With summer vacation also comes travel season making it safe to say that this is the hardest times of year to save money. Escaping from the confines of work and going on a fun-filled vacation is something most people dream about. Whether you are looking to spend a week on an island with your significant other, go on a cruise with the kids or pile in a car with friends, summer vacation expenses add up. If you are feeling the summer money pinch and want to get most out of your buck, not all is lost. You can get away with saving a little or a lot if you do it right!
Thankfully, Mentalfloss put together a few tips for budgeting accordingly, no matter what type of getaway you’re planning.
1. FLY SMART
Regardless of how you plan on getting place to place, booking your travels at the right time is key when trying to saving money. Consider booking early in the week. Doing so usually yields to better ticket prices than bookings made over the weekend, according to a study by FareCompare.com and information from Travelocity and Expedia, via USAtoday. Here’s are a few more tips: set up price alerts early to get the cheapest fare possible, compare prices with other sites or sign up for an airline credit card. After all, the more money you save on tickets, the more you will have to enjoy when you get there!
2. TRY A RENTAL PROPERTY
Ever thought of renting an apartment or condo on your trip rather than paying for an overpriced hotel room? Rental properties are not only more economical than hotels for any trip, they also give travelers the chance to experience a new place as a ‘local’. Depending on the destination, this could save you hundreds! You can choose your neighborhood based on what you'd like to experience. For example, you may prefer to stay in a trendy neighborhood of Chicago near Wrigley Field versus in Lincoln Park. Or maybe you’re looking for more of a rural area with public parks and trendy local restaurant. Try it out, you could surprise yourself!
3. TAKE THE DEAL
A lot of people save money on travel by planning their trip backwards; instead of choosing a destination and finding the cheapest way to get there, let the deal find you! Since some destinations are sure to be cheaper from year to year, it can pay to be flexible, you could come across the deal of a life time. Plus, being spontaneous about your travel destination can be half the fun of the vacation.
"Twenty years’ from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails".
Explore. Dream. Discover. – Mark Twain
4. CONSIDER A ROAD TRIP
Summer is a perfect time to pack your friends or family into a care and hit the road. If the thought of putting that many miles on your own car is too much, consider renting a car. Make sure to know what is necessary and unnecessary when renting a car. Use one of the many online price searches that will find the lowest fares available. Give yourself plenty of time, a cooler full of snacks, and a rockin’ playlist before hitting the open road. Plan a scenic drive though major cities and landmarks, or go hiking at one of the many national parks. You can explore a lot for the cost of a few meals and a tank or two of gas.
It won’t be long until the summer travel season is over! It's a lot of fun to get out on the open road or to take to the skies or the seas and enjoy a well-deserved vacation. However, going on a vacation doesn't mean that you have to break the bank. By shopping around, planning ahead and keeping an open mind, you can make your vacation both fun and affordable.