We all have visions of this when we think of vacations right?
But what do you do when your budget is looking more like this?
Spring Break is coming up, and with it come vacation plans! Vacations are a great way to create lasting memories with your family & friends, but they can quickly break the bank if you aren't careful. We tend to live more lavishly on vacation then we ever would in our day to day life, and all the dinners, shopping, & souvenirs really add up! But, with a little time, effort, and self control, you can get those lasting memories on a budget!
- Research, research, and more research! Spend time going through different websites, do online searches for coupons or deals. Often times the top searches are going to be those who have paid a lot for top searches, and will most likely cost the most. Be creative and you will be able to rake in some great deals.
- Use sites like Groupon, Living Social, Travelzoo, etc. They have some great deals for top vacation spots! Always remember to do a quick search for coupons first, Groupon and Living Social often have coupons out there for further discounts!
- Bundle everything! If you are flying, renting a car, and staying at a hotel, you can bundle them together for greater savings. Try Expedia or Travelocity for some great bundle deals.
- If you are renting a car, get the lowest class car you can to fit your base needs. $10 dollars a day may not seem like much, but over a week it is $70 plus tax! Plus a smaller car will get better gas mileage.
- If you are going to a "tourist" city, consider staying in a neighboring town. Your hotel costs will most likely be far lower then anything you could find in the city.
- Be flexible on your dates if possible - especially if you are flying, some days around your intended vacation might be less expensive.
- Go off season - this one doesn't even need to be explained!
- Spend your days cheaply: Find great things to do around your location that are free or cheap. This will save you tons of money!
- Be smart with food - Food can be one of the most costly things during vacation! Consider stopping at a local grocery store and stocking up on some food that can easily be eaten or made in your hotel room. Grab snacks before your trip so you aren't constantly paying convenience store prices for that soda or bag of chips you crave. Another great way to save some money is to eat bigger lunches, when prices are cheaper, and then a smaller dinner.
- Finally, we understand that vacation is a time to kick back, have fun, and splurge a little. A great way to splurge without the guilt is to plan a few "splurge" activities. Go out to a fancy restaurant, take a special tour, do something luxurious. Then the rest of the time, opt for the free activities, and low cost restaurants. Knowing that you have something to look forward helps you stay on track over your vacation.
So, it really is easy to vacation on a budget. With some time, perserverance, and research, you can stretch your "motel vacation budget" into a "paradise vacation budget!"