4 Vacation Tips to Stretch Your Dollars

We’re all sick of hearing about winter storms, but we’re even sicker of living in the middle of it. From our vantage point in Minnesota, its like winter has overtaken every possible living thing and the cold has drained all the fun out of normal winter activities like skiing, snow shoeing, and everything else. So what is there left to do but go someplace for warmer activities?

Travel in the winter isn’t usually seen as something that can be done on a budget—particularly in some of the Caribbean’s most exclusive island resorts—but where there’s a will, there’s a way to save and cut costs.  Resorts offer convenience, but if you’re willing to be a little flexible with your travel plans, there’s no reason to let cash flow hinder your ability to stay in some of the world’s most beautiful places.

1. Think outside the resort

On average, a night’s stay will set you back over $300 a night in Anguilla or St. Barts, but the key to is to think outside the box...or resort, as it were. There are hundreds of vacation rental options listed on sites like TripAdvisor to help you save hundreds of dollars per night, and if you’re traveling with a group, you can split the cost of renting an entire house. And since the area is known for its natural beauty, many of the attractions are free or fairly inexpensive. Additionally, you can check out locally-owned, beachfront properties, but still live the high life by booking spa appointments or dinners at resorts.

2. Look for deals and coupons

This tip probably sounds like an obvious one, and with sites like LivingSocial and Groupon tossing out vacation deals all over the place, it’s easier than ever to find great deals.  But here’s the thing: while sites like Expedia and others might provide the most convenient booking packages of flight + hotel + whatever else you need, many airlines offer even better deals when you book directly through them.  Peruse your debit/credit card vendors’ sites and see if you have any accrued rewards that might help pay for a car rental or redeem for flight miles. If you’re a student, public employee, senior citizen, or basically a human being, there might be extra discounts that apply to you.

3. Pack a lunch

One of the biggest expenses when it comes to traveling is eating. If you’re not on an all-inclusive vacation, dining adds up quickly when you’re traveling because tourist spots are designed to suck up dollars wherever they can. If you’re staying in a house or condo-type situation, you should have access to a full kitchen, and your first stop (well, maybe first stop after the beach) should be the grocery store to stock up on snacks, water, and anything else that you would otherwise casually drop big bucks on (no matter where you are, $5 for a single bottle of water is too much when you can get 24 bottles for the same price at the grocery store).

4. Live like a local

On the same page as the above tip, look beyond taxis and typical tourist transportation. If you’re not getting a car, look into ferries, buses or other types of mass transportation that will help get you around for a lot less than $20 cab fares.

 

Whether your heart desires a trip to the Caribbean, Mexico, or Central America, heading south for the winter doesn’t have to break the bank. Keep your spending low by doing some research, and chase away the winter blues with some bright sunshine!

What other tips help you save money on vacation? Are you planning a warm weather vacation to beat the cold? Let us live vicariously and share your tropical destination below!