If you’re dreaming of a vacation, but you feel like you don’t have enough money to make it happen, the good news is that you probably do.
Research shows traveling and taking vacations, even just for a couple of days, can benefit our physical and mental health. You can take a break from the demands of your daily life, reduce your stress and feel better overall.
It’s an investment into your wellness that’s undoubtedly worth it.
With that in mind, the following are some tips to take a vacation even when you’re on a shoestring budget.
Shop for Travel Packages
There are ways that you can buy travel packages and save money. When you buy a package, what’s great is that you’re getting the benefit of discounts passed onto you by bundling your bookings. For example, you can book your hotel and attraction tickets together.
Booking packages makes your planning easier too, which is always a good thing. You can spend more time looking forward to your trip and less struggling with the details.
Choose Your Destination Carefully
Your destination is the single biggest determinant of how much you’re going to spend. Where you decide to go, for example, will dictate whether you can drive and, if you’re going to fly, how much those tickets are likely to be.
Things like food and tickets for activities once you arrive will be based on your destination as well.
Look for places that maybe aren’t as popular or are less widely known. You can find unique destinations with a lot of character that simply haven’t hit it big among travelers yet, so they’re still cheaper.
Also, look for cities and states with a generally lower cost of living, so your dollar will go farther.
Don’t automatically choose your destination first if your budget is a main priority.
Rather than picking a place to go first and then looking for flights and hotels there, switch it. Leave some flexibility so you can search for deals.
You should also think about the time of year compared to your destination. Different places will have varying peak travel seasons, so try to go off-peak.
Know When to Take Advantage of a Good Flight Deal
If you’re going to fly, you may have to jump on a good deal when you see one. If you’re browsing flights and you see one that stands out, it’s almost always going to be best to go ahead and get it. Those airline tickets only tend to go up as you get closer to your trip.
If you aren’t sure whether or not it’s genuinely a good deal, you can compare the flight to similar tickets and routes.
If you were to buy a ticket on a whim and then you decided it wasn’t the right choice, according to the Department of Transportation, all major airlines in the U.S. must allow a 24-hour period where you can make cancellations if you need to.
Don’t Assume an Airbnb Will Be Cheaper
For years, renting an Airbnb was a cheaper option than getting a hotel almost always. That’s not necessarily the case now. Airbnb’s can be extremely expensive, and you might end up finding a better or even significantly better deal in a traditional hotel.
Plan a Shorter Trip
Your vacation doesn’t need to last for weeks or even a week to be meaningful and enjoyable. Going for just a couple of days over a long weekend brings all the benefits of a more extended vacation and a much lower price tag.
Use a Prepaid Card
If you’re worried about how much you’ll spend when you’re actually on your trip, think about using a prepaid debit card while you’re there. You load it with whatever your budget is, and it has the convenience of a debit or credit card, but you can stay on track with your spending.
You’ll reduce the temptation you might feel to overspend, so you can enjoy peace of mind while you travel and when you get home.
Don’t Be Afraid of International Destinations
If your budget is your primary concern and you have enough time to do it, don’t automatically count international destinations out. Often, it can be cheaper to go somewhere in another country versus a popular tourist destination in the U.S. Flights may be pricer, but other things can be more budget-friendly.
Open up your mind to a variety of possible destinations, and you can save money and also have an adventure.
The key any time you’re planning a trip with your budget in mind is to be flexible.
Article by Born Realist