Traveling, whether short or long distances, can be a great escape from the stress of daily life. A vacation can help you relax, see exciting places, and enjoy new experiences. Often, a much-needed vacation is put off because of cost. Travel can be expensive. However, budget travel doesn’t mean skimping on fun. You can take a fabulous vacation without busting your bank account or maxing out your credit cards.
For affordable travel, it’s all about knowing a few budget travel tips and tricks.
Budget Planning Your Vacation
Advanced planning can be the key to cheap travel. While spontaneity offers a certain level of thrills, when it comes to vacations and traveling, it often comes with a higher price tag. For example, plane tickets typically are more expensive when purchased closer to your departure date. According to Investopedia, “Flights tend to be the most inexpensive between four months and three weeks before your departure date.”
With advanced planning, it may be possible to take advantage of seasonal discounts and even coupons. Researching restaurants, entertainment, and activities can help keep travel expenses lower as well. Take the time to find deals on the things you want to do to keep your travel budget low and reasonable.
How To Travel For Cheap: Travel in Low or Off Seasons
It’s reported that the busiest days to travel, which often translate to being some of the most expensive, are Fridays in the summer months of June, July, and August. Other peak seasons or travel times include:
Thanksgiving (in particular the Wednesday before Thanksgiving)
Christmas (from about December 22 to December 26)
New Years Eve (from about December 30 to January 2)
Memorial Day weekend (Friday through Monday)
Spring break (from about mid March through early April)
Easter weekend and/or the week prior to Easter Sunday
Mardi Gras (starts January 6 and runs through Fat Tuesday; dates vary by year
Once you know the peak seasons, it’s easier to plan budget travel for low or off seasons. Typically, you can find lower rates for airfare, accommodations, and attraction tickets when it’s not peak season. The other bonus—smaller crowds.
Choose Lesser-Known Destinations
It’s not uncommon for widely popular vacation destinations to come with a higher price tag. When it’s a hotspot or extremely tourist-y destination, be prepared to pay more. One way to plan a getaway and stick to a budget is to choose a lesser-known destination. Find a hidden gem.
Have you heard about McCall, Idaho? It’s not New York or Chicago, but this Idaho town of 3,500 is a hidden gem, a lesser known destination that has a lot to offer. Located on the shore of Payette Lake, this area has amazing scenery and tons of outdoor activities, including easy access to some of the region’s best natural hot springs.
There are hundreds of lesser known travel gems throughout the United States and Mexico. It’s possible to find vacation rentals that often are more affordable than all-inclusive resorts. A vacation rental can help you save money and experience a new destination that may not have been on your radar before. It’s a great way to have an adventure, indulge in a retreat, or simply get away from the heavy tourist spots that cost a fortune.
Find the Free Stuff
It’s possible to find deep discounts or freebies when traveling. However, to find the free stuff, you usually need to plan ahead. Begin by checking the local chamber of commerce website. Your destination’s chamber of commerce may offer deeply discounted tickets to local events, vouchers for BOGO (meals or entertainment), and other free items. Check your various membership cards for freebies as well. Are you a member of AAA, AARP, or maybe you’re in the military? Membership has its privileges and it can mean free things for you when traveling—free baggage check for your flight, complimentary access to airport lounges, and discounts for things like airport parking, gas, car rentals, and restaurants. If you plan to travel during your birthday month, take advantage of the free perks that may be available. Many restaurants and places like Starbucks offer free items for birthdays if you have a member card or are registered on their website.
Use Savings Sites
Look to sites like Groupon to save on experiences, restaurants, and more. You can buy discounted tickets and vouchers on Groupon for things like amusement parks, mini golf, brewery tours, wine tastings, scuba lessons, skydiving, and entrance into museums. Be sure to snag your Groupon deals before you leave for vacation and make note of any restrictions or limits that may come with the deal.
When staying in a vacation rental, consider ordering items like food and essentials to be delivered on your day of arrival. Take advantage of lower prices and discounts from warehouse savings stores like Sam’s and Costco. Another option is to have a delivery made by Amazon, especially helpful for keeping a budget if you have coupons that can be used as well.
Book Homes with Kitchens
Book a vacation rental with a kitchen and plan to eat in at least one meal daily. This can save you as much as $30 to $100 or more a day. We get that you don’t want to cook or do dishes while on vacation, but you can eat-in with minimal work and clean-up.
Visit the local grocery store and shop in the freshly prepared meal section or deli. This is ideal for lunches, especially when on-the-go. Pack a picnic lunch for the beach or when hitting the trails for a day hike. When traveling with a family or larger group, picking up a variety of entrees and sides from the deli can be a cost-effective (and easy!) way to enjoy a delicious meal but without the high-cost of a restaurant. Don’t forget to stock up with easy breakfast fare like microwave oatmeal, pastries, and bread for toast.
Take Advantage of City Passes
The official CityPASS site has more than a dozen cities/areas where travelers can select day/week passes to get lower prices on tickets for a variety of venues and attractions. Booking a rental in Santa Barbara but planning a day in L.A.? Get a CityPASS for major attractions like Disneyland and Universal Studios Hollywood. Some cities offer their own version. It’s worth a look to see if your destination site has something similar. Cities with multiple museums or attractions may offer a bundle deal where, for a single price, you get entry into everything, which is often cheaper than buying individual tickets. If you’re planning on using public transportation as part of your budget travel, many cities offer discounted fares when using the transit app and purchasing multiple rides. Online passes for buses, subways, and trolleys typically are cheaper when it’s for more than just a single ride.
Open Travel-Friendly Accounts
A travel-friendly account may be a credit card that offers airline miles, discounted car rental fees, or even a debit/bank card that has zero ATM fees when used anywhere in the country (or worldwide). The latter can save you a bundle on a trip. Being hit with high ATM fees when out of the country is one way to bust a budget. Often times, these credit cards also offer sign-up bonuses that can be worth a value of two plane tickets and more! Just be sure to do your research on annual fees and other stipulations.
Traveling on a Budget with a Casago Vacation Rental
Travel Statistics reports that 74-percent of millennials say budget is their main factor when traveling. Millennials aren’t the only ones looking for affordable travel. As costs for everyday living continue to creep upward, that vacation budget may seem to shrink. The good news is you can travel on a budget. It may take more planning, but it’s worth it.
When looking for a luxury escape, skip the high-priced cookie-cutter chain hotels. Choose a vacation rental that offers privacy, a fabulous location, and that’s affordable. At Casago, we have a wide selection of vacation destinations in the United States and Mexico. You can find a cozy mountain retreat in Park City, Utah, a beachside condo in La Paz, Mexico, and destinations near picturesque national parks, golf and ski resorts, historical sites, and cultural attractions. Contact us to start planning your next vacation today!