Ah, summer. The time to kick back and relax on a beach, by a lake, or partake in an adventure. But if you are watching your wallet this summer and don’t have a ton of money to stretch for a vacation, you need to stick to a travel budget. About 49 percent of Americans are not going to take a vacation this summer, according to a 2018 Bankrate survey. While there are those that choose to stay home due to work- or family-related duties, one in four respondents say they’re not taking a summer vacation because they can’t afford it.
If you are among those who are forgoing traveling this summer due to money issues, we have a few tips for a vacation within your budget.
Travel Budget – Take a staycation
Taking a break from your everyday life and responsibilities is essential for your well-being. So, if you can’t afford to go to another country, you can still explore vacation spots that are only a few hours away. Short but sweet vacations can always pack in the benefits of a more extended get-away.
Travel during offseason
If the price of traveling during summer is too steep, you may want to consider delaying your vacation just a bit. The perks of traveling off-season include more affordable airfares and accommodations. Plus, you don’t have to share your vacation spots with a huge crowd.
Save up for your trip
Setting aside money for your trip can feel a bit overwhelming. After all, how do you know how to save up? To combat the confusion, you can take things one step at a time. Start by setting aside money automatically every week. You can make this easier by downloading apps that can do the saving for you.
Then, once you know how much you can feasibly save over the next couple of months, start searching for options that are within your budget. If you have a bit more time to plan, you may want to consider opening a high-yield saving account individually for your travel fund.
Look for budget airlines
In the past few years, there are more and more airlines that are accessible to every budget. If you’re working with a limited amount, the key to getting the most out of it is by exercising patience. You can check out search engines that specialize in all things travel, such as Skyscanner, Airfare Watchdog, or Momondo. While any one of these search engines can do the job well, you can also search through a combination of search engines to ensure that you’re not missing out on anything.
Another tip to save on airfare is to travel on less popular days, like weekdays, or catching a red-eye flight. Flights during less available days and hours tend to be cheaper.
Check out alternative accommodations
While hotels are great, they don’t come cheap. You may want to consider alternative accommodations, such as hostels or couch-surfing in your travel budget. Airbnb also offers a wide range of options that suit all sorts of budgets. If, however, you would rather stay in a hotel, there are affordable options available, you need to know when’s the best time to book.
Cut costs where you can
One way that you can save on your travel expenses is by cooking some of your meals. Although eating out is the best part of traveling, you can balance out your costs by choosing not to eat out for every single lunch. Seasoned budgeters go with packets of instant ramen, biscuits, and coffee sachets, so you don’t have to spend all your money on eating out or ordering room service.
Plan for the next one
Plan next year’s travel budget as soon as you get home. This way, you can take advantage of airfare promos and other travel-related discounts, which can pop up at the most random times. Make sure also to subscribe to airfare alert websites, such as Kayak, so you can get extremely low deals, like a $200 round trip to Europe. After all, a bit of planning does go a long way.