Going on vacation can be expensive. The average summer vacation costs $1,145 per person, and a typical family trip for four works out at $1,792 per person on average. However, just one third of that amount is used for travel and accommodation – the rest goes on spending money, eating out, clothes, gifts and other extras.
Travelers are getting wise to the ways they can save on flights, hotels and other big expenses, but there are still a lot of extra costs that add up to make a vacation so tough on the finances. This guide discusses some of the main ways to make savings on your next trip, leaving you with more to spend on having fun.
Search online Before you Leave and Book Activities in Advance
Fancy a trip to the zoo during your vacation? How about a visit to the movie theater or a day at the theme park? Tours, trips and day passes for big attractions can be expensive when you buy at the gate. However, booking in advance can often save you quite a bit on the cost of your family’s tickets, and means you have more to spend on food, drinks or souvenirs at the venue.
The advance booking tip also works for travel, accommodation and sometimes with restaurants as well. Companies reward those who plan ahead, so make the most of those potential savings and start booking your holiday activities right away.
Risk a Last-Minute Bargain
Booking well in advance can save you money, but for hotels and flights it can also pay to wait until the very last minute. If you book late, you can’t be as flexible about where (or even when) your holiday will be, but you can pick up some exceptional deals. Hotels and transport services need to fill up every day’s services, so unsold rooms and seats are often sold off extremely cheaply right before the time of use. Other popular money-saving techniques include booking during the off-peak season, taking a holiday during the week, or travelling to a lesser-known destination to avoid the higher costs associated with tourist towns and cities.
Use Your Mobile to Find Great Savings Anywhere
Cities and towns all over the world now have Wi-fi connectivity, so you can use your cell phone anywhere. This means you can still access discounts and offers for local services, wherever you travel. Look for local deal-based apps and download them before you hit the town. Coupon sites such as Frugaa and its global partners offer many different codes for services and attractions, both here in the US and all over the world.
Get Ready to Haggle Over Prices
You may not be used to bartering over prices, but many countries around the world see this as a normal way of trading. Wherever you go, feel free to debate a little over the price of any item. If you can employ a little charm and skill when making purchases – and if you are not afraid to be cheeky and ask for a lower price – then you might see some great savings on your vacation souvenirs and your gifts for friends and family.
Crowdsource Reviews and Opinions to Land the Most Value
Use social media networks and review-sharing forums to speak to others who have visited your planned destination. You will find information about the best restaurants and hotels for any location, but you can also discover which provide the best value. Compromise in one area might lead to a big pay-off in another – for example, choosing a hotel without a pool and getting great service and hospitality instead.
Reviews can give you an insider opinion on where to eat, stay and hang out on vacation, so you don’t waste money on overpriced, underperforming venues. You might also pick up some money-saving tips from other travelers, such as where and when happy hour is hosted, or where to find 2-for-1 meal deals.
Make Your Own Meals and Save on Eating Out
Nobody wants to spend their whole trip cooking, so all-inclusive deals can be very tempting. However, they are also pricey. Make things a little cheaper by opting for half board, and filling up well during breakfast. If you can get accommodation with cooking facilities, you can make your evening meals extremely cheaply, using ingredients from local markets and stores, to save on the cost of eating out. Reserve one or two nights of the break for special treats, during which you should visit local cafes and diners instead of fancy restaurants – the food is often just as good, you get to try what the locals eat, and the experience can be just as special.
A Cheaper Vacation with Just as Much Fun
Wherever you are heading this year, be sure to do it frugally. The more you save on unnecessary spending, the more you have in your pocket to treat yourself and your loved ones. At around $2,500, the average family trip is an expensive purchase. Make that money stretch as far as possible by cutting out some of the frills and fuss, and concentrating on the parts of a vacation you are most looking forward to. Splash out on the things that matter most, and cut back on all the rest wherever you can.