A love of travel and saving money are two common passions, but often the two seem at odds. Traveling usually calls to mind spending lots of money. However, it is possible to travel on a budget, see the world and have a great time.
Try these tips for a budget-friendly vacation (and click on the links throughout to learn more):
Go off-season: Traveling in the off-season or “shoulder season” (the time just before or after a destination’s main crowds) can save big. Busy seasons vary depending on where in the world you’re headed, so compare seasonal prices before booking.
Try a travel registry: Instead of asking for household items in a wedding registry, many couples are creating travel registries instead, which helps fund their honeymoons. If you’re planning a big trip as part of a major anniversary or birthday, then you could also try a travel registry, where friends and family help fund your trip rather than giving you presents or a big party.
Use points to help pay: If you’re a frequent flyer, then utilizing those miles to pay for your vacation flights can work well. If not, you may be able to use credit card points to pay for parts of your trip.
Plan ahead or be flexible: Booking well in advance can save money and works well if you’re the type who likes to carefully plan. If you’re flexible about where you go and when, you can also save with last-minute deals. Visit AARP’s Travel Center and Discounts and Benefits pages for member discounts and more information.
Consider non-hotels: Accommodations can be one of the biggest costs of any vacation. However, hotels aren’t the only option. Staying at a home or apartment for rent or bed and breakfast can save you lots of money. What’s more, homes and apartments usually have a kitchen, which will allow you to eat out less.
Eat on the cheap: Eating every meal in a restaurant can be expensive. To save money on food expenses, consider picnic-style breakfasts and lunches from the grocery store or farmers market. When you do dine out, ask the locals their favorite spots, as eating outside the main tourist areas can cost less.
Use public transportation: If you’re traveling to a big city that has decent public transportation, don’t be afraid to use it – it’s easier than you think! Color-coded maps are usually easy to read, and you won’t have to worry about traffic or parking.
Taking your dream vacation is within reach. With a little creativity, bargain hunting and planning, you can ensure you stay on budget while having a great time.