According to ValuePenguin, Americans who take vacations spend an average of $4,700 a year. If you’re hoping to enjoy a fun getaway but are saving for that dream home among Halton real estate or for another life goal, the good news is that these budgeting tips can help you make it happen more affordably.
Create a Budget
Many people don’t bother to create a budget for their vacation, but that can be a recipe for financial disaster, or at minimum, cause you to spend more than you should. Take time to sit down and determine how much you should set aside for airfare and/or other transportation, accommodation, meals, and entertainment while leaving some wiggle room for unexpected expenses. You’ll probably need to research your destination(s) to get an approximate cost – if the total adds up to a lot more than you have to spend, consider moving it up and saving more rather than putting the extra on credit cards which means you’ll end up paying interest too.
Score Cheaper Flights
One of the easiest ways to save when flying to your destination is to know how to score the cheapest flights. Generally, booking well in advance is the best idea – if you try to book within two weeks of your departure date it’s going to come with a big cost. If you can be flexible with your travel dates, all the better. Traveling in the off-season (like winter in Rome or summer in the Caribbean), or in the shoulder season, meaning just before or after peak season, usually means discounted airfare. The day of the week makes a significant difference too. If you can fly out and return days on a Tuesday or Wednesday, you’ll probably be rewarded with the best prices.
Yet another tip when it comes to airfare is that when searching for airfare to a particular destination more than a few times, you might notice the prices going up. That’s due to browser cookies as the site is designed to notice, and encourage you to book before they’re raised even more. To avoid that problem, every time you search, enable incognito mode by hitting “control,” “shift” and “N” in Google Chrome and “control,” “shift” and “P” in Internet Explorer or Firefox.
Compare a Range of Accommodation Options
These days there are all types of accommodation options to choose from. For example, Airbnb and VRBO can offer a great value, often with lower rates than hotels and resorts while coming with added perks like a kitchen so you don’t have to spend on dining out for every meal. If you want to book a hotel room, be sure to compare prices on the hotel sites themselves as well as third-party booking sites. Sometimes hotels offer the cheapest prices when booking directly, other times sites like Expedia provide the best deal. And, just like airfare, stays during the off-season usually mean discounted rates, while holiday periods and the peak season mean you’ll pay more.
Save on Car Rentals
There are a lot of tricks to getting a good deal on a car rental. Be sure to read all the fine print when comparing as the rate you see may not include things like airport surcharges and taxes. You can eliminate airport surcharges by picking up the rental at a location outside of the airport – while convenient, it usually comes with an additional fee and it might be cheaper for you to take public transport, Uber, etc. to get that vehicle just a few miles away.