Vacations are a nice time to relax and get away from everyday life. Don't let the cost keep you from traveling because there are many ways to save money no matter where your journey takes you.
With the right planning, a bit of strategy and a touch of creativity, frugal travel can be as fun as it is affordable. Follow this simple recipe for a memorable trip with a manageable price tag.
1. Start With Cheap Lodging
Shopping for affordable lodging doesn't mean that you need to limit your options. Snag a bargain rate on a hotel room, book a stay at a bed-and-breakfast, bed down in a hostel, arrange a home swap or pitch a tent and enjoy a night under the stars.
When it comes to finding affordable lodging, persistence pays. Decide what you want and how much you’re willing to spend, then go after it.
2. Add in Bargain-Priced Transportation
Transportation is likely to be one of your biggest travel expenses. First, you have to make arrangements to get to your destination, then you need to make arrangements to get around town during your stay. Whether you travel by car, plane, bus, taxi or train, it can add up quickly.
The good news is that transportation deals are easy to come by. Some of the easiest ways to save: travel off peak, use discount providers, order tickets online and take advantage of mass transit whenever possible.
3. Sprinkle on Some Vacation Food Savings
Food costs can be especially hard to control while traveling because you’re eating out more and may not have access to a kitchen. What’s the solution? A big dose of creativity!
Search out the cheapest eateries, track down coupons and brainstorm simple meals that you can prepare in your hotel room, on the road or over a campfire. Your frugal mindset is portable, even if your fridge isn’t.
4. Serve With a Side of Destination-Specific Savings
Save even more money by searching out discounts and offers that apply specifically to your travel destination. What to look for: off-season deals, days when attractions are free, buy-one-get-one-free offers and anything else that sounds like it will make your trip more affordable and fun.
If you can arrange it, schedule your trip in your destination's off-season. The prices drop on everything from accommodations and food to transportation and activities as soon as the crowds go home.
Even arriving the day or week after the season ends or scheduling a vacation for weekdays rather than weekends can save hundreds of dollars. You get to enjoy the same weather as everyone else, you simply get a better deal and a quieter stay!