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Travel on a Budget

May 08, 2023 08:15AM ● By Nikki Ducas

Have you always dreamed of traveling to an exotic location but can’t seem to figure out how to do so without going into debt? Travel is expensive but there are tips and tricks to travel on a budget.

Plan Early.The sooner you start planning for your dream vacation, the more time you have to save money for your trip. Let’s say if you are thinking of going to Europe or renting a beach house this summer but prices seem inflated, plan your trip in the off season, not when most people visit. Download travel apps to help find cheap flights, hotels and car rentals. These apps provide aggregated options from a wide range of providers at your finger tips.

Use reward credits – If much of your travel expenses include hotel and flight costs, consider opening an airline or hotel credit card that offers welcome or sign-up bonuses. My husband has paid for several weekend getaways using hotel points and these cards often come with elite status. Some perks include free breakfast, free Wi-Fi, water and early check-in or late checkout. When traveling as a family, we use hotel points so as not to accrue fees for additional people in a room, since these fees don’t translate with reward redemptions.

Stay at Alternative Accommodations. Consider vacation rentals, guest houses, homes and apartments as a cheaper alternative to a hotel, especially if you have a large family or are vacationing with other families. I especially like staying at these rentals for the convenience of a kitchen and washer and dryer. If you are traveling solo, hostels are the most accessible cheap accommodation for travelers on a budget.

Don’t Eat Every Meal Out. Splurge on dinners out but find a local grocery store or market to pick up breakfast items, lunch supplies and late night snacks. Consider eating dinner for lunch since lunch menus tend to be lower in price and offer smaller portions. Always bring a refillable water bottle. When my family travels by car to an AirBnB, I shop ahead and plan our meals. This saves me time and is less stressful when we get there and the cost of groceries tends to be less expensive than buying in a touristy area.

Explore on Your Own. With the Internet in your pocket, it is easy to plan and execute your own tour rather than paying for overpriced guided tours. Use apps like Tripadvisor or Spotted by Locals for city guides and insider picks by locals. Many places offer Hop on Hop off buses or guided walking tours that allow you to explore at your own pace for a nominal fee.

Don’t allow yourself to go into debt for a vacation, put money aside in a sinking fund and use it for your initial deposit. You’ll be pleasantly surprised that a percentage of your trip is already paid for as you head out the door on vacation.

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