Vacations On A Budget

There are plenty of ways that you can enjoy a fun and fulfilling vacation whether on your own or with friends or family without spending whole ton of money. A vacation doesn’t necessarily have to be expensive to be fun and entertaining although it certainly can be depending on where you choose to go and for how long. If you plan ahead and put in a little advance preparation you can save a great deal of money on your next vacation.

One of the biggest money wasters when it comes to vacations is not planning in advance. There is plenty of money that can be saved simply by making your plans in advance. Buying airline tickets far in advance, booking hotel reservations in the off-season, and purchasing passes to local parks and monuments prior to visiting them can often save a fair percentage off the purchase price than if you were to get them the within a few days of your vacation date. Little things like these can save you enough money to possibly extend your vacation time as well. Also when purchasing these things you should look for package discounts and certain times of the year or week when they are less expensive.

Plan your vacation to be in the off-season of whatever place you’ll be visiting as these are the times when prices are low. Tourist seasons are busy times and are also when prices are high for vacationers but if you go in the contrasting seasons not only will you be able to get discounts and lower prices (because business is so slow those time of years in tourist industries) but you’ll also be able to enjoy sights and attractions without huge crowds that come from traveling in the summer months. This also means that you’ll have less trouble getting around the place you’re vacationing, finding hotels and transportation, and that people will often be more helpful as they haven’t had a chance to get fed up and annoyed by hundreds of tourists asking similar questions. It can also be nice to see places in different times of year than just the summer months which can make visiting a place you’ve been to before an entirely new experience.

When possible - go local. Big chain restaurants and hotels make have the comfort and familiarity of being home but then why did you go on vacation in the first place right? Local “mom n’ pop” stores and inns can provide a classic level of hospitality and service for usually a much better price. They can also be an invaluable resource for finding your way around while on vacation as well as for locating little-know spots that can be much better than the typical tourist attractions listed in brochures. These are the type of people to ask about restaurant recommendations, inexpensive activities and much more. They can also help you with many common problems you might run into while traveling, especially if you’re in a foreign country.

Another great way to save money on vacation is to do it with friends. If you and your friends get together and talk to an airline, a cruise ship, a hotel, and so on you can often get good rates because of your larger group. This works especially well on cruises who, when getting closer and closer to departure dates, just want to fill up spaces to avoid losing as much money as possible. If you can guarantee a certain number of passengers you’ll often get a really nice discounted rate - and since cruises often include all your food you can end up having a really nice trip for a lot less than what it would have normally costed. Plus you’ll have all your friends or family there to enjoy it with you. It never hurts to try this approach and it can often mean the difference between being able to afford a vacation or not being able to go at all.

Certain destinations can also make your vacation a lot more expensive than others. Typically anywhere in North America or Europe tends to be a bit pricey in terms of vacation travel where as places like Latin America or Southeast Asia you can get a lot more bang for your buck there. A vacation to New York can be extremely expensive where as a visit to Thailand can have you living like a king in a four seasons standard, five star hotel for a month for what most of us pay for rent. It’s really a matter of what part of the world you want to see. Now if your heart is set on France, Spain, or Italy you shouldn’t go elsewhere just for the sake of money - all it means is you should be prepared to spend a little more than if you were to go elsewhere. But if you like the idea of seeing some new places then explore your options a little bit and see if there isn’t a place in another part of the world that sounds appealing to and is a little better suited to your budget.

It can also help if you get a clear idea of what you really want your vacation to be about and then spend money in those areas to make your vacation more worthwhile in terms of dollars. If you’re all about adventure and activities then maybe you should forgo the fancy expensive hotel and spend some time camping in your destination of choice. You’ll save money and you may come back with even more adventure than you thought you could get before. If you’re really all about food and exploring new cuisines then don’t bother lots of museums and tourist hot spots if they aren’t what you’re really after. Instead spend some time in street markets and local restaurants enjoying your vacation for what you came for. If you take the time to really decide why you’re going to the place you’re going and what you want to get out of it you’ll be able to spend your money a lot more wisely once you get there.

Another great way to save money is to ask the support and advice of family and friends or even people you know distantly that have been to the place you’re taking a vacation to. Many times they’ll know tips or tricks about where to go, who to ask, how to find, and much much more in the way of advice on how to save money. They’ll have experience and information that is priceless and can’t be gotten from a guidebook or a tourist website especially if they’ve been to the place more than once. They may even have close friends that you can stay with or that would be happy to show you around which can save you money on hotels or guides.

Vacations are also a great time to really get down to earth and more “rustic” style vacations can mean the difference between spending a ton of money or spending just a little. If you’re up for some camping, outdoor activities, home-cooked food, and new adventures then you could save a great deal of money while still being able to take your vacation to a new place. Remember that mother nature is usually free and as long as you take care of her she’ll take care of you too!

There are tons of different ways to be conservative with your money on your vacation and the more you plan in advance the better the odds are that you’ll be able to really enjoy your time away from home without worrying about breaking the bank and that’s what makes a vacation fun. You don’t want to be spending a bunch of your vacation stressed out over how much money you have left to work with - that takes all the joy out of the experience. Just plan ahead, be willing to compromise in some areas, and keep things relaxed. If you stick to those steps you’ll be sure to have a great time.