If you click a link in this post and make a purchase, we may earn a small commission, at no additional cost to you. Read our full disclosure here.
Heading off on vacation and traveling the world is one of the very best ways to spend your time, which may be why it’s at the top of most people’s bucket lists.
That being said, wanting to go on vacation and actually having the money to go are two completely different things.
With flights, accommodation, souvenirs, activities, and any number of hidden costs, even a short break away can get expensive quite quickly, leaving those strapped for cash having to go without.
Thankfully, there are a number of ways to save, so follow these tips to plan your budget vacation.
Start To Plan Early
From hotel reservations to airplane tickets, everything gets more expensive the longer you wait to book, which is why you need to start planning your vacation as soon as possible.
You usually get the best price when you book at least three months in advance, so ensure you’re organized. This also means you’ll be able to book the things you want, rather than whatever is left behind.
Book Your Trip Last Minute
Of course, if you don’t have the funds to book your trip right now, then you should hold off to book until the very last minute.
There are a number of last-minute sites you can choose from (check out my experience booking Disney hotels with Priceline and Hotwire here) that allows you to book an entire vacation a few days before you jet off, usually with a huge discount. You won’t have as much of a selection, but there should be something that you’ll enjoy.
Set Yourself A Travel Budget
It’s impossible to plan a budget-friendly vacation if you don’t know the budget you have to work with.
Because of this, you need to take the time to research the cost of living where you’re heading, consider the different expenses you may have to face, and come up with a realistic travel budget to stick to. Once you’ve done this, you can start to put money aside and save up.
Steer Clear Of Peak Times
It might be convenient to go on vacation during school holidays, but this should be avoided if you want a budget-friendly trip.
It doesn’t matter whether you’re heading to Florida, Bishan, or Paris, or how long you’re going for, your vacation is going to be more expensive when you travel during peak times. If you need a school holiday to go away, then aim those in autumn and winter.
Avoid Major Tourist Destinations
Unfortunately, it’s not just the time you jet off that affects the cost of your trip, as the destination will also play a huge part.
You may want to visit the more popular cities and attractions, but, if you’re going to save, you should book accommodation in smaller towns instead. After all, you can always take public transport to get to the places you want to see, which will be much cheaper.
Opt For A Hotel Alternative
Hotels may be the go-to accommodation when it comes to travel and vacations, but that doesn’t make them the best or the cheapest.
In fact, there are a number of alternatives you could consider, many of which are more convenient, family-friendly, and less expensive. For example, you could rent an apartment with Airbnb, pitch up a tent, or hire an RV for the week and sleep there.
Cook Your Own Meals
Renting an entire apartment may seem costly, but it’s often much cheaper than renting a small hotel room. As well as this, it gives you the opportunity to cook your own meals, which will save you even more money in the long run.
Although eating out on vacation is convenient and fun, it can also be expensive and unhealthy, so try to prepare your own food whenever you can.
Hunt Online For Discounts
Thanks to the world wide web, it’s easier than ever to save some cash on travels.
This is because there are a number of websites dedicated to offering discounts on any number of hotels, flights, activities, attractions and more. All you need to do is set aside some time to browse the internet and hunt for these discounts. You be surprised at how much you can save.
Look For Free Activities
In addition to discounted attractions and activities, you should also make sure you look out for the free ones available on your trip.
Of course, you can spend some time at the must-see tourist spots, but don’t forget about the huge number of local museums, parks, and activities too. Trust me, you’ll have plenty of fun, save some cash, and won’t feel crowded and claustrophobic.
Speak About Your Special Occasion
If you’re traveling because of a birthday, engagement, anniversary, honeymoon, or another special occasion, make sure you let those around you know.
Obviously, try not to be over the top and annoy the people around you, but simply mentioning your celebrations is just fine. Although it won’t always work, this could snag you a discount, free upgrade, or some other surprise.
Leave Your Checked Bags Behind
When you’re packing for your trip, try to avoid taking too much luggage, as this can cause a lot of stress and cost you cash, due to the baggage fees of your airline.
If possible, you should ditch your checked bags completely and only take with you what you can carry on the plane. This is a perfect idea if you’re traveling to multiple locations, as it means you’ll have less to keep track of.
Stick With Public Transportation
Having your own car may be convenient, but there’s no denying that hiring one on vacation can cost you an arm and a leg.
To avoid the dent in your bank account, you should stick with public transport instead, especially if you can get a travel card that offers you discounted journeys. If you’d rather stick with a rental, make sure that you get the best price possible.
Never Forget Travel Insurance
Most people view travel insurance as an unnecessary cost, but, if something were to ever go wrong before or during your vacation, you’d be happy to have it.
Despite what some people claim, travel insurance isn’t all that expensive, but it does protect you in the event of any number of emergencies. If you want to save some real cash on your trip, then you can’t forget to buy this.
Traveling on a tight budget can be a challenge, but these tips should make it a little easier for you.