You’ve been settling for ‘stay cations’ for a couple of years now, and you decide that you need to enjoy a real vacation. The problem is that you do not have enough funds to splurge on a room at a five-star hotel or eat out for breakfast, lunch and dinner. What’s your best option to have that well-deserved getaway?
The good news is that you can plan a vacation without breaking the bank – as long as you implement ways to cut back on expenses before, during and even after your trip. Read on to find out what these ways are. Read to find out how to spend less money on travels!
Here’s How to Spend Less Money on Travels
Naturally, the first thing that you need to do when planning a vacation is to decide where you would like to go. What’s your dream vacation destination? Which exotic cities around the word are you itching to explore? Which part of the global map would you like to cross off your travel bucket list? After making a decision, it is time to iron out your travel plans and this is where saving money starts. Here are the top ways on how you can save money before your actual travel date:
Set a budget for your entire trip.
One of the biggest mistakes that people make when trying to spend less money on travels is spending a huge amount of money just to enjoy a three or five-day vacation at a beach destination somewhere in Asia, or a trip to Southern America. Although there’s absolutely nothing wrong in splurging every now and then, there’s no need for you to break the bank either just so that you can get a well-deserved time off from work.
The first thing that you need to do in order to save money is to set a budget for your trip. It’s good if you can control your expenses in such a way that you would go under the allotted budget but this rarely happens. If you went crazy with money while going souvenir shopping, that is the opposite of sticking to a budget for the entire trip – so make sure to bring just enough money to cover your expenses.
Make sure that your travel dates are flexible.
If you have flexible travel dates, you can vary the dates of your flights to save on airfare. You can also book hotel rooms or other types of accommodations during the time of the year when not a lot of tourists are coming in to visit a specific city. You can even get discounted rates on entrance tickets to some of the most popular tourist attractions this way. As such, you can enjoy more savings while ironing out the details of your trip.
Know when to book flights.
After settling on a location, the next thing that you need to do is book round-trip plane tickets. For this, it is best to know when to fly so that you can save money on airfare. Here are a few quick tips on how to spend less money on travels:
- Fly during weekdays instead of weekends, when the cost of airline tickets are cheaper. Specifically, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturday afternoons are the best time to fly. Not only will you get cheaper ticket prices, but you also won’t have to deal with an influx of tourists who are also checking in at the airport.
- Instead of flying during the peak hours between 10 am to 12 noon or 4 pm to about 6 or 7 in the evening, book flights out of this time frame or catch a red eye flight.
- If you are taking a vacation in a beach getaway somewhere in Asia, the summer season is when there’s usually a crowd of visitors. If you must travel during these months, make sure to book your flights and hotel rooms in advance so that you can take advantage of lower rates.
- When traveling to other parts of the world, book your flights during the ‘shoulder seasons’. This is when the peak travel times have already passed, but the weather in the area is still good enough for a vacation. This is a great way for families to enjoy affordable vacations in beautiful locations. Just try to spend less money on travels in general, OK?
- For families who are planning to take a vacation with the kids, you may want to take advantage of school holidays. To save money on this, you simply need to plan early. If you wish to travel on July or August 2014, for example, you can start looking for cheap flights as early as before the Christmas season.
- Be on the lookout for cheap flights – even after you have already booked tickets. You have a right to change or refund your tickets within 24 hours. If a lower price for a one-way airline ticket appears on the company’s official website, you can demand a refund for the price difference if you paid something higher. You can also book a flight with another airline which offers a cheaper rate, and cancel the one you already booked.
Go online to look for accommodation options which are within your budget’s reach.
If you are traveling off-season, you can book five-star or four-star hotel rooms at a cheaper price. However, if such accommodations prove to be way beyond your allotted budget, you simply need to look for alternatives. There are three-star, budget or capsule hotel rooms that you can book.
You can also look for home-stay arrangements, house swaps, couch surfing, camping, bed-and-breakfast inns or other types of alternative accommodations. Most hotels will offer discounts if you will stay for more than one night, which means that will spend less money on travels than you thought.
Be aware of other ways to save on lodging expenses.
If you want, you can even skip booking a room entirely and hop on an overnight bus or train to explore more off-the-beaten track destinations in the city you’re in. You can sleep on the vehicle, and not have to worry about paying for pricey hotel rooms while expanding the scope of your vacation at the same time.
Look for all-inclusive travel packages.
When the services of travel agents became superfluous, the work of travel agencies expanded to offering all-inclusive travel packages for vacationers. This is something that you should definitely consider when traveling on a budget. The entire package consists of round-trip tickets, airport transfers, guided or open tours, hotel breakfasts, etc. Not only will you saving money by booking all-inclusive travel packages, but you can also save on the time and effort that it takes to make reservations for all of these individually. Spend less money on travels and your vacations will be brighter!
Ways to Save Money While Traveling
After ironing out the details of your trip, how can you save money during your actual trip? The number one thing that you need to remember is that it is never a wise idea to overpack. On your way to your destination, make extra room in your bag for all the souvenir items that you will be bringing home.
Before leaving for the airport, make sure to weigh your bags – extra baggage charges in all major international airports have become overwhelming over the years. If you must pay for extra luggage weight fees, do it online at the official website of the airline company. This is usually a way cheaper option than doing it on the actual airport.
If you’re traveling with kids, ask your hotel concierge for some inside information about where kids can eat for free at local buffets. Or, ask for a list of the tourist attractions with free entrance fees. These little costs will add up to so much at the end of your trip, so save on every aspect of it as much as you can.
If you’re traveling across Europe, spend more time in fewer places rather than packing your schedule with one rushed tour of an area after another. Not only will this give you more time to explore what makes a local city tick, but you will also be saving a lot of money on airfare, bus fare or fees on ferries.
You can also spend less money on travels on souvenir shopping if you don’t forget to bargain. Sellers will usually jack up the prices of their goods when selling to foreigners, so make sure that you’re getting the best rates possible. Instead of malls, visit flea markets, outdoors shops, and similar shopping establishments.
Sign up for airline company newsletters, hotel rewards programs, family deals, coupons, credit card reward points and similar advertisements. The tourist industry is a multi-billion business and beautiful cities would offer lots of promos for visitors to come to their country or city. When you sign up for e-mail alerts for these, you can take advantage of lower rates and great discounts. Instead of always dining out, eat locally. Ask around for the places where the locals eat – or try the street foods available. These are hot, freshly prepared, cheap and delicious.
By following these tips, you can spend less money on travels, on food, accommodations and airfare expenses – then go on to planning your next vacation!