Budget-Friendly Tips for the Cash-Strapped Traveler

Great guest post for summer vacation plans!

If you’re skipping out on a vacation this year, don’t let your finances be the reason for your sacrifice. While traveling can often eat into your savings, spending a fortune on your vacation is not necessary. There are many budget-friendly travel tips that can help even the most cash-strapped globe trotter’s vacation dreams become a reality.

Choosing Your Trip
Traveling during the off season can literally save you half of what you would pay to travel during peak seasons. If you’re traveling by plane, consider leaving in the middle of the week or flying at night. Also, consider choosing a cheap destination. Disney World is probably not going to make for the most budget-friendly trip; you can enjoy a relaxing beach vacation at a less traveled destination for a fraction of the price.

Don’t spend all your money just to get to your destination. Choosing a road less traveled can save you a ton of cash. While a plane ride might only take an hour, a bus ride could save you hundreds of dollars. The slowest mode of transportation will most often be the cheapest. Most tourist towns will have everything you need for your trip within walking distance. And if you need to go a bit further, avoid using taxis and opt for public transportation.

Rental Car
If you absolutely need to rent a car, try to make sure you will be able to return it to the same place you rent it from. This will save a ton of money. Also, never go for the “bring it back empty” option. Even if you take it back with a half a tank, they will charge you for a full tank. When choosing the car, get the smallest one possible. As long as you and your belongings fit, that’s all that matters. Not only will you save on rental rates, but gas mileage will be a lot better.

Before you book your hotel, check the prices on vacation rentals. These rentals are usually much more comfortable than a hotel and generally cheaper too. Having access to a full kitchen will also save money on dining. If the town you’re visiting is very touristy, the rates might be a bit more expensive than the town next door. Check your options and decide if maybe a 15 minute ride is worth the price difference.

Most restaurants offer awesome deals on lunch. You can usually get the same meal for half the price of what you would spend at dinner time. Eat a big lunch and skip the expensive dinner by opting for a smaller meal later on. Also, if your accommodations include a kitchen, eat in. You will spend way less at the grocery store than you would if you ate out every night. Also, try to avoid hotel breakfasts. These breakfasts are often overpriced for convenience.

A vacation does not have to be an expensive luxury. You can enjoy a fun, memorable trip for much less if you take the time to make your trip budget-friendly. Just remember, choosing slower transportation or cooking your own meals could easily pay for another day in paradise.

Diana Greggs enjoys writing about finance, foreign culture, and the best travel insurance.