How To Budget Your Vacation The Right Way
Traveling is expensive, and traveling on the cheap or with a budget can be a bit of a challenge. You don’t have to settle for 1-star motels and hitchhiking your way across the country. Just following these cheap travel planning tips for affordable vacations is enough to get most people on their way.
Unless you have to be somewhere on a specific date (wedding, graduation, birthday, etc.), leave yourself plenty of flexibility when planning your vacation. For instance, if you want to go on vacation in the summer, but you don’t have any specific days in mind, search and search for the most affordable days you can find.
It’s easy to say, “Oh, let’s go somewhere the last week of July,” but you really should think along the lines of, “Oh, let’s go somewhere between June 1 and August 4.” That kind of flexibility will allow you to hunt and search for the absolute best deal you can find.
Always Price Travel & Accommodations Together
This tip in no way suggests that you book a hotel+flight combo from one of those “deal” websites! Yes, those can be fantastic deals, but no, we are not saying you should always use them.
What we are saying is that when you’re planning your travel, don’t just look at the cost of the travel to get to your destination in determining when to go. Price out your hotel accommodations as well. Often hotels and flights are both expensive or inexpensive at the same time, but that is not always the case. Just because flights are expensive one week doesn’t mean hotels will be as well. Paying more for flights could mean saving money on your hotel booking.
Consider Traveling In The Middle Of The Week
Sometimes weekday flights are more expensive than weekend flights, depending on the time of year and your starting & end points. Flights from Washington D.C. to New York are packed during the week, whereas a flight from Omaha to New York might not be as packed. The same goes for train travel.
This goes back to tip #1 (Be Flexible). If you can save a few hundred dollars by traveling from Tuesday-Tuesday instead of Saturday-Saturday, isn’t it worth an extra PTO day or two?
Don’t Always Use Points
It’s easy when you’re traveling to go ahead and burn through all the miles/points you’ve accrued on your credit cards, but sometimes it’s a really bad decision to cash them in all at once. Do a cost-per-point analysis before cashing in all those points! Sometimes you get more bang for your buck by actually spending cash and saving the points for later.