Spend Less on Vacation With These 6 Clever Budget Planning Hacks

When was the last time you took a vacation?

As beautiful as it is to travel, it’s an activity that has always come with a pretty big price tag. With prices for plane tickets, gas, and hotel rooms at their peaks (thank you very much, inflation!), it’s even more expensive to go on vacation. And for many of us, it’s simply not in the budget or on our priority list at the moment.

…but what if it could be?

Even in those moments when money is tight, getting away for a few days doesn’t have to be absolutely out of the question. All you have to do is discover new tips on how to travel smart. It might feel like it’s simply not necessary, but it will pull you out of your routine, give you the chance to relax and discover new things, and will also help you make some memorable memories with the people you love.

And who knows? Maybe it will even inspire you to do something different in your day-to-day life! Now that I’ve made you dream of a short getaway, it’s time to tell you more about how you can actually make this possible. I’ve talked to a few experts, and they’ve told me all their tips and tricks on how to save money while traveling.

Believe me when I say that all of these things are easy and you can incorporate them into your activity without losing any of the fun. Are you ready to book that plane ticket to that special destination you’ve had your eyes on for a while? Here are all the things you should know about going on a vacation without draining your savings! Bon voyage!

Photo by Rawpixel.com from shutterstock.com

1. Book early 

You can’t book your flight tickets now and travel after a week and expect to save money, because you’ll actually pay a lot more. When it comes to sticking to a budget, you have to book your flight tickets as early as possible to ensure that you can get the best price.

A good tip is to use Incognito when you search for flight tickets on the Internet, because most websites use some bots that know what you’re looking at, and they are more likely to raise the cost if you don’t immediately make the purchase, but you still look at that offer several times.

If you’re a chronic procrastinator and you wait until the last second to take care of the things you’re supposed to, this is your chance to do better. Booking your trip early while using Incognito mode will help you save money and get the best flight price. Another thing you can do is sign up for travel alerts and deals at least a few weeks before your vacation date so that you can do a bit of research and find the best offers.

Besides that, you can always use shopping tools such as price scanners, so you can compare prices and find something affordable and convenient. A popular app that might help you is Hopper, which is great for finding the best travel deals. If you don’t like this, you can simply track flight costs straight on Google Flights. By using the right tools, you are more likely to find something at a good price and at the optimal time too.

2. Book Smart

As you’ve already guessed by now, the key to having a budget-friendly vacation is to plan in advance. Now that you’ve got your flight tickets ready, it’s time to look for a place to stay. Of course, the first thing that will come to your mind is a hotel, but they are pricier compared to other options.

If you travel all by yourself, you can go to a hostel. I know that it doesn’t sound very tempting, but sharing your space with other people is not as bad as you might think. You’ll have the chance to save some money, stay in the center of the city, make new friends, and get tips from other travelers. Another great thing is that the majority of hostels have kitchens, so you can cook your own meals if you buy food from local grocery stores.

If you plan on traveling with your significant other or with your family, it might be better to choose an Airbnb rather than a hotel. It’s cheaper, more convenient, and it gives you the possibility to use their kitchen and cook your own food if you want to save some extra money.

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3. Pack Light

If you’re used to putting all the things in your closet in your suitcase, it’s time to let this bad habit go. Overpacking is not only going to make your luggage difficult to carry around the airport, but it will also add some additional fees for oversized or overweight bags. You can simply avoid the extra cost by only packing what’s absolutely necessary.

Think of it as a wonderful opportunity to learn more about how to create different outfits with simple and chic items. Only pack things that are versatile and that give you the freedom to play with all sorts of looks and styles.

As for the proper way to pack your bag and save space, some travel experts recommend the rolling technique or the folding method, which will allow you to have a bit of extra space to add more items. And the best part is that your clothes will be wrinkle-free. Well, who has time to iron their outfits while having fun on vacation, right?

4. Travel-Friendly Credit Cards

Another way to cut costs while having fun on vacation is by using travel-minded credit card deals. There are cards that offer serious sign-up bonuses and even travel points for purchases. Instead of paying for your whole trip on credit, you’d better use the card as a way to save money. Pay your holiday bills and accumulate points at the same time to offset some of your trip expenses.

5. Choose local places to eat

I get it. You’re on vacation and you want to have fun and treat yourself. There’s nothing wrong with that, but if you don’t want to go home completely broke, here’s what you should do: forget about all those fancy restaurants and dip your fork into some amazing street food options. These are usually more affordable compared to the lavish cafeterias around the city and the food they offer is pretty good too.

Popular and beautiful cities such as London, Cartagena, Tokyo, and Marrakesh are well known for having some of the most scrumptious street food you could possibly find, so make sure you try it.

Another helpful tip is to eat a big lunch since the mid-day menu is usually cheaper compared to the evening one. You can grab your food from some locally owned businesses, which typically offer authentic and low-priced options. Eat a big lunch and choose something smaller for dinner. It might not seem like a big deal, but you’ll save more money than you think.

Photo by Jacob Lund from shutterstock.com

6. Be mindful of your drinks 

If you do decide to stay in a hotel, don’t even think of consuming the drinks in the minibar. The prices for those small drinks are insane. You can go to a local bar scene and stay on a budget by ordering house wines or more simple beverages, not some fancy and sugary cocktails. Besides saving money, you’ll also save some calories, given the fact that you stay away from elaborate cocktails that contain all sorts of artificial ingredients.

As for casual or pre-dinner drinks, you don’t have to sacrifice any of the fun stuff, but be mindful of what you get. So, if you want to save some more money while still having the experience you want, go to the supermarket and buy some beer or wine. These usually have much lower prices, and the quality is still great.

Keep an eye out for bars and pubs that are frequented by local people when you do want to explore the evening life there. Don’t forget to look into alcohol discounts and happy hours as well! Small things make a huge difference!

Even though you want to have the time of your life on vacation, let’s not forget about the fact that you need to stay hydrated. Invest in a reusable water bottle with a filter for when you explore the city, and you’ll save a few bucks by doing so. Typically, water bottles in touristy zones will always be overpriced, so it’s better to be prepared and have your own drinks to save some serious money.

You’ll discover that it’s actually rather simple (and enjoyable) to plan a trip that actually fits your budget by using these simple travel hacks. Travel safely!

…Do you want to know more about how to save some coins and still have fun while going on vacation? We have even more tips for you! Check this article out: 9 Great Ways To Stay On A Budget While Traveling!


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