Vacations are like snowflakes—no two are alike. Sometimes you’ll spend months or even years planning and saving, sometimes you’ll plan a quick last-minute getaway. But if you’re like most Americans, your vacations fall somewhere in between—you’ll have some spending money saved, but you’ll also want to budget as best you can.
The key with taking the family on a special vacation is knowing when to save your money and when to allow yourself a little splurge. That will depend on what is most important to you. But the truth is, knowing the smart tricks for saving some cash will allow you a bigger budget for the luxuries that make a trip so memorable. Read on for our best tips.
How to Save on Vacation Expenses
Are you flying to your destination? There are numerous ways to save money on your airline tickets:
● Consider joining a mileage program. Even if you don’t fly very often, you’ll earn miles that can really add up later. Plus, you may get to enjoy some of the perks right away, such as discounted flights and access to airport lounges.
● There has been a lot of advice about when to book your plane tickets to save on money. While it is best to book your flights about three months in advance if you can, this is not always an option. The day of the week you book can also make a difference. Many airlines release new flight listings and sales every Monday and Tuesday. You’ll likely find better deals on these two days as compared to the weekend when ticket prices can go up.
● Are your travel dates flexible? According to the site Fare Compare, Wednesday is the cheapest day to fly domestically in the USA. Friday and Sunday are the most expensive days.
● You can also try mixing and matching your airlines. Airlines sometimes offer deep discounts for one-way tickets, but you may find a more affordable route home.
There are numerous ways to save money on your rental car once you’ve arrived.
● Look on Car Rental Express for the best deals. We are the internet’s only site dedicated to the comparison of independent, rated car rental agencies. Finding a car rental discount will be easier with our booking site.
● Consider a more long-term car rental. Some companies offer deals if you rent for a week or longer.
● Make sure you read the fine print regarding your insurance options. If your car insurance covers rental cars, there’s no need to purchase an additional expensive plan.
Need some tips for saving money on your hotel?
● First, depending on where you’re heading, you might be able to find better deals on sites like AirBnB. In some major cities and popular vacation destinations, homeowners will rent out their beautiful furnished apartments, condos and houses for less than the cost of a hotel room. Having access to a full kitchen and other perks would save you even more in the long run.
● See if there are any discounts for pre-paying.
● When you call to reserve your room, use the right lingo. Ask for the “best nonrefundable rate” rather than just asking for their best deal.
● Become a member of AAA to save on hotels across the country.
When to splurge on your vacation
Once your travel arrangements have been made, there are still some decisions to be made regarding where to save and where to splurge. Don’t be afraid to spend money on the experiences you’ve been looking forward to. The point of a vacation is to treat yourself! Here are some suggestions on where not to be frugal on your next trip:
● Splurge on a luxury car rental if you’ll be spending a lot of time in your vehicle or if the trip is a special occasion, like a honeymoon or milestone wedding anniversary.
● Splurge on a resort or hotel if you’ll be spending a lot of time there. Some resorts are destinations themselves, with several dining options and family activities. For a relaxing getaway, you’ll be glad to spend the cash on quality accommodations.
● Always splurge on memorable experiences. If you’ve always wanted to see the Eiffel Tower or your children would love to have breakfast with Disney characters at Disney World, you’ll never regret spending the money.
● Try to enjoy at least one fine dining meal in your destination of choice. Even if that means taking advantage of the free continental breakfast every day and eating cheap the rest of the trip, trying one of the city’s best restaurants will give you an idea of the local culinary scene.
When to save on your vacation
● Skip the cheesy city tours unless it’s something you really want to experience. If you bargain hunt, you may be able to find deals through sites like Groupon. Or, have a family member or friend drive you around!
● Avoid buying silly souvenirs. In 10 years, you’ll be happier with a photo album of your vacation and an old t-shirt.
● Add some budget-friendly activities that will allow you to experience the best parts of your destination for free or cheap, such as a family hike on a scenic trail or a picnic in a park featuring some local delicacies.