Summer vacations are a way of relaxing and rejuvenating your body for a healthier life and increased productivity. Taking a leisure trip, whether for a day out of town or overseas, however, does not come cheap. Research puts the average cost of vacation at around $1,145 for an individual and $4,580 for a family.
This is not a small amount and getting the most from every dollar is a necessity. With this in mind, here are some handy money-saving tips for your next summer vacation.
Go for All-Inclusive Packages
Resorts that offer all-inclusive (AI) packages can seem a bit expensive when taken at face value. In-depth analysis of the offers, however, tells a different story; albeit in some situations.
AI resorts can be expensive if you’re vacationing alone, however, when traveling with a large party the package could prove more affordable. In most cases, these resorts offer free services for kids under age 12. Having food, drinks, and transportation under one package can also prove to be a budget saver.
Opt For an Off-Peak Vacation
Are you on a budget? If so, then choose an off-peak date. When choosing your vacation dates, you should consider the impact of seasons on vacation costs. You want to avoid a destination vacation during the tourism season- a time when hotels record high occupancy. The season comes with high prices on virtually everything from food to travel expenses.
Pro tip: Most airlines hike fares on Thursday through to Sunday and lower them starting Monday. Take advantage of this and schedule your travel dates for midweek- specifically Tuesdays and Wednesdays. You can also knock off a few dollars on airfares by traveling on major holidays.
Look for the Best Bargains
Start your planning by checking the best bargains available out there. The best way to do this is by comparing prices online. Websites such as TripAdvisor and Travelocity can be handy in this.
These are good platforms for comparing prices, availability, and packages for most of your vacation needs. Apart from giving you a bargaining chance, you get to read customer reviews on exactly what you are paying for.
Avoid Extra Luggage Costs
Your vacation can start incurring extra expenses right at departure. This is usually occasioned by not packing right. To avoid such expenses start by confirming baggage weight requirements.
As rule, always pack light. Also, weigh your bags before you leave home to ensure compliance with airline rules. You should also try to ‘wear’ as much of your luggage as you can.
Travel agencies are there to make planning for a vacation easy for you. They, however, work at a fee, and sometimes their services may come with hidden charges. For example, they may get a commission on accommodation or air tickets.
To make sure such charges do not inflate your expense, become your own travel planner. Check prices online, compare and, most importantly, call and negotiate directly. To get the best discounts, call a few months before the actual vacation dates.
Avoid Excessive Currency Exchange Fees
Currency exchange rates vary across banks and forex bureaus. Depending on the dollar rate, you can find yourself being charged up to 3% on each card transaction. There are however premium travel credit cards that waive such transactional fees. Inquire from your bank if they offer such products and budget on the same.
Once on the ground, withdraw from a bank or ATM in dollars. For the actual currency exchange, avoid bureaus located inside airports and major shopping areas. Such have low dollar-to-local exchange rates. Instead, opt for town-based merchants whose rates are more competitive. You can always check online for the best rates.
Be Street Smart
Being in a foreign country can work at a disadvantage when it comes to paying for services. This is where being street smart can work to your advantage. Here are some pointers:
- Eat from street vendors. In most cities worldwide, there are food carts and fast food joints offering cheap meals at every corner.
- Travel by bus or train- public transport is always cheap no matter the city or country.
- Check local calendars for free events such as museum visits and community fairs.
- Get the most from rideshare apps like Lyft and Uber by using their rewards programs.
A successful vacation is one that comes with a happy personal experience. To achieve this, you need to travel and enjoy being in the right destination. However, it all comes down to what you can afford. The above tips will help you get the most out of your budget. Ultimately these tips will only work with dedication and timely execution. Have each in mind and be on your way to a happy vacation.