Published On: Tue, Sep 4th, 2018

6 Tips for Saving Money on Your Next Vacation

You don’t have to lower your expectations to take an affordable vacation. But you do have to be smart. Luckily, it’s easy to be shrewd with today’s technologies enabling us to research, reserve and render travel plans that are fun and cost-effective, too. A little investigation before you begin your journey, as well as some creative thinking once you arrive at your destination, will help you minimize useless spending and maximize your budget. Here are six tips to remember:

Vacation

Travel in the Off-Season

Airfare and room rates increase with demand. If you can, avoid traveling during peak vacation periods like school breaks and holidays when everyone is free and vying for the same sort of entertainment in the same kind of places. If you must travel during a holiday season, consider going on the actual holiday itself when flights and roads are less crowded and accommodations are cheaper. Go to the beach during the fall or spring and skiing when the slopes are readying to close for the year. Also, learn about the place you’re visiting, as international locations will have their own schedule for holidays and school breaks that you might wish to avoid. And if you are flying somewhere, try to schedule one or more legs of your trip mid-week, which is like an airline’s “off-season” with typically cheaper fares than those on the weekend.

Negotiate

Everything has a price, and it’s not necessarily the first one advertised. Hotel, airlines, car rental companies and tour providers each pay a commission when travelers book reservations for their services via a middleman (like hotels.com or cheapflights.com). Thus, they must increase their prices in order to make a profit. Contact companies directly to see if they have better rates than their intermediaries. The same is true for many of the local shops you will encounter during your trip, especially any market areas. Ask for a better price, and you just might get it.

Search for Free Opportunities

Many tourist attractions offer free admission during a certain day of the week or month. And many have reciprocal membership benefits with other museums and zoos. A little research can uncover which attractions offer these types of services. 

Carefully Consider Your Accommodations

Look for hotels or rental houses with amenities like a laundry facility, pool, en suite kitchenette and included meals or a concierge lounge. Being able to pack light, entertain the kids for an afternoon and eat a meal (or more) “in” rather than “out” can save a substantial amount of cash.

Get a Good Credit Card and Use it Wisely

Look for a credit card that charges the least amount of fees for international transactions. Many travel reward credit cards offer options with no associated fees. You should also be wary of exchange rates while traveling abroad, as many merchants and money exchangers will charge a ridiculously high rate if they feel they can get away with it. Finally, avoid changing money in airports and shopping districts. Instead withdraw larger amounts (in local currencies) less often from an ATM or local bank.

Look First, Buy Later

Window shop as much as you like, but save the majority of your souvenir purchasing until after you’ve gotten a feel for the true costs of things. Too often people fall prey to instantly gratifying their desire without stopping to contemplate value. Unless it’s a one-of-a-kind item, save your gift buying until you’ve decided what you most want and how much you want to pay for it. That way you don’t end up looking for timeshare contract loopholes in the middle of your trip because you didn’t stop to think about how you really wanted to spend your money, or get frustrated when you find your one-of-a-kind handbag in four different shops!