Craving a vacation getaway outside of your hometown but finding yourself strapped for cash?
True, the average family of four in the U.S. spends $4,580 on vacation time each year. But that doesn’t mean you can’t find an enjoyable way to spend time off from work that doesn’t deplete your savings. While online sources offer a plethora of ways for saving money as you travel, here are some basic suggestions for conserving funds.
- Check online sources for great deals: Savvy travelers take advantage of the Internet’s discount hotel and flight services that offer unsold inventory at lower prices, the catch being you don’t know which hotels you’re booking until you’ve already committed (and refunds often aren’t available). Kayak.com is an aggregate of several of those sites, offering a range of competitive offers.
- Airbnb: This online marketplace allows people across the world to rent short-term lodging, including personal residences, rentals, homestays, hostel beds and hotel rooms for much less than more traditional accommodations.
- Pick a central location, then walk everywhere: A comfortable pair of walking shoes combined with a reliable public transit system can go a long way toward furthering your adventures in a great city without racking up costly cab or train fares.
- Stagger your travel: Choose a time to travel in the off-season for that location, when vendors will be hungrier for tourist dollars.
- Look at alternate airports: Don’t assume the obvious choice is the cheapest choice; flying slightly out of your scope, then driving to your destination, can save you hundreds of dollars.
- Fly weekdays: Unless they’re holidays, Tuesday and Wednesday are the cheapest days to fly.
- Seek cheaper flights: Most are refundable for up to 24 hours of booking, so if you see a better deal in that time frame, snag it. The same is true of most rental cars.
- Pack light: Fitting everything in one carry-on saves on checked-bag fees as well as time at airport luggage queues.
- Plan ahead: Scoping out eateries and entertainment online allows for better choices based on online reviews and gives you time to seek online coupons and specials.
- Eat cheap: Better yet, plan to eat breakfasts and lunches using food you bring or buy, reserving only dinners for great restaurants.
- Seek discounted theater: Many larger cities offer heavily discounted local theater and entertainment tickets available for purchase the same day as the event. Google before paying full price.
Ready to get started? Think of saving money as a competitive challenge, and you might find you enjoy your next vacation even more.
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