Traveling on a Budget

Limited financial assets don’t have to keep you from enjoying a vacation.  There are many tips for stretching your budget and enjoying a relaxing vacation that does not put a strain on your financial situation.  Whether you are looking to enjoy a weekend getaway or a month long trip to another country you can find cost saving tips that can greatly reduce the price of your trip.  Some of these tips include maintaining flexibility, booking your trip in advance or at the last minute, considering alternative modes of transportation and traveling during off peak times.

Budget ahead -road sign
Budget ahead -road sign by 401(K) 2012
under CC BY-SA 2.0

Being flexible with your travel plans can greatly reduce the cost of your travel plans.  If you are flexible with the dates of your trip you may find more opportunities to reduce the cost of your trip.  For example hotel stays are usually cheaper on weekdays than they are on weeknights.  However, airline travel is usually cheaper if you stay over a weekend night before your return trip.  In this case you need to weigh your options carefully to determine what your cheapest options are.  It may be worthwhile to include one weekend night stay in a hotel in your vacation if it will greatly reduce your airfare. 

Booking flights more than three weeks is one way to help you get a better price on your airfare.  As the date of departure approaches, airfares tend to rise.  However, there are often possibilities of reduced airfares on last minute travel.  Booking your flight in advance is practically a guaranteed way to save money on your flight but waiting until the last minute is hit or miss in terms of whether or not you will find and affordable deal.  For this reason it is recommended that you make your reservations ahead of time when you are sure that you will be traveling instead of relying on a last minute deal on airfare.  Last minute deals, however, are excellent ideas for travel that is done on a whim. 

Depending on the location of your travel destination you might want to consider alternative modes of transportation for your travel.  Airfare is often quite expensive but trains, buses and automobiles can be much less expensive.  They are, however, much slower so therefore they are not an option if you have limited time constraints for your vacation.  If you have time to spare though you could save a great deal of money traveling by a form of land transportation as opposed to air travel.

Traveling during off peak times can also save you a great deal of money on your vacation.  Many popular vacations have peak times and off peak times.  For example popular ski locations can be much more expensive in the winter but the mountain ranges are beautiful for hiking and mountain biking in the spring and fall.  You might find great travel deals to these locations during these times.

Travel me seem like a luxury that you just can’t afford but that is not always the case.  With a little legwork and flexibility you may find that your dream vacation is more affordable than you imagined. 

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