Summer is almost here! If you want to take a vacation but don’t have much room in your budget, these tips may help make your vacation a reality!
Buy Your Tickets Early and Consider Off-Season Travel
While this tip won’t help you this time around, it might when your next vacation comes around. Buying plane tickets (if you’re flying) early is a great way to save money, but be sure of your commitment! You could also save money by flying during the off-season. Do research to find out when the off-season is for the location of your choice.
Services like Scotts Cheap Flights are also beneficial for travelers, especially for those can that take trips at the spur of the moment (or at least a month or two out). Get cheap flight offers delivered right to your inbox, free!
When It Comes to Packing…
Try to pack as light as possible! This may not be possible for longer trips, but if you’re taking a short trip, avoiding checking a bag is a way to save money. You’re allowed a personal bag and a carry-on. The former can be a somewhat bulky bag that you can fit a change of clothes or two inside. The latter is larger, often 22" x 14" x 9”, and can hold a lot if you get creative, but double-check your airline’s policy as luggage size sometimes varies!
Think About Your Accommodations and Food
Hotel? Airbnb? A friend’s couch? Knowing where you’re staying is almost as important as where you’re going. Staying at a rental property can sometimes be cheaper than at a hotel. On the other hand, a hotel might be closer to attractions in your vacation spot. Check fees, too, as sometimes rentals have significant cleaning fees.
You also need to think about food. While some hotel rooms come with kitchens, more rental properties come equipped with a kitchen, giving you the opportunity make meals. Cooking most, if not all, of your meals while on vacation can save you hundreds of dollars and free up money to spend on other activities. If you’re booking at a hotel, try to go for one that offers free breakfast in the morning. This will take care of at least one of your meals every day.
If you're in need of an even more budget-friendly and adventurous option, look into hostels! They offer travelers a more economic place to stay that also features many opportunities to socialize with other travelers. They are available all over the world, especially in Europe, and have a reputation for being affordable, safe and clean. Be sure to include them in your research!
Have a Clear Itinerary
While perhaps a sin for travelers who like to be spontaneous, developing your itinerary before you go on your vacation can help you put together a budget. For example, let’s say you’re going to be in New York City for a few days. You want to visit the Statue of Liberty, some museums and maybe catch a Broadway show or two. You know you’ll need to take public transportation to these places, purchase tickets, plan for dinner, etc.
If you’re able to plan early, then you can start setting aside money more efficiently to ensure you can do everything you want! Planning can also discover the things you can’t do. If you’re still not as flush with cash as you’d like but wish to take a vacation anyway, doing this research will help you see what kinds of things you might be priced out of. On the other hand, you might find discounts or promotions that make activities that were too expensive more attainable.
Last but not least, if there are any purchases to be made, consider using a rewards credit card to make your purchases! If you’re going to spend money anyway, why not get something back for it?
Florida Credit Union is here to Help
Need a little extra help saving for your trip? Florida Credit Union offers a Vacation Club savings account! Start making deposits now and receiving half your balance in June, and the rest in July, right when you’re ready to pack your bags!
Florida Credit Union is a full-service financial institution. Founded in 1954 as the Alachua County Teachers’ Credit Union, FCU now services over 130,000 members in 48 counties throughout North and Central Florida. For more information on the services we provide, visit FLCU.org or call us at 1-800-284-1144.