Like most people, I have an extensive list of places I want
to visit. Apart from time, the biggest obstacle to all my travel plans is ...
you guessed it … money. But actually, traveling doesn’t have to be expensive. When
it comes to booking a vacation, at home or abroad, there are many different
ways to save money. For example, I have a friend who recently flew out from
Dayton to Las Vegas for the weekend for $120 round trip! How amazing is that?
She always has the best adventures, but doesn’t bankrupt herself in the
process. She has agreed to let me in on some of her secrets.
- Be Smart About Your Flight: Make sure you do all your research. If
you aren’t quite ready to book those flights, set up prices alerts. This way
you are automatically notified when the price drops. If you are ready to travel
you can save some money by taking a flight at a more undesirable time, like the
early morning flights. Also, if you can be flexible with your dates you may
save a little more. Flying on a weekday or on a holiday, for instance, usually
results in cheaper air fares. Consider flying into a nearby airport. Smaller, regional
ones often offer lower fares. If you don’t yet have a set destination in mind, sites
such as Kayak or Google
Flights will give you a range of airfare prices for various locations. This
is how my travel-savvy friend got her amazing deal!
- Avoid Peak Season: During peak season prices are hiked up and areas
are more crowded. Why not wait until the peak season is over? You get better
prices and don’t have to fight the crowds. There is a downside to this, though.
The weather may not be as nice or tourist destinations may have limited hours
or not be open at all. If the off-season doesn’t sound appealing to you, why
not consider the shoulder season? The shoulder season is the time between the
peak and off seasons, usually in fall and spring. The weather is still good,
but the prices and the crowds are less. We just recently booked a trip to
Acadia National Park (I can’t wait!) in the shoulder season and were able to
save a decent amount of money.
- Consider Not Staying at a Hotel: There are many options for lodging
other than a hotel. Depending on where you are going you could rough it and
tent camp. Camping is relatively cheap; you can find a campsite for around $30
a night, the only downside is you have to bring a lot of stuff. You could also
rent a house. Thanks to the Internet there are plenty of websites dedicated to
renting a vacation home. The one most have heard of is Airbnb. They often have lower prices than
hotels, plus you get a full kitchen, which would help save money on food because
you don’t have to eat out. The downside is you don’t really know what you are
getting into until you are there. If you choose to go this route I encourage
you to do your research to make sure you aren’t taken advantage of. Forbes has a great article on vacation rental scams.
Another option is to house sit. You can find free or low-cost accommodations
just by caring for someone’s home and/or pets. Visit Hecktic Travels for
all the details on house sitting.
- Check for Last-Minute Deals: A lot of
times, major booking websites such as Hotwire
or Expedia will offer last-minute package
deals for a fraction of the normal price. Another place to look for good
vacation deals is Groupon. Sometimes they
have package deals or deals that include airfare. The downside is those deals
usually have specific dates and/or airports so make sure you double check
before you book.
Hopefully some of these tricks save you money on
your next vacation! I know I am going to try a few out! You can send me your
money-saving tips or vacation photos at Val@rivervalleycu.org
or through Facebook. For more fun check out my blog at https://www.rivervalleycu.org/val.