The average American spends between $4,400 and $6,600 on their vacation.
Many people end up overspending on their vacation to the tune of 10% of their annual income. Some fail to budget the proper way and can’t afford unforeseen expenses.
Following a 50/30/20 budget rule can help you plan a vacation and build up the needed funds. However, it won’t prevent you from overspending.
Let’s take a look at the different steps you can take while planning your vacation to get more for less.
7 Tips to Plan a Vacation on the Cheap
Many people struggle to plan out a vacation or don’t even realize that setting loose goals can help them save money. A bit of careful preparation and a few ground rules can save you hundreds of dollars, though.
Here are our seven tips for planning a vacation that makes the most of your time and money.
1. Look for Discounts
Research ways to save money on every expenditure.
When you’re booking a hotel, see if any are offering special deals or digital coupons. It’s sometimes worth calling a hotel a day before your arrival to see if you can land any last-minute cancellations. These rooms are often priced much lower to help ensure they’re booked.
If you’re planning to visit museums, see if they have “free days” where you don’t pay a cover charge to enter. Many museums offer a free day over the weekend to help encourage traffic.
If you’re interested in concerts, there are digital discounts you can earn from sites like https://presale.codes/. You can then use these digital codes to help reduce the price of your ticket.
2. Visit Fewer Places
Instead of trying to pack as much travel into your vacation as possible, try settling on one location. Take the time to enjoy everything this one location has to offer, from restaurants to attractions.
By visiting one or two locations, you save big in several areas. You won’t have to take multiple flights to reach different cities or will spend way less on gas for your car to drive days to reach a new city.
Hotel stays will also be cheaper. Instead of paying a single one-time high price, you’ll get a discounted deal for staying multiple days. These savings may not seem like much. If you’re spending $150 per night at a different hotel over a 3-day period, versus paying $90 per night at the same hotel for three days, you’ll save a total of $180.
3. Search for Cheap Flights
Use various flight search engines to locate the cheapest flights available to you. Many of these sites compare their listings to hundreds of other sites to give you the best deal.
Also, consider booking your flight in the middle of the week. It’s cheaper to fly on days like Tuesday or Wednesday than it is to fly over the weekend. So long as you can be flexible with your departure and arrival dates, you’ll be able to score a cheap flight.
4. Book a Nonstop Flight
Every hour you spend waiting around in an airport is an hour lost on your actual vacation. Nonstop flights are sometimes more expensive, but the additional time you’ll earn to spend at your vacation destination may be worth it.
This step may not save you money, but it will save you big on time. In the case of a vacation, time is more valuable than money. Think about it. It took you an entire year to save up enough PTO to request time off. Don’t squander those valuable hours on layover time.
5. Use Credit Card Reward Points
If you have a credit card that rewards you with points on each purchase, now’s the time to put those to use. These points can often be put toward accommodation costs and flights.
If you can’t avoid using a credit card while on your vacation, be sure to use one that does offer reward points. You’ll want to start saving up those points for next year’s vacation right away.
6. Use Holidays
Most Americans only receive about two weeks of vacation to use for the entire year. They must build up PTO to take time off for vacation. Any additional days taken means the person is losing a valuable workday.
To extend your vacation to a longer stay, plan it around holidays. You could easily turn a four-day vacation into a ten-day stay.
7. Pack Smart
If you know you’ll be taking a flight to reach your destination, pack as light as you can manage. The more luggage you bring with you, the more you’ll pay to the air carrier for its transportation.
All airlines have strict guidelines concerning luggage costs and what classifies as a carry-on bag. It can cost up to an additional $100 for each bag you must get checked. Pack the essentials to reduce what you bring along.
Packing light will also reduce your stress when it comes to unloading all the luggage. If you enjoy gathering souvenirs, the extra space from packing light will come in handy as well.
Enjoy the Journey
When you sit down to plan a vacation, always keep in mind your budget.
You want to avoid overspending, or worse, going into debt to fund your vacation. If you charge your vacation to a credit card and build your debt, the price tag for your vacation will explode as interest collects. You could still be paying off your vacation from last year if you aren’t careful.
Follow the tips outlined in this guide, and you should be well on your way to saving money on your vacation. The more money you can save, the more you have to spend on other areas or put into savings for next year’s vacation.
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