Vacations are a great way to relax, unwind, and have fun with family and friends. However, if you are on a tight budget, vacationing can cause you more stress than excitement. Here are a few ways to alleviate stress and cut down expenses when going on vacation.
Start planning for your vacation 12 months prior (if possible)
It is important to plan ahead. The moment you know when and where you are going on vacation, start researching the location and pricing out what you need and intend to do while you are there. There are times when using a travel agent may be more beneficial, and cheaper as well. They are able to offer you discounts that you may not be able to obtain yourself, such as all inclusive packages.
There are a few discount sites that offer discounts and great deals on hotels, rental cars, flights and more (in no particular order):
Priceline.com, Booking.com, Kayak.com, Hotwire.com, Orbitz.com, Hotels.com and Travelocity.com
Booking.com has a newsletter to subscribe to via e-mail where you will receive exclusive half price hotel deals. You should subscribe to the travel deal sites as you never know when an exclusive deal might wind up in your inbox!
You can check out all of these sites to see which has the best deal at the time you are going to be on vacation. It is recommended to compare the prices and then check to see the rates on the hotel website are in comparison with the prices on the discount sites.
You can even try calling the hotel to see if there are any discounts that they can give to you to meet or beat the discounts on the websites above. They may have a better deal for you if you call them, but make sure you have the numbers in front of you before you do call so you can compare prices.
Sign-up for restaurant e-mails
Many restaurant chains have an e-mail service that you can sign up for. Definitely get on their e-mailing list because there are many times when you will receive coupons to use. If you have a birthday around the time that you are on vacation, even better, as many companies send out special discounts when it is your birthday. Print the coupons and discount that you receive and bring them with you on vacation! This will help you save on your eating expenses. Restaurant e-mails that are popular and often offer discounts include: Olive Garden, Ruby Tuesday, Friendly’s, KFC, and Red Lobster to name a few. There are plenty of others that offer an e-mail service as well, and it is best to look into the area where you are vacationing to find the restaurants in that area and then research the restaurants websites from there.
Utilize Deal Sites and smartphone apps
Amazon Local, Groupon and Living Social are the three best deal sites that offer many locations to choose from for establishments that may be in the area where you are going to vacation.
Check out the three discount sites in advance to see if they have deals in the area you will be visiting. If so, keep an eye out for some great deals, many times you can get a gift certificate for half off!
There are also apps that you can download to your smartphone to help your budget. Here are a few that can help you save on your vacation:
The Coupons App is extremely helpful when trying to find a coupon for just about anything! It even lets you know where the cheapest gas is in the area where you are located. If you are traveling by car this will be especially helpful; plus the information is given in real time. The coupons are continuously updated throughout the day so wherever you may be on your vacation you can rest assure you will be able to find coupons for something to eat, gas prices and so much more!
Coupons for Lunch (by couponsforlunch.com) offers lunch options from establishments in the area where you are located.
Retail Me Not (by retailmenot.com) is an app that offer numerous coupons, some are local and others you may have to use online but check in to ordering online and picking up at the restaurant if that interests you too.
Coupons.com has a local coupon section in the app where you can find local deals when you enter in the zip code where you are located.
These are just a few to try out before you take off on vacation, if there is one you like better, give that one a try while traveling!
Last minute traveling
If you are planning a vacation at the last minute, lastminute.com is also a great resource for all of your traveling needs. They offer discounts and deals on hotels, rental cars, flights, attractions and more.
You can still save money with coupons if you have to plan a trip at the last minute, just check out the deal sites in the area where you are traveling to and peruse the apps to see if you can save any money through the information there too.
If you are looking to vacation on a budget it is best to plan ahead and save up your money so you have an adequate amount to enjoy yourself and splurge a little while you are having fun, relaxing and enjoying your free time!
Nikki Muroski is a mommy of three, a wife and a blogger for her site, Nickel-and-Diming with Nikki. She is also a regular contributor to the CareOne Debt Relief Services blog, a community that provides debt consolidation and money-saving advice.
How to Vacation on a Budget
May 15, 2012 by · Leave a Comment