Taking a vacation doesn’t mean you have to completely blow your monthly household budget. While you might spend a little more than usual, you’d be surprised at how inexpensively you can travel if you plan ahead.
We asked our @EFXFinanceBlog Twitter followers how they managed to pull off recent trips on a budget. Here are a few responses that can help you save money on your next vacation, no matter what the season.
@Kemwashcpa says: @EFXFinanceBlog yes! Use online sites like @Kayak to compare costs! Travel in groups to cut exp. Uses travel efficient cars to cut gas exp.
These are all great suggestions because expenses such as airfare, hotel, and transportation can eat up a substantial amount of your travel budget. Keep in mind that while online budget travel websites can help you find the most competitive ticket prices, the day you search also matters, according to data from Hopper. Generally, Thursdays are the best days to buy a ticket, whereas weekends are always the worst.
You also have a few budget-friendly options for accommodations. For options outside of hotels, check out Airbnb and 9flats, services that allow users to rent a local’s living space for a few days, at rates that are often substantially competitive to local hotels. You can also try staying in a hostel—a dorm-like environment where you are assigned a bunk bed in a shared room—or doing some camping a few nights on your trip. Check out the campgrounds available at your destination so that you can camp legally.
Another option when you travel is using public transit when you get to your destination. Buses and subways are almost always less expensive than taxis. If you are staying for several days, consider getting a multiple day pass so that you can use the public transit system as often as possible.
Planning ahead, and in as much detail as possible, is essential for saving money and sticking to your vacation budget. You’re less likely to splurge if you have planned out your activities for the day. Just as you would at home, read restaurant reviews and menus to plan out what you will be spending. Consider going out to eat at lunch instead of dinner, as the lunch specials are usually significantly cheaper. And don’t forget to ask the locals for recommendations to restaurants with inexpensive, delicious local food.
You should also plan your daily activities. Many museums offer a free night once a week, and some local attractions offer discounts for students. If you have a credit card with a rewards plan, check to see if you can use your points wherever you are traveling.
You don’t need to travel the word to enjoy your time off. Known as a “staycation,” the opportunity to sleep in, read a book or explore your own city can be just as restful—and far more affordable.
Plan something special for every day of your staycation, such as a picnic with your friends or family, ordering take out, hiring a house cleaner, or opt for a movie, play, or concert. Make a list of all the activities in your city that you’ve never had time for, such as visiting a museum or botanical garden, and do one of those activities every day.
One last note: Paying for experiences, such as a sightseeing tour of your destination, is often more rewarding than paying for souvenirs and fancy dinners. The memories will last forever, and they won’t break the bank. If you’re taking a trip this summer, it will be worth your time—and money—to do some planning before hitting the road.
The information contained in this blog post is designed to generally educate and inform visitors to the Equifax Finance Blog. The blog posts do not give, and should not be assumed to provide, personalized tax, investment, real estate, legal, retirement, credit, personal financial, or other professional advice. Before making any financial decision, you should always consult with the appropriate professionals who can explain your options, rights, and legal responsibilities, and advise you on any tax, legal, credit, or business implications that may result from those decisions. The views and opinions expressed by the authors of blog posts are their own views and may not be the views or opinions of Equifax, Inc. and/or its affiliates.