With the cold weather heading our way and the holiday season just a little too far off to get fully excited about, it’s understandable that some of us are feeling the need for a little break. If only it wasn’t so pricey. With Christmas coming and stockings needing filled now’s not the time for indulgent spending…
But what if you could win on all fronts? Enjoy that much needed break without messing with your budgeting for the coming months – there may just be a way…
Here’s a tip or two you might find useful if you just have to get away:
1) Travel Cheap – This is where planning is vital! Whether you’re vacationing locally or jetting off further afield, do your homework first. Compare the price of gas, tolls and parking with ticket prices of other modes of transport – you may be surprised! Bear in mind, if your destination is somewhere you’ll need the car to get around once there, spending more on gas and tolls may be worth it for the later convenience.
For Flying: Wednesday between 11pm and 1am is the best time of the week for snagging a low fare.
Driving: Here is one of my favorite spots for finding the best rates for rental cars
Bus: Taking the bus has taken a step up. Bus travel is much cooler since two low cost bus companies entered the scene. My favorite low cost bus service is Boltbus.com. The company doesn’t serve as many markets as MegaBus.com but I prefer their service and quality of the their vehicles.
2) Affordable Accommodation – When it comes to choosing where to stay there’s lots of great and cost-efficient options. My favorite mobile app for get a great hotel room at the last minute is hotel tonight. Get their app athoteltonight.com. They promise 70% off and when I used it – they delivered! And there are more options.
- If you happen to be lucky enough to have a friend with a vacation home why not ask if you can use it for a few days? Hopefully your friends will agree and you’ll see significant savings!
- On the other hand, if you’re all about the hotel try and find one that at least includes breakfast – it may seem like a small saving but every penny counts.
- If your vacationing spot has a lot to offer and the only time you’re going to see your hotel room is when you stumble into bed after a good day’s sightseeing then consider staying at a hotel airport. Although these are situated a little further from the heart of the city they are – for this reason – considerably cheaper. Many will offer a free, regular shuttle service to get you downtown and back whenever you wish.
- Another frugal but fun idea is going camping! If you already own camping gear you’ll be spending very little when it comes to accommodation. If you aren’t already in possession of a tent, talk to friends and see if you can borrow one. Camping will transform your break into an adventure and the kids will love it too!
3) Weigh Your Options – There’s a lot of different options to consider before booking your trip so make sure you take sufficient time to do so – even if you are desperate to get away!
- Often it’s too easy to log-on to a travel website and be sucked into whichever package deal is being offered. While this can be a cost efficient way of vacationing be sure to do some research first – at times combining the costs of flights and a hotel can add up to a lot more than booking each aspect individually through different sites. So make sure you take time to consider all the options available before you get click happy!
- It’s also smart to discuss your travel options with your friends – seek out advice and tips garnered from their trips and see if their experiences could work for you too.
- Waiting around for a last minute deal could allow you to afford a lot more for less. So if your plans are easily flexible play the waiting game – you never know you might just snag an unbelievable deal!
- Check out offers on deal-of-the-day websites such as groupon.com and livingsocial.com – you may well come across something that’ll work for you! I generally sign up for the city or region I am traveling to about 30 days before I go. I unsubscribe after the trip is over.
4) Budget Before You Go – Drawing up a budget of how much you want to spend while you’re actually away is an effective way of cutting out additional over-spending. As tempting as it is to buy a gift for everyone in the souvenir store and eat out every meal try to reign yourself in and consider how much you are spending daily. Looking into free activities, grabbing a drink at happy hour or preparing your own lunch are easy ways to stick to your budget. If you know you’ve got a table reserved at that great restaurant for your final night, then you won’t mind opting for a pre-theater meal one of the other nights.
I try to make my own breakfast when I travel. It saves a lot of money. Picking up some fruit, yogurt or packing my own oatmeal gets me going for a lot less than a restaurant or room service.
Seen anything you think you’ll try? Let me know in the comments section below.
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