10 Tips to Save Money on Your Summer Vacation
By Taylor Kelly
Summer is quickly approaching, which means warmer weather and longer days. This is one of the most popular seasons for vacations, but that does not always mean it is the cheapest. Traveling has its fair share of expenses which can add up quickly. Often times, cheaper alternatives are available — you just have to know how to find them.
Avoid some of the excessive costs of traveling and make the most of your experience. Whether you are visiting another city, state or country, use these 10 tips to save money on your trip.
Travel during the weekdays
Typically, weekends are more popular days for traveling, so plane tickets are usually more expensive on these days. Be flexible with your schedule and plan your trip according to the best days to fly. Tuesday’s and Wednesday’s often have the most affordable ticket prices.
Bring your own snacks and water
This includes to the airport as well as to the activities during the trip. Airport food can be expensive, and not many options are available. Packing your own snacks will ensure you save money and satisfy your hunger, all without spending a dime on the actual trip. It is also important to be prepared with snacks and water on trip outings because the next meal is not always planned. When traveling, you may be moving around more than usual, so water will keep you hydrated.
Research free and discounted activity options
Many places have specific discount days and times or rates dependent on your age. For example, ask if there is a student, senior or military discount. There may even be a day of the week where admission is free. Other places may only require a donation in exchange for admission. Do your research ahead of time and plan your outings accordingly.
Utilizing public transportation allows you to navigate as a local. This is a great alternative to private taxis or car services. Often times, it is more cost effective and will provide you with a more up-close and personal experience with the city you are visiting.
Walk, when you can
Similar to public transportation, walking to your day-to-day activities will give you a glimpse of what the area is actually like. You will have the opportunity to fully immerse yourself into the culture — for free!
Eat where the locals eat
One big mistake many travelers make on vacation is overspending on food. While trying new foods can be one of the most exhilarating parts of traveling, it can quickly become the most expensive. Visit the local markets and grocery stores for breakfast or snacks. Try the ‘six block rule:’ never eat within six blocks of a major tourist site because prices are usually marked up in these locations. Also, plan your meals as much as you can. If you wait until you are hungry, then you may end up spending more money on food.
Apartments/Home Rentals vs. Hotels
Consider apartments or home rentals for your lodging. Often times, they are equally as accommodating. Like restaurants, hotels often increase their prices on specific days that may be popular for traveling. Additionally, do not purchase the “nicest” room. Typically, you will spend less time in your room and more time out exploring anyway.
Is it cheaper to drive or fly?
Weigh the pros and cons of flying versus driving. Be sure to factor in location, times, dates, and even things like weather to help you decide the best method of transportation for your trip. Transportation to and from the airport, gas prices and traffic are all things to think about as well.
When flying, pack lightly to help you avoid the cost of checking a bag. This will give you room for new items you may purchase. Also, consider staying somewhere with access to a washing and drying machine.
Create a budget and stick to it
The first thing you should do after booking your trip is create a budget of the money you plan to spend. One way to do this is to create a separate bank account specifically for the money for your trip. Unexpected expenses will come up, but this way you are prepared.