As Spring comes to an end and temperatures rise, it is easy to daydream about vacation. If you are a student with the end of the year quickly approaching or just someone who needs a break from work, summer is a great excuse to get away. As lovely as laying on the beach of a Caribbean island with a cocktail by your side sounds, it isn’t always the most budget friendly. I am going to tell you some ways to enjoy the me-time you deserve while staying on budget. #maxtotherescue #wherewouldmaxgo
To Go or Not To Go
Just because you have vacation on the brain doesn’t mean that you have to travel long distances, or at all, to enjoy some time off. Consider a stay-cation and explore the city in which you already live or just relax at home and save the chores for another time. If you want to explore your city, stay away from popular tourist attractions and find something new to try. Maybe there is a restaurant that you’ve been wanting to try, a boutique you want to check out or a near-by hiking trail you want to tackle. If you just want to be lazy for a few days- do it! Spend your me-time on the couch binge watching TV or outside in your yard just enjoying the sunshine. Sometimes staying close to home is more relaxing since you avoid the stress of actually travelling. A few days of doing new things or relaxing at home is sure to leave you feeling recharged when it is time to get back to reality.
Stay-Cations Aren’t for Me
If staying close to home doesn’t interest you, there are ways to save some money while traveling. Start by researching vacation spots that are off the beaten path. Destinations that are very popular tourist locations tend to be more expensive and less authentic. Search for a town near a major destination so that prices are a little lower but the commute is still short. This will allow you to indulge in tourist attractions without over paying for a hotel that is in the center of the action. If you are going somewhere that requires air travel, look for packaged deals. There are many travel websites that show options to bundle a hotel, rental car and flights. Often times booking these together can save money. Lastly, summer is one of the most popular times to travel. If you are able to wait until the “off-season,” typically prices will be much lower. You won’t get to enjoy vacation right away, but having one booked gives you something to look forward to.
Where to Stay
You can save even more money by thinking outside the box when it comes to where you will stay. According to the American Hotel & Lodging Association, the average room rate is $110.35 per night. If you are going on a week-long vacation, that can really add up. Consider home-sharing options such as Airbnb because they are often cheaper than a hotel. These options tend to be more family friendly as well since you can find houses that sleep 8 or 10 people rather than a hotel room that only sleeps 2 or 4.
One of the biggest costs we accrue on vacation is food. Eating out every meal can be very expensive, especially if you are traveling with your family. Check out coupon sites such as Restaurants.com or Groupon to find great deals for restaurants in the area in which you are traveling. If you don’t mind staying in for dinner, staying at an Airbnb or in a hotel room with a kitchen, gives you the opportunity to cook for yourself. Another trick to save some money is to eat brunch instead of both breakfast and lunch. Cutting out one meal saves you money and since you are eating a little later, you won’t need another meal until dinner time.
Research Thoroughly Before Booking
Although instant gratification feels great, don’t book the first deal you see. Put time into researching several different locations and options to ensure that you are finding the most budget friendly choice possible. Doing the leg work before booking will be time consuming but will also give you peace of mind that you are staying true to your budgeting needs. Research places to stay, restaurant menu prices, possible ride-sharing or parking fees and everything in-between to accurately determine what the entirety of the trip will cost. It is easy to forget about the incidentals – but those too add up quickly.
Regardless of where you decide to go, there are plenty of resources at your disposal when it comes to making an informed choice. The internet, many travel and money saving apps and reviews of other travelers are the best resources you can utilize for trip planning. Happy traveling!