Vacations, we all want them. And sometimes, we need them. There’s nothing better than looking forward to a trip you’re about to take. Some much needed time off is good for the soul – but not always for the pockets.
Traveling is expensive, especially with transportation, lodging, food, and extracurricular activities. But, you don’t have to break the bank in order to appreciate some R&R. Here are some tips on how to travel when you’re broke.
As much as you want to drop all responsibilities and get on the next flight to Barbados, resist. Create a separate account for your “travel fund” and dedicate either a percentage, or a fixed amount of money each month (or paycheck). It doesn’t have to be much, but creating a savings plan for yourself will help offset the spontaneous purchases we make when on vacation.
Define your travel priorities
Maybe you’re a foodie and you’re dedicated to eating your way through New York. Perhaps you’re a history buff and your goal is to visit all the historical museums in DC. Whatever it is, define what you’re going for. Maybe you just want to drink on the beach all day and not worry about a thing. Whatever it is, write down your “must-dos” while you’re away, that way you can define exactly what you’ll be spending money on.
Now that you know what you need and want, it’s time to budget it. Look over your current budget to see how much wiggle room you have for your vacay. It’s important to budget the unavoidable things such as: how are you getting there? Where are you staying?
If you’re planning on flying, find the cheapest flights you can. Avoid hotels if you can, and look for Airbnb’s, hostels, and staying with people you know. Or maybe you’re going to an all-inclusive site – do your research to find flight and resort bundles. You’ll save a considerate amount of money doing this.
Travel during the off-season
If you have a flexible schedule, this is highly recommended. Prices inflate hugely during peak seasons of travel, depending on your destination. Prices go down during the off-season, because businesses are looking for money during a slow part of the season. This can save you a lot of money, plus, less dealing with crowds of people.
Travel in groups
The more people, the more ways to split costs. A lot of the time you can get group rates for flights, hotels and attractions. Many group rates start at 10 people, and airlines like Southwest, Delta, and JetBlue all offer them, which can lead to anywhere from 5% to 10% off published fares. Even when you’re eating out, going all in with a group of people will cut down your eating expenses. Let’s be real, most of the time eating is the biggest expense.
Plan a shorter trip
You don’t need to be gone for weeks in order to feel revived and rejuvenated. A weekend get-away in your own state may be just what you need to get refocused. Consider vacations within driving distance, that way you aren’t in danger of missing a lot of work days, too.
No matter the kind of vacation, you don’t have to be rich to get away for a little bit. A vacay on a tight budget is possible, you just have to commit to finding the best deals and properly saving for your next adventure.