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7 Tips to Help You Save Money on Vacation Travel

Updated on September 14, 2017
Linda Courtney profile image

Linda has a B.S. in Accounting and Business and has always been interested in budgeting and personal finance.

Traveling can be a way to relax and get away from everyday life for a while. It is also a way to learn about new places and people. Visiting new places is excellent for using up those vacation days you are entitled to and should take. After a vacation, you can come back to work feeling refreshed with many new memories. Traveling can be costly, but not if you plan in advance. The advice given here is to help you plan ahead and find the best deals wherever you are going.

1. How Much do You Want to Spend?

Creating a budget should be your first step towards a wallet-friendly vacation. How much do you want or have to spend on your vacation? Having a figure available right up front will allow you to plan accordingly. You will know whether you have the money for a road trip or can take an airplane or even a train to your destination. Your budgeted amount will also tell you how far you can go, so you will know where to research vacation spots. Do not feel you have to go on an exotic trip to enjoy it. Vacations can be just as beneficial and fun when they take place 100 miles away as 5000 miles away from home. You will have more fun knowing you are not overspending and going into debt. Also, keep in mind that every vacation can have some unforeseen expenses that cannot be avoided. Roads trips could have car break downs; luggage or wallets can be lost; just be prepared in case the unexpected happens.

2. Do Your Research

Research destinations that are within your budget. The internet makes this rather easy. Pull up a map of certain areas and look for the spots you might like to go to on your vacation. Then research those places. Look at all there is to do. Keep in mind how much you have to spend. You can research free and cheap things to do and see in any particular area. Look at hotels or bed and breakfasts in the area to get an idea whether that area is suited to your budget. What is it you really would like to do on this vacation? Is it the beach or the mountains or the country or even city life that you would like to experience? All of these questions will help you pick the perfect place for you and your budget.

3. Compare Transportation Prices

If you need to take an airplane or train to get to your destination, the internet is a great place to start searching for the lowest ticket prices. You could find the best prices if you plan ahead and buy ahead. Waiting until the last minute can leave you stranded or paying exorbitant prices. Always plan as far ahead as possible. Direct flights can save time and aggravation, but the best prices may require a layover. Train travel can be a great way to sit back and see the country. This mode will take longer to reach your destination but can save you money.

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4. Compare Hotel Prices

Research hotels, motels, and bed and breakfasts in the area for prices. Many travel websites will give you a range of prices and rooms to choose. Doing your own search could turn up some lesser known gems that you may not have found otherwise. Check out Airbnb or HomeAway.com for homes or rooms that you can rent. You may have to cook and clean yourself, but it can save you money on eating out. Many hotels make you pay for amenities that you may not even use. Look into packages that include air and hotel. They can be cost-saving too.

Dining out
Dining out

5. Plan Your Meals

If you are renting a house, you can buy groceries and eat certain meals at home to save money. Certain hotels and all bed and breakfasts offer breakfast with the price. While on vacation, you are no doubt going to want to eat certain meals out. Look at all the eateries in the area and check out prices. Ask the locals for good, budget-friendly restaurants. Most people are more than happy to help you choose. Do not be afraid to go into a restaurant and ask to see their menu before being seated. If too pricey, you can always leave. After planning your hotel and travel costs, you will have a better idea as to how much you have left for dining.


6. Plan Your Outings

No doubt you will want to see the sights at your destination. Many will have admission costs to consider. Thankfully the internet can give you an idea of the cost of each and the hours open. There are many places you can go and spend little, if anything, to enjoy yourself. Many beaches will have low or no cost to spend the day in the sun and surf. Parks have a lot to offer for little money too. Get some exercise and take a hike. Enjoy nature and de-stress. If you have a car, you can take a drive in the country and explore your surroundings. If you have a museum you want to tour, see if they have a free or low-cost day and visit on that day. Look for coupons on major attractions. With a little research, you should be able to fill your days and nights with activities that will not break the bank.

packed bag
packed bag | Source

7. Make a List

Before you leave, make a list of everything you will need to bring on this vacation. Keep the list within reason, especially if you are traveling via air or train. List everything, including the clothes you need, bathroom essentials, first aid kit for your car, sunscreen, etc. Planning ahead will help you avoid having to buy something you forgot to bring. These everyday essentials could cost more at your destination.

A little planning before your vacation can help you get the best deals. Budgeting will also help you to keep your vacation spending in line with your financial status. A well-planned vacation will also go more smoothly with less opportunity for unwelcome surprises. You will get more enjoyment and stress less by using these tips.

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    • Linda Courtney profile image
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      Linda Courtney 2 months ago from Bensalem, PA

      Happy anniversary Kristina. Hope you have a wonderful trip.

    • Kristina Hearn profile image

      Kristina Hearn 2 months ago from Iowa

      Thanks for the tips! I'll be traveling next year for my 5 year anniversary, and will keep these tips in mind!

    • Linda Courtney profile image
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      Linda Courtney 2 months ago from Bensalem, PA

      Thanks Linda. I go through a lot of this when I go away, usually cheap road trips as I don't have a lot.

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 2 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

      You've included a lot of good tips in this article. They should be very helpful for someone planning a vacation.