The thrill of summer travel is always invigorating, but the prices to get there can be a real bummer. But not to fear. We’re here with some smart tips that will help you navigate in this price jungle and have a wonderful, memory-filled getaway.
Plan Way Ahead
Even though you can sometimes find great deals at the last minute, if you can wrap your head around thinking in advance about your vacay (especially if you’re buying long-haul flights), it’ll pay off. For instance, if you’re traveling to Europe or Asia, you’ll find that buying your tickets early not only provides significant savings, but also gives you a jump start on exploring other aspects of your trip, like hotels and excursions. Some helpful sites for comparing prices are Expedia, Kayak and Priceline. Check these when planning so you can snag the best deals.
Do you have to travel in July? What about August? Are the fall and December holidays out of the question? If you aren’t stuck on a certain time of year, you’ll realize some significant savings. Also, must you leave town on a Friday? What about a Tuesday or Thursday? Choosing to fly on weekdays can dramatically change the price of your ticket. Plus, flights can be less crowded.
Create a budget – and Stick To It
While this is a challenge, it’s not impossible. That’s why it’s important to think about where you want to go. For example, San Francisco and New York City might be a little on the pricey side. Another thing to consider is how long you want to be away. If you’re thinking about a two-week long vacation, you might want to be a little stricter with how much you spend each day. That said, don’t be too strict! The whole idea of a holiday escape is to kick back and dive into the culture of a new place.
Choose a Budget-Friendly Destination
As mentioned above, choosing a vacation destination that won’t break the bank is a strategic way to cut costs. Southeast Asia and South America are great places to start. If you’ve decided you must go to Europe, you might want to stay away from the Scandinavian countries. Although they’re crazy beautiful, they have some of the highest cost of living index scores. One way to get ahead of what you might spend is to check out cost of living sites, where you’ll find current stats, estimates, and calculations of how much you might spend each day.
While it’s probably irresistible to overpack (I want to have choices!), if you can travel light, you’ll save on bag fees big time. Even better, if you can limit what you’re taking to just a carry-on, you’ll really avoid those pesky charges, plus it’ll give you the ability to breeze on and off the plane in no time. In terms of what you bring, this also requires some forethought. While packing multiple bathing suits and shorts (if you’re going somewhere tropical) is fun, these fashionable items might be taking the place of necessary gear like a raincoat, a warm hoodie or even a sweater. So take a breath, think through your days and get packing – judiciously, that is.
Find Free Activities
Before you head out on your adventure, let your fingers do the walking over to your favorite search engine and get going. Search “free stuff to do” (or the like) at your intended destination. You’ll find things like free museums, parks, gardens, and festivals. Then let your feet do the walking! Getting outside, weather permitting, and strolling is one of the best ways to soak in a city.
When you can stay on budget and have a fabulous time with family and friends, you’ll not only come back with amazing memories, you’ll also return without a lot of debt. And that’s a fantastic feeling that will stick with you for a good while.