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How to Vacation on a Budget and Have the Time of Your Life

07/06/2020 - Financial Wellness & Life Planning, Budgeting

Vacation on a Budget

As the days get longer and weather warms up, it’s easy to start dreaming about the kind of five-star vacations bombarding your Instagram feed. Let’s face it, leaving work is hard and vacationing isn’t cheap. But when wanderlust calls, you can be ready to vacation on a budget with these great tips.

Saving for Vacation

It’s always essential to save for a vacation and it’s nice to know that you have the funds set aside to get away for a while. Saving for vacation is easy when you make small sacrifices here and there like making coffee at home, packing your lunch every day, starting a fun side hustle or grocery shopping in bulk. Small changes can go a long way. No, your affinity for avocados isn’t keeping you from taking a vacation, but wouldn’t you rather enjoy that avocado toast on the deck of a lake house later in the year?

Start by taking a closer look at your budget, spending habits and ways to put some pennies aside. Then, keep up to date with your checking account balance to spot ways to make larger savings deposits.

Budget Vacation Ideas

Those vacation days aren’t going to use themselves up. But that doesn’t mean you should go into debt, either. Instead, here are some budget vacation ideas:

  • Select Off-Season Dates: Traveling during off-season dates is a great way to plan affordable vacations. When you choose off-season dates, you’re sure to land budget-friendly deals on flights, lodging, excursions and beyond. Resort towns are also less crowded during the off-season, which means less crowds at restaurants, bars, parks, museums and other public places.
  • Fly on Flex Dates: You can vacation on a budget by flying on flex dates. Flex dates allow you to fly for cheaper rates on off days. This is a great option if your schedule allows for some flexibility. It might mean taking a few extra days off of work since you may not be traveling on a weekend, but a vacation is relaxing and fun any day of the week.
  • Consider a Road Trip: Flying can be expensive, even if you are saving for vacation. If it’s too far out of the budget for you, consider a road trip. There are plenty of fun options along the East coast from national forests to beaches and lakes if you don’t mind a few hours on the road. So, pack up the car, stock up on snacks, download the latest podcast and buckle up for the ride. Road-tripping is also a great way to include your pets rather than paying for a kennel.
  • Rethink the Resort: After travel, lodging is the biggest expense when it comes to a vacation. Although some resorts and hotels can have last minute deals, if you’re not up for a spur of the moment trip there are other options when it comes to lodging. Home sharing websites are often more affordable, but don’t have the amenities of a hotel or resort. For another affordable option, consider staying in a hostel. Hostels are available in many cities throughout the US and offer communal-type lodging for bargain prices. If you really want to experience the outdoors and get a taste of nature, camping is another great option. Don’t have your own gear? Check to see if your local outfitter has rentals.

How to Save Money on Vacation

Once you’ve decided on a location, mode of travel and lodging there’s even more opportunities to save money on vacation.

  • Weekend Getaways: One easy way to reduce the cost of your vacation is to shorten the duration. Sure, a 10-day retreat is everyone’s dream, but not suitable for every person’s budget. So, consider a long weekend or a 5-day trip. Little breaks like this throughout the year can even provide greater respite from your daily grind than a longer trip once a year.
  • Destination Transportation: If you do end up flying to your destination, have you considered how you’ll get around? Renting a car can be pricey and cab or ride share fares add up over the course of a few days. If you’re staying in a central location, renting a bike or scooter for the duration of your trip will keep you active and mitigate unnecessary costs. You may also want to research cost-efficient activities while traveling like creating your own walking tour or using a cell phone app to locate the best hiking trails in the area.
  • Snackage: All of that biking and hiking is sure to make you hungry. But instead of spending money at restaurants for all of your meals, visit a local farmer’s market or grocery store and stock up on food. It’s always nice to plan a few meals out on the town but cooking for the majority of your stay will save you money.

So, you see, it is possible to vacation on a budget. When you break it down, it’s not about where you go or how much you spend. Vacation is about who you’re with and the memories you make along the way. Keep track of your spending today so you can pack up and go tomorrow.

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Content is for informational purposes only and is not intended to provide legal or financial advice. The views and opinions expressed do not necessarily represent the views and opinions of WesBanco.

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