While a vacation can be an exciting way to get away from your day-to-day and explore a new place, it can be hard to really enjoy your trip if you’re on a budget. You’ll likely want to try the local cuisine, visit the must-see attractions and get the full experience. How can you do it all and stay within your means? It might seem impossible, but with some research and preparation, you’ll be able to stay within your budget.
1. Make a detailed budget outlining the total cost of the trip.
Calculating Costs for your Backpacking Trip. Do not lose track of time before you depart. There is nothing worse than returning from vacation, cringing at thought of the arrival of your bank and/or credit card statement. A top down budget (generic budgetary line items – best guess) may not protect you from overspending, but it gives you an idea of how much you can spend before you leave.
2. Affordable Accommodations
If you’re not planning on staying with friends or family while traveling, you should explore all of your options when it comes to accommodations. Though hotels can be nice (and convenient), staying in a hostel or using a rental accommodation site like Airbnb (use this link to get a $20 credit for your next trip) can save you a considerable amount of money.
Almost every city also has hostels available. In addition to being a more affordable option than a hotel, hostels also allow you to meet fellow travelers from around the globe. Many hostels will host dinners or sponsor other events to help guests meet and get to know one another during their stay.
3. Your Travel Buddies
If you’re not traveling alone, make sure you’re traveling in good, and financially similar, company. When planning your trip, make sure you set clear budget guidelines with whomever you’re traveling with. It can be more difficult to stay within your budget on a vacation when you’re not all on the same page.
Many millennials find themselves spending more than they can afford because they feel the need to impress certain people in their social circles. This is not a healthy financial habit to carry anywhere. And it can especially damage your budget on a vacation when the pressure to “keep up” is amplified.
4. Cook for Yourself
Eating out at every meal can be taxing to both your health and your budget on a vacation. If you have kitchen access where you are staying, it could be beneficial to stock up on some groceries for your stay. You don’t necessarily have to restrict all your meals to eating in, but you may want to plan to limit your dining out to just one meal per day. This allows you to still sample the local cuisine of your destination without breaking the bank. Check out these easy recipes to make cooking for yourself on vacation simple, healthy and fun. This is also where staying in a place like an Airbnb comes in handy since most hotel rooms don’t have kitchens but most Airbnb’s do.
5. Keep Your Bar Tab Low
If you plan on going out while on your trip, strive to keep your bar tab to a minimum. Sample the cheaper drinks on bar menus and search around for local happy hours and deals.. If you are on a particularly strict Spending Diet, you could also plan a few fun nights in during your trip by simply adding a bottle of wine to the menu. There are lots of good quality affordable wines available for those on a budget. It’s a perfect choice if you are looking to have a simple, relaxing night in with some new friends.
6. Search Local Deal Sites
Besides eating out, you might also want to see a show, visit a museum or go to a game. Afterall, that’s part of the attraction to visiting new place. Before you do, you should look into deals available to you via sites like Groupon, TimeOut and Living Social. These sites might have deals on exactly what you’re looking for or they may give you ideas for more vacation activities. Once you do some searching on these sites, they’ll also send you email updates and keep you posted on deals you’re looking for, making saving very convenient for you and your travel companions.
7. Use Your Discounts
You might already have discounts available to you without searching through local deals sites. If you are a student, a number of vendors may offer you discounts that could greatly benefit your vacation budget. Plus, AAA offers its members several discounts on transportation, lodging and attractions.
Many attractions might also offer discounted or free admission on certain days or during certain times. Make sure you research the best times to visit these attractions when planning your trip!
Travel can be more affordable than you think. If you keep these simple tips in mind, you could find yourself happy with both your vacation and your budget.