Trip to Anywhere

5 Great Ways to Save Money on Your Next Vacation

We’re not going to lie: Travel isn’t cheap. However, that doesn’t mean vacation has to break the bank. When you’re in desperate need of a getaway but don’t have a ton to spend, use these five tips to save money on travel without skimping on experiences.

Save on accessories

Most vacations require at least a few purchases, whether you need travel-sized toiletries and good walking shoes or new carry-on luggage. Buying in advance always saves money compared to making last-minute airport purchases, but you can save even more by using coupons and promo codes when you shop. However, since you’ll be buying online, make sure you leave plenty of time for delivery before your trip.

Search for travel deals

Airline tickets are the most expensive part of most vacations. While road tripping is always an option, if you have your heart set on a far-away destination, search for flight deals before booking your trip. Flight search tools like Kayak and Skyscanner let travelers set airfare alerts that notify them when plane tickets drop below a certain price. You can also save money on flights by traveling in the shoulder or off-season, flying budget airlines, flying mid-week, and booking at the right time. In general, you’ll find the best prices six to eight weeks before your trip.

Keep your destination flexible

Keeping your destination flexible is one of the best ways to score cheap flights. Websites like Airfare Watchdog notify you of steep airfare sales and mistake fares that allow you to buy plane tickets for much less than the average fare. Just keep in mind that you’ll need to move quickly when you find a mistake fare. You can also use Skyscanner to search for the cheapest travel destinations from your location.

Find budget-friendly accommodations

After airfare, lodging is the next largest line item in your travel budget. If you usually stay in hotels for the continental breakfasts and convenient locations, it’s time to rethink your accommodation strategy.

While most vacation rentals cost about the same as hotel rooms, booking a vacation rental with a kitchen means you can cookthree meals a day in your accommodations — that’ll save a lot more money than a cold bagel and a few pieces of fruit. Vacation rentals are especially economical if you’re traveling with a group. Instead of booking multiple hotel rooms, you can split the cost of an entire house. Many travelers assume vacation rentals aren’t as conveniently located as hotels, but that’s not true either. You can find vacation rentals near practically any attractions you want to visit.

Travel like a local

Paying admission to major tourist attractions can take a big bite out of your travel budget, but sticking to tourist hotspots isn’t the only way to travel. If you want to save money and see the underappreciated gems in your travel destination, travel like a local instead. From hole-in-the-wall restaurants to off-the-beaten-path attractions, there’s a lot to do and see without falling for tourist traps. Of course, it’s tough to travel like a local when you aren’t one. Instead of winging it, connect with locals who know all the best — and budget-friendly — things to do in your destination.

There are better ways to save money on travel than planning a staycation. When you’re eager for new experiences but on a tight budget, these tips will help you plan a vacation that leaves a mark on your memory, not your wallet.

Article written for Olsen-O’Leary Travels by Jesse Clark

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