You don’t have to break the bank to go on vacation. There are a lot of ways to shave dollars off hotels, transportation and food, which can add up to big savings. Here are some tips to plan a frugal vacation.
Save on lodging – By planning ahead and booking 14 – 21 days in advance, you can secure hotel rates that are 10 – 30 percent lower than booking within that window.
Find bargains on transportation – By taking the first flight of the day you can save significantly. The 6:00am flight is often hundreds of dollars cheaper than the same flight later in the day. Also, avoid baggage fees by flying airlines such as Southwest or by joining frequent flier programs that waive baggage fees as a membership perk.
If renting a car, always book the lowest class of car. Often they are not available and you will receive a free upgrade.
Cut your food costs – Many hotels offer free breakfast and/or happy hour. Take advantage of these perks as a family of four can save over $200 on food over the course of a seven day trip. Also consider accommodations that are equipped with a kitchen that will enable you to buy food and prepare 1-2 meals a day, allowing you to cut food costs substantially.
Get your timing right – Booking off season can save you as much as 50%. Just be conscious of possible weather threats such as hurricane season in the Caribbean.
Consider bundling it all together – If you are heading to the Caribbean or Mexico, consider an all-inclusive resort. All-inclusive’s typically include all food, alcoholic (not top shelf) and non-alcoholic drinks as well as many activities such as sailing, windsurfing, snorkeling, etc. for the same price as a hotel room.