Summer is here and that undoubtedly means that the season for vacations is here. My wife and I just returned from our annual vacation to celebrate our anniversary trip. As many of you probably know by now, my wife and I don’t make that much money. Yet, because we budget for our vacations ahead of time and find creative ways to save money in traveling, we are able to enjoy fantastic trips, that often leave people wondering how we afford to travel so much. There’s no big secret here – it’s all about prioritizing your spending so you can enjoy the things that matter.
Why People Waste Money When Traveling
Believe it or not, many families waste money when it comes to traveling because of various reasons. Traveling can be expensive, but it doesn’t have to be that expensive. Sometimes wasting money can mean that they failed to take a few extra minutes to plan ahead of time and find deals, while for others it is a result of buying into the traditional understanding of vacationing. The most important reason that people waste money when going on vacation is because of the mentality that they bring to vacations. For many people, vacation means a time to splurge. If you are working diligently to live frugally and be smart with your finances throughout the year, you may be tempted to get rid of all restrictions and buy into this mentality.
Yet, it doesn’t have to be this way. You can budget for your vacations and still give in to the summer temptations. A great way to balance “letting go” of restrictions and financial responsibility is to establish a dollar amount for the entire trip. Then, use this to limit your spending, while allowing yourself to enjoy splurging. Not only does this allow you to give in to the temptation to splurge, but it forces you to find ways to save money on the big items (like transportation and housing) so that you can do some fun stuff while on the trip (like scuba diving, zip lining, tours, etc.).
Ways to Save When Traveling
Saving money when traveling is a win-win. Here is how I think about it: every dollar that I save on this trip is a dollar toward the next trip. If I can save a few bucks on something that isn’t that important so that I can have another great trip next year, I am going to do that. Here are several ways that I have found to save money when traveling.
Travel Light – My wife and I made the mistake on our most recent trip of packing too much when we were traveling. We checked one bag between the two of us (better than one for each of us, I guess) when traveling overseas so that we could bring our own toiletries and not have to worry about buying any of these items, but it cost us big time. We had to pay an extra $25 each way, for a total of $50. We had thought that international flights permitted one free checked baggage, but times have changed. Traveling light can also mean the difference between a small and large rental car. For traveling, less is always more.
Find Alternative Housing – Another great way to save money when traveling is to avoid the popular choices. There may be a popular brand name hotel or resort where you are going, but odds are that there is alternative housing available. Many private owners rent out their private homes for people going on vacation. Looking at all the options may allow you to find a more affordable housing, saving you hundreds, if not thousands of dollars. We were able to find a cheap vacation rental for 1/3 of the price at the cheapest nearby resort. Talk about savings!
Stay Close – Another great way to limit the cost of a vacation is to stay close to home. While you could go to the extreme and do a “stay-cation,” saving money on transportation costs may be enough. Are there any big cities or nice beaches within a day’s drive from you? You might want to consider driving in order to save the high costs of airfare. Sometimes it’s not about where you go, but what you do.
Saving money when you are traveling doesn’t have to be tedious or time-consuming. These basic steps can help you save money and still enjoy your vacation. Determine what works for you and remember to enjoy your time away from the everyday happenings of life.
What tips do you have to save money on your vacations?
This post was written by Corey, a staff writer from 20’s Finances. He blogs to give young adults the materials needed to conquer financial challenges.
My name is Derek, and I have my Bachelors Degree in Finance from Grand Valley State University. After graduation, I was not able to find a job that fully utilized my degree, but I still had a passion for Finance! So, I decided to focus my passion in the stock market. I studied Cash Flows, Balance Sheets, and Income Statements, put some money into the market and saw a good return on my investment. As satisfying as this was, I still felt that something was missing. I have a passion for Finance, but I also have a passion for people. If you have a willingness to learn, I will continue to teach.