Traveling on a Budget

As the weather gets warmer and the days get longer, many people get an itch for travel. But, did you know summer is one of the most expensive times to take a trip? When it comes to taking a vacation, there is a price, with the hotel fees, flight tickets, and expenses that seem to pop up. No matter what your budget is, there are ways to go on a new adventure and make memories.

  • Before spending any money on anything trip related, it’s a good idea to research and shop around for the best prices. Websites like Expedia, Travelocity, and Trivago help compare prices for flights and hotels.
  • Booking flights can get confusing and expensive. However, here’s an insider’s tip: book flights on Tuesdays and if possible, near 3 pm. Flights will be the cheapest at the time.
  • Avoid traveling during the holidays and summer. Disney World is a magical vacation but isn’t so magical when there are sky high prices and crowds during Christmas or summer. Take a trip during the fall or a three day weekend. Better yet, go during the week. Prices are usually lower Monday through Friday. Another plus is less crowds at the hotels and attractions.
  • Discounts are available for students, military members, and senior citizens when traveling. If you aren’t in any of those groups, research discounts on the Internet, using keywords “promo,” “coupon,” or “voucher code.”
  • Another way to cut back on costs is to travel with friends. Make it a couples’ get away or a girls’ weekend.
  • Before you go, plan out the main events for each day. Decide when you are going to a certain attraction or visiting a certain area of the city so you can go ahead and purchase tickets in advance if needed.
  • Speaking of purchasing tickets in advance, always do it. Prices are lower for hotels, tourist attractions, and shows if bought ahead of your visit. For example, the Biltmore House in Asheville offers a special, lower price, if you buy tickets ten days in advance.
  • Prioritize your spending. Think about what you want to spend your money on the most and where you will splurge. Maybe use pictures as souvenirs, instead of buying things.
  • Food is another place where money can either be saved or splurged. When booking a hotel, make sure they have a free complimentary breakfast. Then, have something small for lunch or pack snacks to carry with you throughout the day. Make dinner a fanfare event by picking somewhere nice and indulging in a great meal.
  • If you are interested in an attraction or museum, research to see if they have a free admissions day(s) or if admission is lower on certain days.
  • Use public transportation. Public parking can be a pain, especially with meter and parking deck fees. Save yourself the hassle and tour the city by using buses, trains, or by walking.
  • Hotels are always more expensive in bigger, tourist cities. Try to stay outside of the area, where costs are lower. For example, if you are visiting New York City, don’t stay in the city. Look for hotels in New Jersey or surrounding locations. This also gives you a chance to travel and explore places besides the main attraction.
  • It is important to be smart with your money while traveling. To avoid losing your credit cards or overspending, carry only cash so you’ll always know exactly how much you have to spend. Be sure to separate your cash between wallets, purses, and bags to prevent losing all of it if something is stolen.
  • There is nothing wrong with having a stay-cation in your own city. Be a tourist for a day and explore new places, nearby towns, and places you didn’t even know existed right in your backyard.
  • Lastly, start a travel fund with your spare change. The change will add up and can be put towards a fun trip away from home.