you’re trying to create a memorable experience for an entire family.
To help you out, we’ve compiled our top money-saving vacation tips to help you get the most out of your vacation without breaking the bank.
Timing is Everything
Like most things, saving money on your vacation is heavily influenced by timing. Tourist locations are seasonal, so you can save big by booking your flight, hotel and attractions during mid- or low periods. Choosing less-desirable times and dates for your flights and hotels can help as well, such as incredibly early, late-night or midweek flights and offset dates for your hotel stay. You can also put in flexible travel dates and compare the differences between shifting your week from a Tuesday to Tuesday as opposed to a Saturday to Saturday, for example.
Rent a House
For families, a home-rental option makes far more sense than a hotel room, and it costs less. With rental sites like VRBO, HomeAway and AirBnB, you get more space for you and your family, as well as saving a lot on the average cost of a hotel room to accommodate the same number of people. Renting a home also allows you to cook your own meals and avoid any additional fees associated with parking, which can really add up.
Share a Rental Home
If you’re traveling with other family members, consider renting a much larger rental home and lower the cost-per-head for everyone. These large rental homes often have some exciting perks as well, such as hot tubs and pools, so you always have a way to occupy the kids between attractions.
Avoid Long-Distance Charges
If you’re traveling out of the country or in an area outside your cell phone carrier’s range, avoid roaming charges by using a web-based communication app like Skype or Viber. These free apps let you message and call just like your normal cell phone, but use the area Wi-Fi network that is usually available in any public area.
Search for Local Deals
Sites like Groupon or Living Social can give you coupons and discounts for local attractions and restaurants, so you can find deals that work well with your existing itinerary. You can also look in the local newspaper or fliers to find discount coupons for the popular attractions in the area.
Use Discount Travel Sites to Plan
Many of these discount airfare and hotel sites, like Kayak and Airfare Watchdog, let you sign up for notifications that alert you to current deals and specials on airfare and hotels for your destination. You can also sign up for notifications from discount sites to get deals on attractions in the area.
Ask About Discounts
Third-party discount sites are great for getting significant savings, but you can also get discounted rates directly from the hotel. Call and ask about the rates for any membership you may hold, such as AAA, as well as any specials they may be running.
Buy Advance Tickets
Many attractions sell advance tickets at a discounted price, so if you know you’re looking to go to the local museums or theme parks, buy your tickets online and save. You may also want to consider a local discount card if it covers most of the attractions you’re looking to visit.
Search for Free Attractions
Local libraries often host entertainment events, like plays or live music, that are free or inexpensive to attend. Look in the local paper or call the local library to see what events are running, and you may find a few exciting new events to add to your itinerary.
Now that many airlines are adding extra baggage fees to the cost of a flight, packing strategically is a must to keep your vacation expenses down. Only pack the necessities and clothing that can be mixed and matched, so you can just do a few loads of laundry and save on all the extra luggage.
Limit Dining Out
If you decide to rent a house, you’re in good shape as far as dining costs go. If you’re going with a hotel, you can still store quick, simple foods in the mini-fridge for low-cost meals, such as cold cuts, vegetable trays or fruit salad, for one less meal you need to eat in a restaurant. You can also pack a cooler for theme parks to save on the exorbitant costs of theme-park food. This way, your budget can go toward more fun or a dinner splurge.
Save on the Bar Tab
Like food, keeping your own beer, liquor or wine in your room for cocktails can help you keep the cost of high-priced restaurant cocktails down while you’re unwinding and enjoying your vacation. The mini-fridge in a hotel room will do, but having a rental house lets you enjoy your drinks alongside your own home-cooked meal.
Choose Authentic Souvenirs
Souvenirs are a great way for you and your kids to remember the trip, but they’re often overpriced and generic. Instead of buying the logo souvenirs from attractions, pick up authentic pieces from street fairs, outdoor marketplaces or street artists, so you have a bit of local flavor that commemorates the trip without costing you an arm and a leg.
Compare a Ride-Share Service to a Rental Car Cost
If you’re traveling to an area with an abundance of Uber or Lyft drivers, it may be less expensive in the long run to get rides everywhere than to pay the daily price of a rental car. Be sure to consider the parking fees as well, which you won’t need to worry about with rides. Getting someone familiar with the area has its own benefits as well, since they may be able to make recommendations and you won’t need to worry about getting lost.
Visit Koster Cash Loans
As you can see, saving money on your vacation is surprisingly easy when you know where to look. By using our money-saving vacation tips, you’ll be able to give your family the vacation of a lifetime and enjoy the experience without stressing about your budget.
Would a cash loan help you get a little more out of your vacation? Visit Koster Cash Loans to learn more about our cash loans, payday loans and installment loans, and see if these options will help you take your vacation to the next level. Fill out our quick, secure online application to get started!