Enjoy the Outdoors
Not every vacation needs to involve a resort hotel in some exotic locale. There are plenty of parks which you can visit, ranging from your local parks to state and national parks. Start local and go exploring for an afternoon. Remember to bring sunscreen and insect repellant. If you decide to explore the state or national parks, there are times when you can go for free. Visit their websites beforehand to learn what to bring, what hazards you need to avoid and where to go inside the parks so that you can get the most out of your experience.
Find the Best Time to Book Your Transportation
Whether you take the train or fly, a significant amount of your vacation budget will involve transportation. You’ll want to book your tickets between six and eight weeks in advance. Keep an eye out for the best deal by using sites such as Kayak, a popular travel search engine that will help you find and reserve flights or hotels that fit your budget. You should also check with the airlines and see if they offer any discounts.
Hit the Road
If you hate to fly or get claustrophobic on trains, a road trip might be a better solution. You will still have to pay for gas, food and lodging, but you can split the costs with friends or family. Road trips offer something that flying and train rides do not–the ability to choose your own route to your ultimate destination. You can stop to eat or take a picture whenever you feel like it. Use apps such as FuelMyRoute and RoadTrippers to discover places you have never been or even known about.
Choose a Bed and Breakfast or Airbnb over a Hotel
Hotels are fine if you want to be pampered, but they can be pricey. Cheaper and more charming alternatives include Bed and Breakfast hotels or Airbnb, where you will find listings of vacation homes for rent. Depending on your destination, you may find several B&Bs and Airbnb’s in the area. The accommodations may be smaller, and you will have to do your own cooking. If you enjoy a more charming locale with personality, which may be closer to your destination, then they will be worth it.
Last Minute Travel Perks
If you like to do things at the last minute, you can take advantage of of the discounts that airlines, trains and hotels offer in order to fill empty spaces. Since airlines don’t release all the frequent flyer seats right away, you are probably better off waiting until the last minute.
Book a Travel Package
If you want to take a cruise, a group tour or a sightseeing trip, a travel package may be your best option. Travel packages offer group discounts on airfare and hotels. You can take the DIY route and use a travel aggregation site, such as Hipmunk. You can also use Flightfox, which uses experts to track down cheap flights. Your best option, although more expensive, is a travel agent. Not only can the agent find a good deal on airfare and hotels, but she might be able to book tickets to major tourist attractions at a discounted rate.
Take a Cheap Cruise
Cruises can be expensive, but there are ways to get in on the cheap. Wait until the last minute and see if there are any rooms available. If there are, they will most likely have a discounted fare to fill the ship. Take a cruise on a smaller boat, because they offer fewer attractions and amenities. Consider taking a cruise in the off season. The best part about that is that you may not have to deal with crowds on and off the boat.
Also consider taking a repositioning cruise. These occur when a cruise line moves a ship from one part of the world to another in anticipation of the upcoming season. While you’ll find many DIY options, you’ll want to use an agent because he can find much lower prices that you might find. He can also act as a liaison to the cruise companies if something goes wrong.
Hit the Trails
Camping is a wonderful alternative to traditional vacations, allowing families to get exercise, enjoy the outdoors and do it all a lot cheaper! Some families even do a backyard camp, allowing their children to pick out the campsite with everyone working together to pitch the tent but still having a restroom when the need arises!
Organize a Group Trip
You can save a lot of money by traveling in a group. Hotels and airlines will give discounts for bulk purchases. Some major tourist attractions may also offer bulk discount rates. You can go on these attractions together, or you can decide not to go and each do your own thing. Group trips can be very flexible.
Enjoy a Staycation
Staycations don’t mean just sticking around the house and lounging in front of the TV, although that might sound like the ultimate vacation. You can book a nearby hotel to have a romantic getaway. You can also visit some of the sights that you have always been meaning to see but never had the time. This would be the perfect opportunity to visit these places. Daytrips can include hiking excursions, a visit to a museum or art gallery, going to a restaurant that is normally out of your budget and more. The biggest challenge with a staycation is making sure you stay disconnected from your smartphones and emails. If you have to use them, use them to send pictures of your outings to your friends and family.
Focus on Cheap Cuisine
A lot of new hotels are cropping up that have en suite kitchens and complimentary stocked pantries! These allow guests to cook a lot of their food, opting for healthier meals rather than eating out and a massive cost savings!
Take Advantage of the Off-Season
Traveling in the off-season has its advantages. For one, it is a great way to visit popular destinations that would be too expensive to go during peak seasons. You won’t have to deal with the summer crowd, which means that you will have greater access to the attractions you want to see at a reduced price. The only downside is the weather.
The best time to plan a trip like this is during what is called a shoulder season. Shoulder seasons occur between the peak and off seasons. You will still get to see the places that you want to see at discounted rates and fewer people, but the weather will be more temperate.
Try a 1 Tank Road Trip
Get out your trusty map and plan a miniature road trip on only one tank of gas! You’ll still be getting out of the house and seeing new sights, while not overextending yourself (or your budget!)