5 Easy Ways To Save Money When Planning Your Next Vacation

by Leon on February 9, 2014

vacation tipsA vacation is meant to fill you with a sense of adventure and the opportunity for a little R&R. If the planning process is too stressful because of the amount of work involved in finding ways to stick to your budget, you might just throw in the towel and stay home. But it just so happens that there are plenty of ways to save money when you plan your next trip. Here are a few you’ll definitely want to add to your play book.

Use travel rewards. If you have yet to sign up for a credit card that offers you reward points for every purchase, then now is a good time to get started, and there is no shortage of programs that will help you pay for travel. You can also sign up for memberships with vendors like airlines, hotel chains, or rental car agencies that you prefer, gaining rewards with every trip. In some cases your reward points can be used to pay off travel expenses you place on a credit card, while others allow you to input your account number at the time of purchase for immediate savings on your travel bookings.

Consider an Inn & Suites. Any time you can cut back on eating out and make your own meals you’re going to save a ton of money. Consider that an order of toast at a restaurant might cost you a couple bucks, while a loaf of bread is, say, $5 (or less) and you’ll get ten or more servings out of it. Now apply that logic to all of your meals. You’ll certainly want to sample some local cuisine by eating out while you’re on vacation, but you don’t necessarily have to do so for every meal. And if your travel budget is tight, this type of lodgings could definitely help you to save some dough.

Try hotel alternatives. Staying at a local B&B can not only save you some money over hotel chains, but it can also allow for a more relaxing and intimate setting for your vacation, a chance to enjoy the “local” experience, access to people who know the area, and of course, a homemade breakfast included with the price of lodgings. That said, you might not be keen on staying with a host. In this case, check out sites like Airbnb and Vacation Rental by Owner (VRBO). These booking sites are like a home swap, only you pay to stay in an empty house or apartment rather than a hotel. You can get the privacy you want and find a great price in the process.

Fly to hub cities. You probably already know about using sites like Kayak and Expedia to comparison shop for rates on airline tickets, hotels, and rental cars, and you’ve likely discovered that flexible dates can help you to save. But you might not realize that traveling to nearby cities can save you, as well. If you’re looking to go to a small town, you might want to look at rates for flying to larger cities nearby, even if your destination has an airport. Airlines have so many flights routed to their hubs that you may be able to save quite a bit, even if you have to rent a car or take a bus to your actual destination. If you’re planning to rent a car anyway, you’ll certainly save.

Consider an agency. Booking with an organization like Travels with Soha or an independent agent will require a fee, but you could actually end up saving over going it alone, depending on the type of trip you’re planning. If you’re going to multiple cities, for example, and seeing events like tennis or soccer matches, there’s a lot of planning and expense involved. A qualified and experienced agency has the connections and know-how to negotiate for the best possible prices. So even though you have to pay a fee for the service, you could actually end up saving money by hiring professional help, not to mention saving yourself a lot of time and hassle along the way.

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