Tips for Vacationing on a Budget
By Peter Shannon
Looking for some vacation money saving ideas? There's nothing wrong with vacationing on a budget. Hey, we all can't travel like the rich and famous.
You save all year to get the money for a well earned vacation. You want to stretch your vacation budget but still enjoy yourself. Sounds like a good plan. To help you out I've together some vacation money saving ideas that I hope you will find useful.
If you have a particular destination in mind it pays to plan ahead. Research the attractions and facilities. Find out what specials or discounts they may have going. Look for other things to do or see nearby so that you can make good use of your time and cut down on the running from place to place.
Plan your vacation for the off season. You can usually get better deals on lots of things like plane tickets, hotels, car rentals, cruises and lots of other things.
If you have friends or relatives nearby your destination consider asking them if you can stay with them. Don't be a freeloader though. Even though you help pay for the groceries and other expenses your host incurs, it's still a good vacation money saving idea.
If you are flying try to plan your trip for when tickets are traditionally cheapest. That would be Feb thru May and September thru December (except the week before Thanksgiving and the two week period before Christmas). Try to avoid flying on Friday afternoons as this is often the busiest time of the week for airlines.
Meals can be expensive at restaurants so you can save some money by packing food for the road.
When eating out try to avoid the places that obviously cater to tourists. Find out where the locals eat. Ask around. The smaller family owned places usually have better food at better prices. You may have to go a little out of your way but it is usually worth it for some vacation money savings.
Hotels are typically more expensive the closer you get to a major attraction. With a little planning you can find a good balance between price and distance.
When picking hotels don't just go by the ratings. Compare the amenities they offer. Often you will find that you really don't need everything offered by that 4 star hotel and you can do very nicely at the 3 star"with a better price!
Consider buying or renting an RV. You travel at your own pace. Cooking and bathrooms are always close by. You can meet a lot of other friendly RVers who will usually be glad to point out the best places to go.
When traveling by car you can save fuel by renting a smaller fuel efficient model. Packing light, reducing your speed and maintaining proper tire air pressure will also cut the gas costs.
Make sure that your car is ready for the trip. Good tires, oil change, tune-up and all that good stuff. It's a heck of a lot cheaper and more convenient to deal with these things before you go rather than on the road somewhere.
Check out the local transportation system of buses, trains or trolleys. These can be considerably cheaper than using taxis.
Camping is a great vacation money saving idea. There are lots of campgrounds around. They are cheap and you may end up with an experience that outshines anything you can get a fancy hotel.
Plan activities that don't require a lot of money. Hiking, and swimming are good ones. Local Museums and historical sites are often very reasonably priced as well as being quite educational and fun. The big theme parks have their appeal but you can really go through the cash at those places.
Plan picnics. These can be excellent vacation money saving opportunities as well as a chance to really relax and enjoy the local area.
Avoid buying souvenirs. It's easy to get caught up and blow a bundle on these overpriced goodies. Set some mental rules ahead of time about how much you will spend on souvenirs and it will be easier to stick to it when the time comes.
I hope that you find some of these vacation money saving ideas helpful. Make a plan and stick to it. There's no reason why you can't have a great vacation without emptying the bank account.
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