Have more fun and less stress when you travel on a budget!
Whether you’re planning your family’s summer vacation or you’re looking to get out of the house after a long winter’s hibernation you’ll want to stretch your dollars as far as you can. No one wants to find themselves opening credit card statements with hefty balances that they aren’t prepared to pay back in a reasonable amount of time when they get home.
Traveling smart and budget minded not only will help keep you on track financially but it can also reduce the stress of traveling. Impromptu purchases and accumulating debt can be a sure-fire way to put a damper on your time away from home.
Here are a handful of tips to help you get the most of your travels:
Early Birds Typically Save – Planning ahead isn’t just for hotel accommodations and airfare or other transportation methods. You can save a good deal of money by getting your lodging and transportation dealt with early but planning ahead for what you’ll wear or eat and what you’ll see when you get to your destination can really save you unnecessary expenses. Sure, it may take some of the spontaneity out of your trip but if you plan ahead you can also get more experiences packed into what will inevitably be too short of a time away!
Research & Reach Out – The internet can be a great way to learn about the destination you will be visiting but remember this; much of the internet is built around selling you something. Sometimes a few phone calls to people who live and work in the area you are visiting can not only help you find the best deals but also the ‘best-kept secrets’ that the locals are aware of. This can come in particularly handy when researching places to shop and eat or scenic spots that are just a bit off the map so to speak.
Group Discounts – Buying power is the key here. If you don’t mind traveling with a group of people for a good part of your trip you can end up saving quite a bit of money upfront when you book it. If mingling with strangers for a week doesn’t work perhaps you have friends or family that share similar travel desires and you can split certain costs such as room and board, car rentals and meals.
Dine Carefully – One surefire way to break your travel budget is to regularly eat out for your meals. If you’re staying at a hotel with complimentary breakfasts be sure to take advantage of them. Get your early morning fill. Pack a lunch if possible. Carry a bag or pack that you bring some water, a few snacks and perhaps a sandwich with you as you go explore. Just taking care of breakfast and lunch on your own can help save you $25 – $50 dollars or more each day depending on where you are vacationing.
Author’s Sidenote: I’d recently taken a two week trip to Chile from the United States. I made it a point to take full advantage of complimentary breakfasts and I packed my lunches each morning before leaving. I also was sure to have plenty of water on me at all times. I was able to avoid needing to purchase snacks or beverages to get me through the day and know firsthand that I was able to save hundreds off of the expense of my trip by doing so. I fully recommend taking a disciplined approach with meals if you are traveling budget minded.
Taking the time to put the work in now can result in a smoothly ran vacation that won’t break the bank and will leave you in good financial shape. Planning ahead will also give you the opportunity to save money ahead of time.
This is ultimately the best way to take care of travel expenses! You won’t have any credit card debt to come home to and that can be just as rewarding as the trip itself!
Best wishes and happy travels!
Marketing Manager at Debt Reduction Services
AFCPE Accredited Credit Counselor
Helping others learn to #livedebtfree for 15 years and counting!
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*Article updated June 5th, 2017 to include additional tips and information.