Make The Most of Your Vacation Time With The Least Amount of Money
Updated: Aug 8, 2019
How to travel and live life to the fullest without breaking the bank
We all have dream vacation destinations. Mine include Rome with all those stunning fountains, Egypt and her mystical pyramids, the utterly unique Galapagos islands. I cannot currently afford any of those vacations. In the meantime, does that mean I need to settle for staycations with my limited means? No way! With a little planning and alternative thinking it’s possible to source fun, interesting vacations on a restricted budget.
Sometimes the when is as important as the where
Set your alarms everyone, because according to Skyscanner, the best time to book a flight is 5am! Further to that, the best time to book flights for domestic trips is 2–3 weeks in advance, and the best time to book international journeys is 5–6 months in advance. The least expensive month to book those flights is January (with an average round trip flight of about $500). February comes next, then leapfrog all the way over to August. While you’re planning, plan to book your domestic flight on a Tuesday and your international flight on a Wednesday to save the most.
Last year, I went to Costa Rica with my daughter – which is why I’m on a limited vacation allowance now! Following a few convincing words from my daughter, one of the things we did to save money was to stay in a hostel. Old enough to have a twenty-four-year-old daughter, I’d never stayed in a hostel before, thinking they were for backpackers and twenty-four year olds. To be sure there were many of those, but to my surprise there were also all kinds of people my own age. Some traveling with their own kids, some on their own. Although we stayed in a room with 5 other people there were options for semi-private and private rooms. The hostel was spacious and clean and very friendly. It cost us about $25 a night and was an experience I would definitely repeat.
There’s also Glamping – which you can think of as luxury camping or glamorous camping across locations around the globe. Or Canopy and Stars, a collection of unique, creative places to stay in the great and grand outdoors.
You could take a taxi when you travel and pump your money into someone else’s pocket, or you could get friendly with the bus and subway schedules in the area and save big. Or if distances aren’t too daunting, you could put your legs to work either as locomotion on their own or as peddle manipulators.
If you do need to rent a car follow these tips from trip-savvy:
Reserve the smallest car possible
Compare daily and weekly rates
Use non-airport facilities
Ask for a discount
By carrying your own water bottle and filling it up as you go, not only are you helping save the world from more plastic refuse, you’re also saving significant amounts of money. Speaking of water, choose nature’s thirst quencher as your beverage of choice and put the savings toward other aspects of your vacation. Extra night in the hostel anyone?
Enjoy the freebees
No matter where you travel you can source all kinds of things to do for free. In the article about free things to do on vacation from Wise Bread, they mention that many museums around the world offer free admission, and for the ones that don’t they often have a day when admission is free. Plan in advance and explore world treasures without paying a cent.
Walking tours are also a great way to see any city and often those are offered for free.
One other thing, don’t forget about Google. Type free things to do in X and go to town!
Become your own tour guide
Get yourself a tour book before you go and familiarize yourself with your destination then become your own tour guide. For instance, when I finally do get to Rome I could book a 60 euro tour to see the coliseum or I could prepare in advance and get in with the 12 euros and create my own experience.
The only question left is where to go? To help young drivers avoid being charged additional fees, our friends at Million Mile Secrets created a guide that provides a list of organizations that waive the young driver fee, along with tips on how to save money if you don't quality for member discounts. They also included a chart with the minimum age to rent and the daily surcharge fee for six major car rental companies. Check it out.
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