Travel can be fun and educational, but it can also put a drain on your finances. Here are a few ways to have a fun vacation without breaking the bank.
1. Plan ahead.
If you book your hotel rooms and air fare ahead of time, you can shop around and save a fortune. You can even look for restaurants near your hotel or the attractions you want to visit. Most restaurants now have their menus online so you can compare prices and find one that suits your budget.
2. Look for package deals.
The CityPass program offers tickets to all the major attractions in a city for one price, giving a significant discount when compared to visiting each attraction and paying separately. Sometimes hotels will throw in tickets to an attraction or show. Theme parks often have deals where you can get tickets to two or more parks and save money on admissions. Remember that package deals are only a “deal” if you really want to do all of the things in the package.
Taking taxis and buses can eat into your travel budget quickly. Instead of paying a lot for transportation, shop around and find an inexpensive hotel near the things you want to see. Even if you are driving on your vacation, being able to walk from your hotel will save you on gas and parking fees.
4. Picnic when possible.
If you have a vehicle with you on your trip- either a rental or your own- be sure to have an ice chest filled with drinks, snacks, and sandwiches. Having a picnic is a lot cheaper and more fun than eating fast food!
5. Set a limit.
Spending money on souvenirs can be tempting, and there is nothing wrong with bringing back a few mementos. That being said, too many purchases can make for an expensive trip. Set a dollar amount you can comfortably spend and stay within range of that amount. Also decide on what kinds of things you will really use and appreciate. There is no point buying a souvenir that will collect dust or sit in the back of a closet.
6. Choose a few cheap destinations.
It’s ok to splurge on some of your vacation days by doing something pricey, but not every day needs to be filled with expensive entertainment. Plan on taking some days to visit a museum, explore a park, or just relax. By keeping most of your activities low-budget, you can afford to do a few special things.
7. Carry a canteen or water bottle.
Vending machine drinks such as sodas or bottled water can cost a fortune. Vendors take advantage of thirsty travelers by hiking their drink prices sky high. Make sure you don’t fall into the trap. Keep a canteen or a sports bottle in your backpack or shoulder bag at all times.