Do you have a big trip coming up this summer? Are you excited about traveling but nervous about the effect your vacation will have on your bank account?
It is possible to have a great trip without spending the entire time feeling anxious about your finances. Just keep these eight tips for traveling on a budget in mind as you start preparing for your upcoming vacation.
Planning Your Trip
1. Start Early
The sooner you start looking for flights and accommodations, the easier it’ll be for you to find a deal. You’ll also give yourself more time to find discount codes and special packages for everything from parking at the airport to daytime excursions.
2. Keep Track of Flight Price Changes
If you travel a lot, you know that flight prices can change in an instant, and it can be hard to commit to a ticket when you know there’s a possibility the price could decrease in the future.
If you know you want to go to a specific location, consider signing up for price alerts through a website like Skyscanner. That way, you’ll know right away when the price of a ticket plummets and you can jump on the deal as soon as possible.
3. Expand Your Search
Remember that, just because you’re flying to a specific location, that doesn’t mean you have to fly into that location’s airport. You can save a lot of money if you’re willing to fly into a smaller or lesser-known airport that’s in a nearby city.
It may take a little longer to get from the airport to your hotel or Airbnb, but the extra travel time might be worth it if it helps you save some money. When you’re searching for flights, just expand the search to include nearby airports.
4. Pack Light
Finally, be sure to limit the number of bags you bring with you, especially if the airline you’re flying with charges extra for checked bags. Try to fit as much as you can in a carry-on bag.
If you’re traveling with family, try to fit everything into one checked bag and then have everyone bring their own carry-on. This will help you save money, and you’ll also save space — it’s a win-win!
When You Arrive
1. Skip the Hotel Room
Hotels are nice, but they’re also incredibly expensive. There was a time when, if you wanted to travel, they were your only option. Now, though, there are lots of other options, including hostels and Airbnbs.
An Airbnb is especially great if you’re traveling with family. They give you access to kitchens so you can prepare your own meals and extra space so you’re not all crammed in one room.
2. Avoid Dining Out
Restaurants get expensive, fast, especially if you’re treating your whole family to a night out. Instead of eating out for every meal, plan a few special nights out, and then stick to meals you prepare yourself for the rest of the trip. Stock up on groceries and plan meals that you can easily prepare and take with you on trips to the beach or amusement parks.
3. Skip Souvenirs
Instead of buying overpriced souvenirs, look for more affordable ways to preserve memories of your trip. Pictures are totally free, and you can also look for quirky, free items to take with you from your favorite places — such as a seashell from your favorite beach.
4. Utilize Public Transportation
Rental cars are a major drain on your travel budget, and Ubers and taxis aren’t much better. To save money, try to utilize public transportation as much as possible. This will also allow you to experience more of the local culture when you’re visiting a new place.
Traveling doesn’t have to be stressful. If you take some time to plan ahead and scout out great deals, there’s no reason why you can’t enjoy your trip and maintain a healthy balance in your checking account.