Vacations are one America’s favorite past-times, with millions of Americans traveling all over the world every year. They are also one of the most expensive recreational activities, between flights, car rentals, hotels, food, and entertainment. The costs stack up way too quick, and this can limit the relaxation of your vacation. Luckily, there are a number of easy ways to save some cash while still keeping that trip fun and memorable. Let’s travel on the cheap, Deco & Bloom style, with the Best Ways to Save Money on Your Vacation.
Use Groupon and Living Social – If you are looking for an amazing deal on a great vacation, you might be shocked by the prices available through sites like Groupon and Living Social. A quick search of Groupon turned up this deal for an 8 day getaway to Italy with car rental and airfare included, for $1299.00. A quick search for just the flight on Priceline turned up a minimum price of just over $1079.00, and that won’t include car rental or hotel stays. Don’t underestimate the savings from these sites.
Pre-Plan – Before you go, spend some time pre-planning your trip. Where do you want to eat? What do you want to see? How will you get around when you reach your destination? This gives you a few cash saving advantages. First, if you have a well-defined plan you will be far less likely to stray and spend money on unnecessary activities. Second, looking in advance will give you time to read reviews of attractions and restaurants to find out which ones are worth the money, and which can be safely skipped. Finally, there are a great many places that will give you discounts for booking well in advance, especially entertainment venues and air-travel. Start looking early, and have your plan in place before you head out.
Travel Off-Season or to Odd Destinations – Everyone knows that there are times of the year where certain destinations are going to be packed. During the winter months, with everyone craving some sun and sand, the Caribbean is filled with people, and this means that everything, from food to lodgings, is going to be priced high. Try to limit your travel to the season directly before or after the on-season to get lower prices, less of a crowd, and establishments that will be much happier to see you due to the lower traffic flow. This tactic will save you money and get you better service, leading to an all-around better experience.
Fly Out During the Week – While the weekend seems like the best time to travel (after all, you are already off of work) airlines are going to charge the highest prices for Thursday, Friday, and Saturday flights. The basic laws of supply and demand cause the prices of flights to go up over the weekend when everyone is traveling and down Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday when almost no one is traveling. By shifting your flight to a Tuesday rather than a Friday you can easily save a couple of hundred dollars per ticket. This is especially important for a family since you may be buying 4 or 5 tickets total. Those savings can add up quick, giving you more cash to enjoy your vacation with.
Ask For A Better Price – This is especially true if you tend to book your lodgings through sites like Priceline and Expedia since they get a cut of the room or ticket. After you look up the prices online, try calling the hotel or airline, and asking if they can provide a better rate or free upgrade for the same price. Different chains will have different policies on this (smaller chains tend to be more flexible on pricing) so this isn’t always a guaranteed trick, but it can’t hurt to ask. It can get you some decent rate cuts, and amazing upgrades on your lodging that are sure to make your trip more memorable.
Bring Your Own Food – This one is especially great for road trips, and for long term stays. The biggest vacationing expense, aside from travel, is likely to be food. Eating out at restaurants is expensive, even if you keep it limited to fast food places, and packing snacks can drastically decrease this expense. If you are planning to stay somewhere for a longer period than a couple of days, find a place to stay with a kitchen (or even just a microwave), and bring along a cooler of easy to make groceries to cut those often out of control meal costs back even further.