Summer. Hot. Vacation, anyone?
Lying on a beach, sipping an ice-cold cocktail sounds just about right this time of year.
May be why now is the time most people take time off work to go on a well deserved vacation.
Summer fun is relaxing and a great way to recharge your imaginary batteries. Knowing a few practical tips to save money on vacation can only be even more beneficial!
Although many promote the idea of how fun and frugal a stay-cation can be, the urge to travel somewhere for the summer is bigger than the desire to just stay home.
I mean, you’re at home all year long anyway, why not travel somewhere different for a change?
Whether it’s an exotic destination or the closest resort you can find, traveling implies spending money.
Unless you’re willing to walk there, you have airline tickets or gas to pay for.
Accommodation doesn’t come for free no matter how much you’ve hoped it would.
Your stomach isn’t on vacation, so you’ll also have to eat.
The list can go on..
The costs of traveling during peak summer season don’t have to exceed a certain budget limit, though.
There are plenty of ways you can spend less and avoid coming home broke.
Practical tips to save money on vacation
Plan your vacation when it’s most convenient
Before scheduling your “out of office” email, research the dates when it’s most convenient for you to leave on vacation.
Apparently, the cheapest days to travel are either Tuesdays or Wednesdays.
Also, avoid peak days & weekends (such as 4th of July or Labor Day weekend).
Prices are usually sky-high during certain holidays, so make sure to travel around them, if possible.
Of course, each airline has their own schedule & prices. You may find it cheaper to leave on a Saturday and fly back on a Tuesday.
Either way, research dates and prices in advance!
If possible, try planning your vacation leave around the dates that are convenient from a financial point of view.
And don’t be afraid to book the fly out with one company and the return flight with another, if it saves money.
Related article: How to enjoy a low-cost city break
Travel within driving distance
If booking your vacation interferes with your job duties or other colleagues’ time off, just find a destination within driving distance.
It may even be a cheaper alternative to flying.
Plus, you’ll have your own car available, which means you don’ have to rent a car on vacation, should you want to drive somewhere.
Book everything as early as possible
Often times, the best summer vacation deals disappear right in front of your eyes.
You may research the best dates to fly out, you’re thrilled with the price, but when you want to book your seat a coupe days later, the prices just went up!
Same goes for accommodation. AirBnb rentals, bed & breakfast deals, they seem to always get booked by the lucky people who don’t waste time thinking twice.
Personally, I find the best way to save money on transport & accommodation is to book everything weeks or even months in advance.
Related article: Turn investing in AirBnb properties into a money making opportunity
Share accommodation with family or friends
If you’re not traveling alone, save money on your vacation by sharing a rental with your fellow trip companions!
Instead of booking 2 rentals, book one with separate rooms! You’ll pay much less if you divide the costs!
Another option may be to simply ask your friends or family if you could spend a few days at their place.
I do this every time I travel to visit friends and family across Europe and return the favor when they visit me.
It’s wise and polite to have a backup plan, but it can’t hurt to ask!
It can save you hundreds, plus you get to spend more time with people you love.
Redeem your credit card rewards
Do you have any credit cards that came with travel rewards? Now is the time to redeem your points!
When booking your vacation, make sure to use the credit card that helps you get discounts.
However, only make use of it if it’s really worth it.
Don’t charge anything on your credit card just for the sake of the reward!
If you find a better deal elsewhere, go for it!
Related article: 4 less obvious credit card mistakes to always avoid
Can you handle traveling with just your carry-on?
Summer is the time to wear shorts, tank tops and bathing suits.
Summer clothing doesn’t take up a whole lot of space, so why pay for a huge luggage if you can get by with your carry on?
Personally, I haven’t paid for a checked in luggage in years.
I always make sure to pack light and save money on travel by avoiding luggage fees (they’re usually pretty steep).
Take advantage of free travel apps
Let’s not forget we live in the era of information.
Every touristy city in the world should have at least one free travel app by now!
Applications are great for always having a map available of the most important landmarks.
Most touristy apps have the hop on – hop off buses schedules and routes updated every few seconds. You can also compare prices and see which city pass is most convenient for you.
Aside from touristy apps, you can also install a free map application, to use offline.
It’s great to have a downloaded map to rely on when you’re in a new place.
Related article: Are sightseeing passes a good deal for you?
Avoid touristy locations to save money
This is merely stating the obvious, but touristy, crowded places will probably leave you broke.
Although visiting landmarks implies frequenting crowded places, you can still avoid spending a but-load of money on food, souvenirs, and other purchases by taking the paths less traveled.
Having a map available is a great help in this case. It will help you safely step away from the touristy food joints and find a place where locals eat, for a lower price.
Souvenir shops are also more expensive if they’re close to where the tourists usually hang out.
Avoid ATM and purchase fees
Whenever I travel, I make sure to have cash available in my wallet.
I know how unsafe it can be to lose the cash and how much safer it is to just use plastic and report is stolen if something should happen. I can assure you though, once you lose your wallet, you’ll also lose your ID, driver’s license, all debit & credit & fidelity cards and everything else you keep in it.
It’s safe to say it’s best to just keep an eye on your wallet!
Alternatively, you could apply for one of those no-transaction-fee cards.
I applied for mine a few years ago and before traveling for a longer period of time, I would just transfer money from my checking account to the card and use it to make various purchases when running out of cash.
When traveling abroad, it’s always best to take the necessary precautions to avoid unwanted fees. They add up quickly and in most cases, they’re pretty steep too!
Related article: Advantages and disadvantages that come with a credit card
Have you already made travel plans this summer?
What other tips can you share to save money on vacation?
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4 thoughts on “Practical tips to save money on vacation”
My wife and I are going on an international vacation that cost us less than $200 (just airport fees) because of all the rewards we gained the past couple of years. The hotel we are staying at is nice but was really affordable as well which was great (cheaper than our trip to Florida!). I’d say cutting down the cost of flying is key, so like you said vacationing within driving distance is good way to do that.
$200 is a great price to pay for airport fees! What a bargain! May I ask where you’re going? 🙂
When we plan our ‘long vacation’, I’m always looking for the best deals and am usually able to find them if I start researching 2-3 months in advance. On our ‘short trips’, however, we usually opt for destination within driving distance. If we’re only gone for 1-2 days, I find driving to be less stressful and less tiring.