With warmer weather fast approaching in the Western Hemisphere, many people are thinking about where they want to go next. In order to find the best deals available, it’s a good idea to search discount travel sites. Here are six money-saving tips to help make your next vacation a truly wonderful experience.
1. Examine your current financial situation
According to Fool.com, it’s a good idea to make a roadmap of your current savings, checkings, and total debt before deciding if a vacation is right for you. You can even open a short-term savings account in order to save money for your dream destination.
Make sure you prioritize expenses based on your non-negotiables. If you prefer to Uber instead of taking public transportation, make a note of the average ride cost and make sure you have a budget set aside for that. Even if budgeting elsewhere, you’ll feel better knowing your priorities for a vacation are being met.
3. Branch out when looking for flights.
Don’t be afraid to navigate away from the airline’s site when looking for flights. Try using websites like Hopper, Skyscanner, and Google Flights that can help you track down the best days for your trip, including deals across many different airlines. Time is of the essence when it comes to finding affordable flights, and searching for flights in incognito or clearing your cookies will not make flights cheaper.
4. Airbnb, VRBO, or a Hotel?
A fully equipped apartment or home is very appealing for many travelers, and there are many wonderful options on Airbnb, VRBO, and other sites. On the other hand, staying in hotels provides you with access to knowledgeable staff and people that can vouch for your whereabouts if need be. The amenities, including free breakfasts, toiletries, and local advice, can save you money in the long run. Assess what meets your needs and book accordingly. Sites like Tripadvisor, Expedia and Booking.com are good for finding accommodations at discounted rates.
5. Use travel budgeting tools and prepaid cards.
The only thing worse than buyer’s remorse? Buyer’s remorse on vacation. Establish a budget and set up spending tracking apps like Mint or Everydollar to know where your money is going, before and during vacation. You can set up alerts for when you go over budget and keep track of your total expenses. You can also load a prepaid card with a portion (or all) of your travel budget to stay on track.
6. Avoid Tourist Traps.
Many of the most popular destinations can be expensive options during high season. However, in order to save yourself some cash, don’t be afraid to venture outside of your desired location (safely, of course) in order to find better deals on lodging and food. Additionally, less frequented places close to major tourist destinations may also give you a more authentic experience, and who wouldn’t want that?