Most of the time, the unforgettable vacations can max out your credit card. Although it is the usual situation, traveling cheaply while still maintaining those memorable experiences is not impossible. Here is how you can do it:
Spend Less on Transportation
At the early stages of your planning, estimate your rough budget for the whole trip. A vacation calculator can be helpful. Know how much you are ready to spend on things like airfare and look for destinations within your price limit.
While it is great that you can cut costs, you should also get the most of what you pay for. For example, $400 airfare to anywhere in America is also the same cost for a return flight to Paris.
Having flexible travel dates could also mean more places to visit you. Pick a destination and find lower airfares by revising dates for your departure. Traveling during the shoulder or off seasons could also snag you a better deal with less tourist congestion.
Social Media Alerts Save Cash
You can also opt to look out for sudden price drops by setting up your notifications. Try out apps like Hopper or Yapta for price drop alerts of the flight you have been keeping your eyes on. Following twitter handles such as @FareDealAlert and @theflightdeal can help your strategy because they post about limited-time deals. After finding a desirable price, check the baggage policy of the airline before you book the flight. Some deals might offer you low rates but are strict when it comes to carry-on requirements and overweight fees.
If your destination is within driving distance, rent a car rather than flying. Check if the trade-off is worth it and add the possible additional costs like a rental fee.
Make Souvenirs Keepsakes
You should also set up a separate budget for the souvenirs. Conducting research beforehand about the best souvenir shops can help you pick out the best buys and their expected prices. Think about the quality of the item and whether or not it will be worth dusting for 20 years. Consider going off the beaten path and visiting a local artisan to something to remember how special your trip was without getting sucked into a tourist trap souvenir store.
If you ever have the urge to impulse buy, you can try making the shorter 72-hour rule. It might be a long time so you can just put off buying that thing for a few hours, or maybe return the next day to the store and see if you still want it.
Pick Your Options Wisely
When it comes to finding affordable hotel rooms to stay at, you may find it troublesome. You can start by browsing sites like Kayak, Expedia, and Priceline.com to help you find hotels near the area. You can also look for promotion codes available online. Try contacting the hotels directly, and they might be able to offer you lower prices. You can also stay at hotels outside the city’s center and keep your eyes out for deals at the last minute.
Alternatives like room booking are also accessible through sites like OneFineStay, HomeAway, and Airbnb. The rooms offered in these sites are comparably affordable, but you are most likely going to stay with a resident. They can suggest you to some of the cheapest diners in the city and activities not found in travel magazines. Hostels are also great for cutting costs if you are fine with possibly sharing a room with a stranger. They might have restrictions when it comes to age though so keep that in mind too.
One of the most common mistakes that a traveler commits are underestimating food costs, according to James Kaiser, a guidebook author. Kaiser suggested that you bring your meal or purchase one at a shop upon arriving at the destination. This does not mean that you should just carry groceries around, after all eating out is still one of the best parts about traveling. You should just know when you should save or splurge.
Take a look at your itinerary and identify your daily meals, then proceed to decide in which times you will indulge yourself. After that, think of ways by which you can save money. Packing energy bars for breakfast will save you both money and time during the mornings.
Spending will vary daily so keep in mind that your budget must be adjustable to avoid spending too much.
If you are going to visit another country, transaction fees overseas might cut into your vacation budget. Visit your bank before leaving so you can exchange some cash, assuming that they have the currency same as the country of your choice. This way, you may be able to get lower fees and better rates. Most banks will also order in the currency for you if they don’t have it on hand. If you run out of cash one you have reached the country, you can also check if they have global partnerships or international branches. Chances are you can withdraw money from these ATMs with little or zero fees.
Roaming fees are another problem that international travelers usually face. If you don’t have spare cash to buy a new phone in your destination, you can consult your service provider to unlock the phone and then proceed to buy a SIM card local to your destination. However, most mobile phone companies provide reasonable travel packages that will allow you to use your plan as per usual for a daily fee. Call your provider ahead of time and double check fees and usage allowances.