You cringe as you open the banking app on your phone. You don't want to peek at the numbers reflected at you. If you have had this experience, you know what it feels like to realize you need to put yourself on a budget ASAP. Unfortunately, only about 1 in 3 Americans have put themselves on a budget. It is the only real way to turn things around and begin to create a better financial future for yourself. However, you still want to enjoy your life along the way. This means figuring out how to do things while on a budget, and that includes learning how to travel within the confines of that budget as well. Today, we will look at how you can still experience the joy of travel while keeping in touch with your financial goals.
Start Planning Your Travel Early
It is much easier to track down great deals on hotel rooms, flights, and activities to do on vacation when you start planning early. You can use the travel app Hopper to identify the best possible prices for a flight to any location you are interested in visiting. Not only can they help you locate discounted flights, but it is also possible to set an alert on flight tickets to a certain location. This will help you identify the moment when the tickets you are looking for hit even lower prices. Snap up the tickets when they hit a low price to save money. Deploy this same strategy for your hotel room and any activities you want to get involved with while you are on vacation as well.
Take a Vacation During the Offseason
There are certain times of the year when most people want to travel and take a vacation. Summer tends to be the most popular time of the year for people to take a vacation. Children are on break from school, the weather is fantastic, and the number of vacation options is greater than at other times of the year. However, those who need to consider their budget first and foremost should think about traveling during other seasons. Nerd Wallet offers the following suggestion regarding traveling during the offseason:
Along with using reward points, taking your trip during the offseason is another excellent way to save money. Each destination has a peak period of demand during which prices will be inflated.
Prices come down when other people aren't as interested in being on vacation. Summer is certainly the most popular time to take a vacation, but it is far from the only time of year that people make vacation plans. You must also consider the high travel holidays as well such as Memorial Day, July 4th, Labor Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. Planning a vacation on or around these dates will likely be too expensive for someone on a budget. Instead, try to schedule your vacation for another time of year when things aren't quite as hectic.
Stay Somewhere with a Kitchen
For many people, trying the local cuisine is one of the most exciting parts about travel. However, it can be very costly to dine out for every meal. If you stay in a rental condo, house, or even hotel with kitchenette, you can save considerable money by eating breakfast in your lodging, plus some lunches. Bring your own snacks so you don’t have to rely on eating out every time you’re hungry. That way, you can pick and choose the meals and restaurants that are most important to try, and save money on the rest.
Skip the Souvenirs
For some reason, when we go on vacation, we often throw all budget caution to the wind and make purchasing decisions that we wouldn’t make otherwise. The “stuff” that we tend to buy on vacation costs a lot. Really consider the souvenirs you’re buying, and if perhaps the photos you take wouldn’t serve as better souvenirs instead.
Plan Your Itinerary Wisely
Before you go on your vacation, you’ll want to make a list of everything you want to do. Look up admissions prices where applicable so you’ll know how much you might spend if you do everything on your list. If the cost becomes eye-popping, cut back! Choose only your most important paid activities. Otherwise, take advantage of free attractions, events or sites when you’re away from home.
* * * * *
Budgets are tough to stick to, but you can do it. You can still enjoy a vacation from time to time even when you are on a strict budget. Just plan and have a clear strategy for how you will do this. Then, get out there and enjoy your vacation.
Once you plan your trip, consider protecting your investment, no matter how small, with travel insurance. Travel insurance can protect your pre-paid, non-refundable expenses in case something unexpected should disrupt your trip. While you may not want to pay the extra money for insurance, it can save you a lot in the long run if something does go wrong with your trip. Visit travelinsure.com to learn more about plans for every trip type and travel need.