Want to Get Away? 10 Ways to Save Money on Vacation

family vacation,vacationing,vacation family,beach vacation,happy family,family on beach,By Kelly Hodges
Looking to take a vacation? The possibilities are endless with a world of destinations to explore.  If your travel budget allows for a week on the beaches of Dubai then stop reading this and have a great trip!

For the rest of us, it’s important to plan a vacation that won’t eat up the kids college fund! Fortunately there are many ways to have a relaxing and rejuvenating break from reality without having to file for bankruptcy afterward. Here are some tips and tricks to help you get the most bang for your buck on your next vacation.

1.  Be flexible.  If instead of planning a vacation to “The Ritz Carleton in South Beach” you broaden it to “a nice hotel in Florida,” you are far more likely to get a good deal.  Better yet, how about “a nice hotel somewhere warm.” There are tons of vacation deals to be had if you are open-minded to destination. Sites like Groupon Getaways or Living Social Escapes are always offering vacation deals at a fraction of retail cost, but you have no control over what offers they post. Bottom line, the more willing you are to try something new the greater the chance of snagging a great deal.

2.  Go off-season.  This is the good old law of supply in demand. Going to Disney World over Easter vacation is going to cost you. Consider traveling at off-peak times if you can make it work with your schedule. For example, travel prices tend to drop right after Labor Day, as kids are back in school and most summer travelers are back to the day to day work grind. It may take some creative scheduling, but if you can make it work you are sure to save money.

Sign up for our FREE newsletter
and receive our best trading ideas and research

3.  Stay local.  Yes Hawaii sounds great if you live somewhere non-tropical, but there are great vacations to be had much closer to home. Go to the library and get a travel book about your own or a neighboring state. There are probably hundreds of interesting things to do and see within a few hundred miles of your front door. Eliminating airfare from your travel plans will be a huge savings, and you can relax just as well on a hammock in Michigan as you can in Hawaii.

4.  Go with a group.  If you have close friends or family members whose vacation schedule meshes with yours, consider going together. Traveling in a group means splitting the costs, which saves you money in the end. Renting a large house and splitting it several ways is cheaper then getting a small hotel room by yourself, plus it comes with a kitchen. You can also get a large rental van and split the costs, and take turns with food preparation. Often attractions have discounted group rates as well for parties with as few as 10 people.

5.  Use your apps.  Make sure to load up your phone with the many travel apps available. Use GasBuddy to find the cheapest gas no matter where your travels take you. Use Yelp to choose a restaurant, patron reviews provide a great gage of food quality and pricing. These are just two of the many free travel apps available, make sure to download some before you leave to save money along the way!

frugal finance, being frugal, saving money, spending less, frugal, cheap

6.  Ask for discounts.  Always ask if there are any additional discounts or specials being offered when traveling. Many places like hotels and theme parks have better rates for AAA or AARP members or for government employees, but these deals are usually not advertised. It never hurts to ask, and it never hurts to save.

7.  Use your rewards.  If you’ve been racking up those rewards points on your credit card, vacationing is the perfect time to use them! Many credit cards allow you to trade your points in for gift cards, often at a value higher than your points. Use this to your advantage to save money on transportation, lodging, or even food. For example, the Discover Card offers a $40 National Car Rental gift card for $20 of rewards points or a $100 Hyatt Hotel gift card for $40 of rewards points. If you have enough points saved up, you could put a huge dent in paying for your vacation, or maybe even pay for it altogether!

8.  Save on food.  Just because you’re not at home doesn’t mean you have to eat out three meals a day. If you’re traveling by car bring a cooler and stop for a picnic lunch. Look for hotels that offer a free breakfast, or better yet stay somewhere with a kitchen so you can prepare meals yourself. Bring along your own staples, or stop at a local grocery store to stock up. Of course you still can eat out to get a taste of the local cuisine, but even preparing just one meal yourself each day can add up to big savings.

9.  Swap your house.  This won’t appeal to everyone, but if you are open to adventure, exchanging homes with someone is maybe the best way to save on accommodations. This can be arranged yourself if you have a friend who would be willing to swap, or through the various home exchange websites in existence. Basically you stay in someone’s house and in exchange they stay in yours. Worth looking into, especially if you live in an area that is a popular destination for travelers.

10.  Save before you go.  The number one best way to save money on a vacation is to have the money on hand before you ever book the trip. Decide what a reasonable amount would be for the trip you want to take, and then don’t go until you have the cash to pay. The last thing you want to do is put a vacation on credit cards you can’t pay off immediately after, the interest you pay will cost you month after month and could end up making the vacation twice as expensive.


Twitter: @FrugalFinance1  and  @seeitmarket   Facebook:  See It Market

Any opinions expressed herein are solely those of the author, and do not in any way represent the views or opinions of her employer or any other person or entity.