Budgeting is one of the hardest and LEAST fun parts about traveling — often it scares people away from getting on a plane and out of town for their next vacation. You don’t have to put your dreams on the backburner though, because there are so many great ways to save money for your next vacation. Whether it’s buying plane tickets, getting a place to stay or just everyday activities. Prices can stack up, but luckily, we’ve got a few key ways that you can cut the cost on your next great getaway.
The cost of getting to and fro is often the biggest when it comes to traveling. The best way to save money on plane tickets is by keeping an eye on prices and joining a frequent flyers program. These programs allow you to accumulate points for cheaper fares and upgrades. While it may take a while to stock up, after a while, these cards and programs can possibly save you a lot of money.
Travel credit cards are great if you know you can pay off your monthly interest, as it tends to be a little steep. Like an airline program, the purchases you make can help fund or partially fund your plane, train, rideshare and other travel expenses. We’re no experts, but if you’re interested in researching the best travel credit card, check out this super informative post via Nerdwallet.
Other easy changes to make are things like flying on a midweek day or a right on holidays such as Christmas day. Flying during specific times in the year helps too. Flying in the spring, excluding spring break dates and graduations, is generally cheaper, as well as directly after big holidays, like in January. Also, try using budget airfare sites like Skyscanner or Kayak, especially if you can be flexible with travel times.
Red eyes, early morning flights, or flights with layovers are generally cheaper due to them being inconvenient for others. If you’re not terribly far from your destination consider taking a bus like a Megabus or Greyhound where you can get across the states or Europe for a fraction of the price. If you’re new to the bus and train method, Wanderu is a helpful resource that takes away some of the confusion.
Cheapest Prices Found from Los Angeles to Las Vegas (Spring 2019):
Bus: $10 (via Megabus)
Plane: $81 (via Spirit Airlines, no carry-on)
Rental Car: $153 (via Enterprise, after fees)
Where you stay on your trip also is a big deciding factor in the cost, and of course, there are a variety of ways to save here too. Joining hotel rewards programs, such as the one offered on Hotels.com, can often help you save money since you get one free room for every ten rooms that you book. You can also join rewards programs for specific hotels, similar to the airfare programs. Some of these include Marriott Rewards, World of Hyatt, and Best Western Rewards.
Another way that you can save money is by avoiding hotels altogether. Most of us know that sites like Airbnb can help save A TON of money, especially in big cities, where hotels are often very expensive. If you’re looking for a really cheap place to stay, of course, you can also opt for hostels, which are popular for backpackers and solo travelers, and are usually no more than $20 a night per person.
The biggest tip we have when it comes to saving money on everyday activities is to travel like a local, even in Europe or other international destinations. Avoid super touristy activities and restaurants, simply because they are often more expensive. Public transit is also a great way to save, so unless you really need to rent a car, public transit is a great option.
Budget Vacation Activities and Tips:
- Book discount travel, tickets or tours through places like us (Must Do Travels, of course) or Costco.
- Visit a national park, many are free!
- Find local coupon books.
- Eat and drink before heading to a concert, sports game or museum where the food prices are bound to be crazy high.
- Find a place to stay just outside of the major touristy areas.
- Check Groupon.
- Try to avoid weekends and holidays if you’re heading towards super popular places like theme parks, tourist attractions, historical sites, waterparks and other crowded areas.
- If possible, only eat out once a day, and instead stock up on granola bars or cheap street food. Be sure to budget at least $15-20 a day for food when planning.
- Bring a reusable water bottle, because not only is buying a plastic water bottle annoying, it gets expensive.
- Track your spending through apps like mint or via your banking app to make sure you don’t go too far into the red.
There are so many easy ways to save money on your next vacation! You can totally be one of those people who seems to just get up and go, all it takes is a little savings and some smart planning.