couple relaxing by the pool on vacation

7 Money Saving Ways to Plan a Vacation on a Budget

As the pandemic slowly comes to an end, more people than ever are heading out to travel. After all, it’s a great time to make the most of those opportunities! Unfortunately, the increase in travel may also mean that the cost of travel is going up. Are you interested in finding ways that you can reduce your travel costs as you head out on vacation this year? Try some of these great tips.

1. Stay in a condo, not a hotel.

If you’re traveling with more people than will fit in a standard-sized hotel room, a condo is often less expensive than renting enough hotel rooms for your family or party outright. Staying in a condo also has other key advantages that can help cut costs while you’re traveling: access to facilities much like the ones you would use at home.

Need to do your laundry while you’re on vacation? Most condos come complete with a washer and dryer.

Want to cut some of your meal costs–and avoid the high-calorie meals you’ll often find in restaurants? Condos are equipped with full kitchens, which means that you can prepare many of your own meals in your rental house, rather than having to go out to an expensive restaurant for every meal.


2. Cut some of the money you’re spending on food. 

Food is often one of the biggest costs you’ll face while you’re on vacation. You’ve got the cost of road trip food (all those snacks at the gas station add up fast!), the cost of snacks, and, of course, breakfast, lunch, and dinner on the go. Fortunately, you don’t have to break the bank with those meals while you’re on vacation. Instead, try some of these strategies to reduce your overall food costs.


Check your hotel’s continental breakfast.

Many hotels will offer free breakfast to travelers who are staying there. Take a look at what your hotel has to offer!


Choose one meal a day (preferably lunch) to eat out.

Instead of eating all of your meals at a restaurant while you’re on vacation, choose one meal a day for your splurge meal. Prices are often cheaper at lunchtime than they are at dinner, making it the ideal time to splurge on a great meal at a new restaurant. For the others, try packing some of your own snacks and smaller items–or stopping at a grocery store to pick some up at your destination. Check out what the hotel has to offer. If you have a mini fridge and a microwave, you can prepare a lot of simple meals in the hotel. Try granola bars, oatmeal, or cereal for breakfast and sandwiches for dinner. Don’t have a fridge in your room? Consider options like peanut butter sandwiches or crackers, fresh or dried fruit like apples and bananas, or jerky to help tide you over.


Prepare ahead of time for snacking needs.

You know when you’re most likely to need to snack, whether it’s in the middle of the day while you’re out checking out the scenery or while you’re on the road. Make sure you’re prepared ahead of time! Packing your bag with simple snacks can help prevent you from splurging on unneeded snacks, including expensive gas station sodas and treats.


3. Plan ahead. 

Don’t try to plan a last-minute vacation! Instead, start planning your vacation well ahead of time so that you can take advantage of deals. Set price alerts for inexpensive flights and rate drops, especially if you know where you want to go. Compare prices. Make sure you do your research and booking in incognito mode! Many hotel and airline websites will track you as you visit the site, raising the price when you visit frequently. As a result, you may end up paying significantly more for your vacation than you would have otherwise.


4. Take a look at your transportation needs (and consider the costs ahead of time).

When staying at a major theme park, you may think that you’re saving money by staying off-site. However, there are other, small costs that can add up quickly. You may end up paying for transportation every day, whether you’re driving your own vehicle and paying the parking fee or you’re coming in on a bus or shuttle that has a fee. If you stay on site, on the other hand, you may significantly reduce those costs by walking to your destination. Likewise, plan ahead for parking costs. Consider whether you can stay closer to your ideal location–inside the theme park; on the beach–to reduce the cost you’ll pay to park each day.


5. Choose your timing carefully.

Timing can make a big difference in your overall travel plans. For example, traveling in the middle of the work week can substantially decrease your costs over traveling over the weekend, especially if you’re flying. Consider “low seasons” for your destination, when there is less travel and many locations reduce their prices to help entice travelers to them. You may also want to take a look at the holiday calendar: during major holidays, your destination may be more crowded, and you may end up paying premium prices for all the activities you want to enjoy.


6. Try out some unique vacation options to help you cut costs further.

Staying in a hostel or monastery is a great way to have a low-cost overall vacation. You could also try house-sitting for someone who is away from the house while you’re on vacation. Looking for a lower-cost travel method that will help bring you and your family even closer together? Try staying in a campground. Many of them have some great scenic areas, swimming facilities, and even showers and bathrooms that will help you feel great while you’re out camping.


7. Establish your itinerary ahead of time.

Just like you should plan ahead for your vacation as a whole, consider planning your itinerary well ahead of time, rather than flying by the seat of your pants. Take a look at free days or pay what you can days for museums and attractions. Take a look at city passes or discount cards, which will help you get discounted access to multiple venues in your chosen vacation city. Look online for discounted tickets to the venues you most want to visit. With a little forethought and planning, you can often establish discounted tickets, which will help save a little money.

Vacation doesn’t have to be incredibly expensive. However, emergencies can come up that can interfere with your vacation fund. Need a fast loan to handle an emergency, whether while you’re on vacation or when you get back? Contact us today to learn how we can help.

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