With Memorial Day officially behind us, summer vacations are just around the corner. Is there a way to have a great vacation and be frugal at the same time? Yes! I’ll share some of my best tips learned over the years and new ideas shared by clients.
When You Just Gotta Get Away
With services like Expedia, Kayak, Expedia, travelers can often find deals on airfare, hotels and rental cars. If you have a specific destination in mind, TripAdvisor can alert you when discounts are available. When you’re flexible on dates — for example an offseason or non-weekends — you can get some real deals.
If you’re open to non-hotel experiences, I suggest sites like Home Away and Airbnb to find accommodations. It’s great for families who need space and the ability to prepare meals. You can save on food costs by eating breakfast before starting on each day’s adventures and pack a picnic lunch. Dinners are typically the most expensive meal of the day, especially if you order appetizers, adult beverages, and dessert. By eating in while you’re vacationing, you can still splurge on things you’ll really enjoy.
For the really budget-minded traveler, you can find accommodations with shared common areas. If you’re okay with sofa beds or air mattresses, you’ll save a bundle.
Travel by Car, Redeem Air Miles or Hotel Points
Airfare, especially for a family, can be very expensive. Consider choosing a vacation destination located within driving distance. Of course, you need a reliable and safe car. If you earn air miles or hotel points, use them to defray your vacation costs.
Share a Rental with Family or Friends
By vacationing with friends or family, you split the costs of a house rental. Many clients have fond memories of shared vacations. This option may appeal to many frugal vacationers… others may be willing to spend the extra money for a bit of alone time. My family shared the rental of a party boat with several friends on a lake outside of Yosemite last year. What would have been an expensive day on the water was instead very reasonably priced, complete with onboard barbecue. Most importantly, everyone had a blast swimming, eating, and enjoying the day.
Staycations Aren’t Necessarily Boring
Several years ago, staycations were quite common. There are many benefits to staying at home for your vacation:
- No packing required
- No travel stress
- Ultimate savings on accommodations
- Opportunity to explore local attractions
- Get away with day trips
- Focus on relaxing
- Vacation at your own pace
Home exchange programs are a great way to stay for free, travel anywhere, and live like a local. When you join a house-swapping community, you list your house or apartment and can browse listings all over the world.
Deals & Coupons
As you’re planning your frugal vacation, check out visitor centers and other sources for coupons and discounts. If you’re a member of AARP or AAA, they offer member-only deals and discounts that can save you some serious cash.
Want Help Saving for a Vacation?
At Fiscally Fit, we think our clients’ money should work for them. We often find easy and painless ways to save for vacations. Call us for a 30-minute complimentary consultation.
Photo credit: Patloika, Sydney Treasures