Last issue we talked about vacationing locally and all the things you can do close to home. But, what if you really want to get away? How will you save money, then?
We travel often and are able to save in a variety of ways. Here are some of them:
- Travel during shoulder season (that’s somewhere between peak and off-season). We’re going to Aruba in the Fall. The Caribbean is off season at that time because of the hurricane season, but Aruba is usually too far south to be affected by hurricanes.
- Comparison shop to get the best deals – there are so many websites that will do this for you. I like Kayak for airfares.
- Reward Programs – if you find yourself using a particular airline or hotel, join their program. I know you’ve heard that you may not be able to use your miles for flights. I can tell you that I haven’t found that to be an issue. You do need to plan ahead to get the reward you want. We have used airline miles for many trips, including a flight to Alaska in August.
- For rental cars, we make our reservation early, but don’t prepay. Then we check back regularly to see if the price has dropped. You will be amazed at how much the price can drop closer to your trip!
- Discounts and coupons – don’t forget about those. We recently went to an aquarium because our water company sent a buy-one-get-one-free coupon with your bill. Coupons and offers can come from a variety of sources. If you have a membership with a service like AAA or a store like Costco, check their mailings or website. Once you reach your travel destination, the visitors guides typically have clip-out coupons (make sure you pick them up when you arrive).
- Stay at a place with a kitchen (or at least a fridge) to help your budget. You can shop when you get there for meals and snacks.
- Bring your own food on the airplane. Take carry-on food versus buying in the airport or on the plane. You can’t bring drinks, but you can buy a beverage in the waiting area, or get a free drink after boarding. Your own food will undoubtedly be healthier and more satisfying than anything they have to offer.
We’ve had trips in the past where we’ve traveled for next to nothing. Our airfare was paid for with miles and our lodging with hotel points. We only had to pay for food, local transportation, and entertainment.
What do you do to save money on vacation? Join the discussion.