About one-quarter of Americans won’t go on vacation this summer because they can’t afford it. With social media being the all tempting platform of amazing vacations – FOMO (fear of missing out) is at all all time high. If your finances can’t bear the weight of an extravagant trip right now, finding ways to travel affordably may not be as tough as it seems. It just requires careful planning, savvy solutions, and thinking beyond typical vacation options.
How to plan your trip:
1. Plan in advance
If you know your friend Mary will want to do the annual Summer trip to Cancun, you’ll want to start forecasting expenses and accommodations as soon as possible. The further out you plan your trip the cheaper your flights will be! You won’t want to procrastinate on this one, buying your flight in advance will help reduce “in demand” costs. The closer airfare is to the time of an event, the demand increases, and so do the prices. You can also subscribe to airfare alerts – this will notify you via email letting you know if the flight you’re looking for has increased or decreased. Another advantage is buying small essential items here and there that will help you be prepared when your trip is near. According to studies, most travel goers wait the last minute to purchase any necessary items for trips, therefore making it harder for them to spend money on anything else while on the trip. This is also the best time to save all your nickels and dimes – bad at saving? See #2…
2. Save your money
Easier said than done, right? Well here are ways to save without even knowing that you’re saving: as I mentioned in previous blogs; Digit is a really good app to use that will grab a few cents or a few bucks (you control this factor) as much or as little as you want. Very cool feature that does it behind the scenes. When you’re ready, you can grab that saved amount and have it deposited into your bank account next day. OR you can go the old school route and grab a mason jar and add loose change and leftover cash daily. This all adds up nicely and will give you additional funds for any trip!
3. Be creative with sleeping accommodations
Sleeping accommodations while on vacation can add up. Odds are you’ll look for a hotel with the best view, spacious rooms, closest to the beach, etc. If you’re on a budget, these things may not be possible. But hear are some creative alternatives.
- Hostels. Hostels offer inexpensive lodging to travelers. You may have to share a room and bathroom with other travelers, but you get your own bed, and you just may make some new traveling friends while you’re there. Because hostels require you to share space, they work best if you’re flying solo or traveling as a couple instead of as a family.
- Vacation Rentals. Homeowners often rent out their homes to travelers when it’s not in use – you can snag deep discounts on condos, townhomes, and even hotel properties. Websites such as VRBO and Airbnb are great places to start. These are good options that are equipped with kitchens to save money on meals!
- Stay With Friends. If you’re lucky enough to have friends and family at a travel destination, ask them for a favor. It’s a nice way to cut any hotel costs, and they may offer some insight on all the cool spots in the area.
- Couch Surf. Couch surfing is self explanatory. Courchsurfing brings together travelers and homeowners willing to offer a guest room, bed, or couch to frugal travelers. This is a great option for those who don’t mind being around new people in a solo state.
At the end of the day, everyone deserves a little R&R and there’s always wiggle room in your budget to do so. Travelling is highly beneficial for your physical, mental and emotional health as well. So taking the steps to frugally go on vacation is totally worth it.