The spring has come and gone, and before we know it, summer will be here! Many of us have dreams of great vacations, and fun times with our families and friends, but we also know the hard truth: vacations are expensive!
So how can you plan a trip with your loved ones that will be memorable, fun, and also not cost you thousands of dollars in the end? Let me give you a few insights into planning a trip on a budget, and hopefully you will be inspired to go out and find some deals yourself!
First things first…
Watch for Deals Months Ahead of Time
Whether we are talking about flights, rental cars, or hotel rates, make sure you are doing your homework on the best deals around. Do you have a favorite travel site you always go to for finding where to stay or what airline to fly? Change it up! Look at all the travel sites, and make sure you compare all of the deals. It does take time, but trust me, your time will be worth it! Sometimes you can even get the SAME TICKET or SAME CAR for less on a different site, simply because they have a better deal with the provider.
Research Areas Where Hotels Cost Less
Whenever I want a “getaway” for our anniversary, I always start with google, by entering keywords like “inexpensive trips” or “cheap getaways” and although those sound like spam websites just waiting to happen, I do find some good ideas with those searches.
Without giving up your dream spot to take a vacation, consider staying 10 miles out in a different town or city at a bed and breakfast. Sometimes just carrying a certain zip code means a higher priced hotel, so always be on the lookout for nearby areas that will cost you less.
Ask Around, or Read Around
Whenever I start planning something, the first thing I want to know is what other people just like me think about a certain place or certain way of traveling. So what do I do? I read comments. Sure, some people are out there just to wreak havoc on a hotel or place, but with the right discernment, reading comments can give you the “real” picture of what it might be like to go on a vacation to that spot.
Another helpful tool is simply to get ideas from your friends and family. They have probably been to places you have never even thought of, and knowing the area, they can give you tips on where to stay. But always check back for prices at hotels they might recommend, because it is very possible you will find a better deal.
Go Somewhere that Invites the Outdoors
We all know going to places like New York City or Las Vegas pretty much mean one thing: YOU SPEND A LOT OF MONEY. So consider for a moment the place you are looking to go. Will it be worth your while, or will you be paying for a trip you can’t even afford in the first place?
I always recommend to look for a spot that invites the outdoors, meaning that you have plenty of opportunity for free fun, like hiking, walks on the beach, a stroll in the park, kayaking, skiing. Maybe you’re not an outdoors type person, but it wouldn’t hurt to research what you would do around your hotel, and make sure it doesn’t cost an arm and a leg!
Travel in the Off-Season, on Off-Days
The best ticket prices will always be in less busy seasons, and think about it, if this means you get to go on a great vacation for half the cost, go for it! Watch for deals in certain months, and even start by searching the same destination in different months. It’s always fun to stop your hectic schedule in the middle of everything, and have some time away. It won’t be when everyone else is there, but in the long run, that’s perfectly ok, more family time!
If it works within your schedule, it also helps greatly with cost to fly out on off-days, meaning weekdays. It’s amazing to see the drop in ticket prices when you plan to leave on a Tuesday or Wednesday compared to a Saturday. Again, do your research, and it will pay off!
Hope these tips helped, and remember, you can go on vacation if you do it the right way! Don’t give up on something you want to do because you are discouraged based on the cost of past vacations. Do something new and different, and really look for these deals ahead of time!
By: Erika Pizzo