It may still be January but the busy travel season of summer will soon be upon us! I don’t know about you, but I have been thinking about the trip we are planning over memorial day since about labor day! Subscribe to my newsletter to find out more about that trip!
You may not be quite as crazy about planning in advance as I am but it is never too soon to start budgeting and looking for ways to save on your travels. Some of you may even have spring trips in the works so you should definitely be thinking about how to afford those trips.
All the planning, research, and thought I put into prepping for and saving on our trips has lead me to focus on the following three ways to save big on vacations.
Firstly, to save a lot on travel you must be flexible.
You probably have a vision in your head of your vacation when you begin planning it. It may include a week at a beach front resort but your budget may only be able to afford a La Quinta a mile from the beach!
This doesn’t mean you should scrap the dream of a beach vacation! You just have to adjust your plans.
To save and be able to afford a trip you may have to alter your dates for cheaper flights or hotel stays. You may need to stay in a vacation home and cook a few meals rather than going out. You may need to drive somewhere closer rather than fly. Switch guided tours to self-guided walking tours– I prefer these anyway!
Other swaps you can make to save are using ride sharing services instead of renting a car, or renting a car and staying a little ways outside your desired area for cheaper rates. Doing the math on this can be surprising, you may save enough by staying in an outlying area that adding in a rental car is still cheaper than staying closer.
One of my free resources is a travel planning tool with a list of dozens of ways to save. Subscribe below for access to this and other free, money saving goodies!
A second big way you can save when traveling is by shortening your trip and being willing to get up early!
When looking at flights you may save a few hundred dollars by leaving a day later or returning a day sooner. This is especially true when looking at flying on the weekend. Naturally you will save on hotel or rental costs this way too.
One less night can save hundreds! Cheaper flights, cheaper hotel or rental fee, and less food and entertainment costs.
Cutting your trip a bit does not mean you have to miss out on sites and activities at your destination though! It just means that you have to utilize your time wisely. It can definitely be tempting to catch up on sleep while you can but those are hours of wasted time- and money! Getting up early allows you to do more with your days (which ends up making them seem longer!)
When you’ve gotten up early you can also hit up popular sites before they are extremely crowded! I would also suggest doing big lunches rather than dinners. This gives you a break in the day and lunches are typically cheaper. Another savings that comes from being an early bird.
This last tip is more a lifestyle tweak rather than a way to save on the actual trip.
To be able to save up to travel you must make it a priority. And this involves not prioritizing other things.
If you want to be able to travel you have to prioritize these experiences over things.
If you are struggling to afford vacations but you keep upgrading your phone, buy designer clothes, drive a new car etc., you are not truly making travel a priority!
Every person has choices in where to spend their money. The choices you make show what your priorities are. Dave Ramsey’s quote “A budget is telling your money where to go instead of wondering where it went” sums up this idea.
If travel is a priority to you, saving for it should be a part of your budget! For my husband and I, paying down debt and saving for travel are both priorities to us and our budget reflects this. We spend little on other budget categories that matter less to us. These are the choices we make to be able to reach our goals.
If budgeting is something you struggle with- or you do not have a budget at all! – check out my “How to Stay on Budget Every Month” series for help!
In short, vacations can be affordable for all if you are willing to make your spending reflect your travel desires and you are willing to be flexible with the details of your trip.
I would love to hear ways you have saved on travel and made your budget vacations happen- leave me a comment below!