Four Simple Tips that Make Your Dream Vacation More Affordable

Wed, Mar 5, 2014

Budgeting

We all dream of that one perfect, unforgettable vacation. It doesn’t seem like it’s easy to achieve, when life already makes so many demands on your finances, but there’s a lot you can do to put that dream vacation within your reach. Get creative with saving, and look for ways to reduce the amount you have to spend. With the combination of these two factors you’ll likely to be able to afford a bigger, more exciting vacation than you thought possible.

Set Up a Dedicated Savings Account

Many people use their day-to-day bank account for holding their vacation funds, but unfortunately, this makes it way too easy to spend the money you’re trying to save. Setting up a new account for the sole purpose of holding your savings is the best way to make sure that doesn’t happen, and it’s easy to manage multiple accounts, now that most banks have online facilities that allow you to transfer money between your accounts more or less instantly. You might even consider depositing your vacation savings into low-risk investment options like a money market account or government-backed US Treasury bonds, to make your saving plan even more effective without any extra effort.

Travel Off-Peak

There are several ways to take advantage of the idea of vacationing off the beaten path, whether it’s traveling off-season, or in less “touristy” locations.

  • August is the month where the most people tend to take vacations, so that’s typically when it’s most expensive. You can save plenty on travel and accommodation, therefore, if you travel before or after this time. In particular, resorts and other family-style vacation destinations tend to reduce their prices as the back-to-school period starts, so this is a good time to save.
  • You pay a premium on most expenses when you stay in popular tourist areas, so why not consider a less well-traveled area? A little research can help you find those hidden vacation gems that aren’t high on the traditional “must-see” list, but are still great places to visit.
  • If you’re visiting a city, you can save by finding accommodation outside it, either in an outlying suburb or a smaller neighboring city.

Think Alternative Accommodation

When it comes to accommodation most people think in terms of a hotel, but these days you have a much wider range of possibilities. Backpacker hostels and other inexpensive options, once the domain of students and young people, are perfect for anyone who has a very limited budget, as long as you’re okay with forgoing luxuries like a private bathroom. For families, of course, this type of accommodation won’t do, but there are still plenty of alternatives to the traditional hotel. A rental home might sound like an expensive prospect, but in fact, it’s typically possible to rent a vacation house for less than you’d spend on a hotel, and you’ll have more room and more privacy to boot. You are, of course, staying in someone’s private home—so that means it’s particularly important to take note of any house rules that the owner provides. If you’re interested in a permanent vacation home, a small second home or a cheaper option like a timeshare property might be a good prospect that pays off over time. This type of purchase isn’t for everyone, but, if you do your research, it can be a long-term solution if there’s a particular area you really love visiting. You can even opt to partially offset the cost by renting the property out when you’re not using it.

Book and Pay In Advance when Possible

Booking in advance is one of the most effective ways to keep your expenses to a minimum. Travel and accommodation are typically the two biggest vacation expenses you’ll have, so it definitely makes sense to book these as early as you can. This is especially important if you plan to travel during a peak season or around a holiday period, since these are both times when you’ll pay more. You can also opt to pay for entertainment and attractions tickets, such as theme parks and theaters, in advance too, which can sometimes allow you to take advantage of discounts. Paying for these types of vacation expenses in advance is a great alternative to saving, too, since once you’ve paid it means that the money isn’t available to be spent.

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