Summer is just around the corner and many of us will be taking our annual vacation. How do you have that dream vacation you’ve been planning and not go broke?
Here are 5 easy and shrewd tips to help you save money on your summer vacation.
Saving money is going to be a challenge this year. According to GBTA Foundation research, prices for airfare and hotels are expected to spike this summer. Airfare will increase by 3.5 percent and hotel prices by 3.7 percent. This means you have to be much craftier with your travel arrangements.
Do Your Research
Before booking your tickets, check around to find the best airfares. The US Department of Transportation has a comprehensive site where you can do some comparison shopping. If you’re not stuck on a particular destination, let your choice be guided by the most affordable places to visit.
Utilize internet and social media platforms to find the best deals. If you’re on Twitter, check out Airfarewatchdog. You can find deals on airfare and hotels.
You can save money on your summer vacation if you are willing to be flexible with either your destination or the dates you travel. Put off traveling on the most expensive day, which is Friday. For domestic travel, the most affordable days are Tuesday, Wednesday, and Saturday. If you are traveling without kids, consider off-hour departures and longer layovers. You will save money.
Save Money on Your Summer Vacation by Watching Your Food Budget
After tickets and hotels, the third most costly vacation expense is food. You can spend a fortune on food and drinks if you’re not careful, totally wiping out whatever you saved in hotel or flight costs. If you’re traveling with kids, vacation meals can really throw your budget off course. How can you save money?
Try to stay in family suites that come with a small kitchenette. This way you can at least make a couple of meals each day yourself. Ask around for the best grocery or convenience store and you’ll save a lot of money. Airbnb’s are good too, as most come with an equipped kitchen.
If you are traveling overseas your trip to the grocery store can be an additional element in your cultural immersion. You have fun and save money! When going out to tour around, take along small snacks and drinks for the road. When you selecting a restaurant, try to stay away from the trendy places. The more tourists there are, the more expensive the place. Look for where the locals go.
Use Discretion When Exchanging Money
If your travel plans include overseas destinations, one important way to save money on your summer vacation is to wisely choose where you exchange your money. Travel experts suggest using ATMs rather than local money changers. Depending on where you go, the exchange rate may not be so great anyway. It is worth it to use the ATM even if you have to pay a bank fee. You will avoid potential scams with money changers, especially if you are not familiar with the language or country.
By the way, one way to avoid the bank fees, especially if your vacation plans usually take you abroad, is to open a checking account that does not charge you fees for using overseas ATMs.
Reserve Your Credit Card for Emergencies Only
One great way to save money on your summer vacation is to use a prepaid debit card.
(1) It helps you limit your spending and
(2) if it is stolen, your liability is limited.
And remember, if you decide to use your regular credit cards, don’t forget to let your bank know you are traveling overseas. They might freeze your card when a lot of foreign transactions show up. Also, skip the dynamic currency conversion option. It may seem better to translate the local currency into dollars so you have a better idea of what the purchase costs, but the exchange rates on dynamic currency conversions are much higher. Better to wait until your cardholder processes the charges for your monthly statement.