Enjoy your vacation without breaking the bank
You're already spending a lot of money on your upcoming vacation, and there's no reason why you should dig yourself into debt while you enjoy the trip.
By now you've likely already purchased your airline tickets, booked a hotel, and have planned out certain activities. But you will still need to buy food, drinks, and souvenirs, because no summer vacation is complete without a shirt to show where you traveled.
Just because you're on a trip doesn't mean you have free rein to spend money as you please. Here are some ways you can keep your spending under control while on vacation.
Watch your spending
According to a 2015 survey from Experian, 68 percent of vacationers spent more than they originally planned while traveling, with a vast majority leaning on credit cards to make purchases . Lodging and airfare were the two largest areas where vacationers racked up credit card debt.
Relying too much on credit during a trip will set you back financially when you return, unless you want to pay off your debts in the months to follow. However, credit cards are often an attractive option while traveling because they come with protections, such as zero-liability policies on unauthorized purchases. Your card may even come with some perks for travelers.
As long as you watch your spending, you can still use credit. To start off, always keep your eye out for deals on airfare and hotels. According to CheapAir, the best time to purchase tickets for your flight is anywhere from 21 to 112 days in advance . Additionally, you may be able to forgo packing a suitcase depending on the length of your trip because some major airlines will allow you to bring two carry-on bags. The shorter your trip, the more likely you'll be able to pack everything in these two bags.
When you are making lodging arrangements, take advantage of price aggregation sites such as Expedia or Kayak to help find the lowest prices. You can also look into staying at someone's apartment or home through a popular home-sharing service. Another option, especially if you're younger and low on cash, is to stay in hostels throughout various cities. You may even find that lodging is cheaper outside of the major city you're visiting.
With regard to eating, some vacation destinations, such as resorts, often include all-you-can-eat packages as part of your stay. But if you aren't going to a resort, plan out your meals, as exploration can reveal some budget-friendly restaurants.
Try going unique
When you think of summer trips, you probably think of some popular destinations, such as Mexico, Florida, Paris, and other well-known vacation spots. While those are always excellent choices for a vacation, you may want to look into visiting less popular areas for your upcoming trip. Doing so can help you save money because some tourist spots simply don't attract as many visitors.
You never know, you may find that local and hidden areas are more interesting and offer an alternative set of activities and places to explore. Less popular areas also won't be as expensive during the busy travel season.
After you've spent months working hard, it's understandable if you feel you deserve time off. But don't let your feeling of entitlement lead to rigid vacation plans. Essentially, consider traveling during off-peak times or taking smaller trips throughout the year instead of one long trip.
"Consider traveling during off-peak times or taking smaller trips throughout the year."
While all of summer will be busy at the airports or train stations, you could save money by flying during the middle of the week. For example, airfare may potentially be cheaper if you decide to leave or arrive midweek instead of the weekend.
As Memorial Day weekend is quickly approaching, millions of individuals and families will be traveling. The same applies for Fourth of July. While these may be appealing times to visit a relative or friend in another state, money can be saved by traveling in between or after these popular weekends.
The summer season doesn't technically end until the middle of September, so all of August and a good chunk of September are still viable options to enjoy a vacation while the weather is still pleasant outside. You never know, you may even enjoy a fall vacation more than a trip in June or July.
Money management is essential while you are on a summer vacation. Everyone deserves some time off, but you can't let a trip be an excuse to rack up debt. You can save money by booking trips and flights during off-peak times. Getaways to less popular destinations can also help your wallet out.
While on vacation, limit your credit card usage. With good financial management and budgeting, you will be able to get the most out of your trip without breaking the bank.
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