Every holiday season, Summer, and Spring break, many people look forward to heading out of town. For some, vacations are a time to relax and rejuvenate, while others use the time to have new experiences and expand themselves. The problem? Vacations can be pricey. Between hotels, flights, transportation, and food, things add up quickly.
If you are interested in saving money while escaping your routine, here are five unique ways to save money using vacation travel sites.
Forego the Hotel Stay
Accommodations can be quite expensive -- hotels, or even affordable motels are often over $100 a night. Consider staying in hostels that range from $20-$30/night. Many even have private rooms, where the only thing you'll share is the bathroom and kitchen if they have one. If hostels would make you feel uncomfortable, consider doing a housing swap with someone or renting a room on AirBnB. For the real adventurous, consider CouchSurfing, which allows you to stay for free with locals in the area. By using these resources, you can save hundreds of dollars on your vacation!
Opt for Walking
A great way to explore the city you are in is by walking as much as you can. Instead of renting cars, paying for gas and insurance -- all of which can add up quickly -- opt for walking. Not only will you be able to see more, you'll also be able to stop and enjoy your surroundings at your own pace.
Walking allows you to stumble upon things off the beaten path and explore local neighborhoods that might not be on a tourist map. Before you head out for a stroll, talk to locals or people at the hotel/hostel about what areas to avoid. Some neighborhoods should be avoided at night ot maybe altogether. This may be the sort of thing that typically only locals know, so before you go exploring, figure out a general area that is safe to stroll at all hours.
Be Prudent with Food
On vacation, it can be easy to eat out three times a day and enjoy all the delicious food and drink in the area. However, this is a surefire way to spend a lot of money -- money that could be used on attractions, or other worthwhile experiences. Many hostels or hotels have some sort of continental breakfast. Before your trip, look for a place to stay that has breakfast.
You can also go to the local grocery store or deli and pick up affordable snacks and sandwiches. Try going out to eat for one meal a day and set up a daily budget limit, as it's easy to overspend at restaurants while traveling.
Before you travel, create a packing list with everything you will need on vacation. In addition, plan for problems that can happen like getting sick, having a headache or ruining certain items of clothing or loosing luggage. By doing this, you can prepare yourself for all situations while on vacation.
For example, if you forget your toothbrush or have to buy cold/pain medicine at the airport, the price markup will be huge. If you prepare for your vacation and have contingency items, you will save money by not purchasing overpriced items at the airport, or doubling up on items you already have.
Skip the Tour
When you are on vacation, it's tempting to go on a tour where everything is set up for you and you don't have to think about or plan anything. However, tours are often rigid in their schedule and can be quite pricey. What's more, not all tours are going to fit all tastes. If you are interested in a tour, find out the locations they stop at, and plan your own adventure. By planning your own adventure, you can go at your own pace, explore things on your own without other tourists, all for a fraction of the price.
If you are interested in museums, or other local attractions, see if they have any deals during off-hours or off-seasons. Ask about student or senior discounts. If you are staying at a hotel, ask if they have coupons.
While going on vacation can be expensive, there are many ways to save money. By saving money on the big things like transportation, accommodation, and food, you can spend your money on enjoying your time there -- and planning for your next vacation!