You may have been budgeting for your annual vacation for months, but when you return from your sojourn, there are chances you spent way more than planned. There are plenty of tips you can follow to cut your total expense both during the planning and execution phase of your vacation (i.e., before you depart and after you’ve reached your destination). This article covers the ‘before-the-trip-begins’ lot, so remember to follow them next time you’re out for some fun time:
1. Book your tickets with a travel-friendly credit card
Some credit cards are designed to facilitate travelers by giving away thousands of flyer miles in return for booking tickets using those cards. You may not get immediate discounts, but you do save hundreds of dollars in future travel tickets. As always, make sure you pay off your credit card bill before the month ends to avoid interest charges.
2. Book early and carefully
You’ve probably heard this one, millions of times – airline tickets bought early (and off-peak) are less expensive compared to those purchased at the last moment (and during peak seasons). The same rule applies to traveling at night and during weekdays because they are considered off-peak times.
Similarly, trips to famous tourist destinations cost more but are not necessarily better (more scenic or fun) than trips to less popular spots. Sometimes a weekend camping trip to a nearby woodland can be as entertaining as anything else.
Let’s not forget boarding and lodging. A five-star experience may sound fancy, but it damages your wallet pretty nicely. Look around for Bed & Breakfast arrangements, inns, reasonably-priced motels or two or three-star hotels that offer you better value for money.
3. Plan your itinerary before boarding the plane
Once you know where you’ll be heading, surf the web for a few days and decide which activities will keep you busy during your vacation.
- Which museums, parks, galleries, beaches interest you?
- What are the directions and distances?
- What features is the city/town known for?
- Where is the best street food served?
- Where are the cleanest toilets? (This one is pretty high up on my list).
Planning enables you to draw the maximum mileage from your short visit, so you don’t waste precious time thinking of what to explore/visit.
4. Invite others to join your vacation
Traveling alone may sound adventurous, but if you take along a friend or relative, you can split a few costs and enjoy their company too. For instance, if you lease a car to travel to another city, the fuel bill can be divvied up along with the bill for any hotel room you rent for the night.
5. Pack a light suitcase
Airlines often charge a hefty amount for excess baggage (any weight that goes beyond the standard 20 kg limit). You don’t need to carry much when traveling – a few clothes that meet the weather requirements, personal hygiene products (most hotels provide these), any gifts you’re taking for your family and friends, and that’s 80% of the list. Besides saving money, traveling light is just more comfortable, and it leaves enough room in your suitcase to accommodate any holiday shopping you do.
Be sure to measure your luggage before you leave your home to avoid extra charges.