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If you’re ever looking for a way to stretch your money while on the road, here are Six Ways to Get the Most Out of Your Travel Budget.
Don’t you just love a good deal? I’m not into extreme couponing but if I happen to come along a coupon or promo code for something I have plans on buying, I snatch them up! Unfortunately, sometimes when your travel planning the deals are not always there. According to Murphy’s Law, the amazing airfare sales only seem to happen when you’re broke. Or is that just me?
Anyone who loves to travel knows that it’s very easy to spend your money when planning a trip. It’s an investment in life experiences, but at the same time, you want to get the most out of your budget. When I was a travel agent I was constantly on the lookout for travel deals to help me and my clients get the best value for our money.
When the deals aren’t there you have got to get creative and figure out a way to stretch that travel budget. Today I’m sharing with you Six Ways to Get the Most Out of Your Travel Budget that I have personally used to get the best possible travel experiences.
When to Travel
Having the ability to choose when to travel is definitely the first step in stretching that travel budget. Choosing to travel in your chosen destination’s off-season will allow you to get better bargains on accommodations and even, at times, sightseeing. Traveling in the off-season also means
Several years back my husband and I spent a week in New England and kept the entire trip under $1000. This included air, car rental, accommodations, food, sightseeing, public transportation, and souvenirs. One of the main reasons we were able to do this is because we traveled in April instead of June or July. We also loved every minute of it!
Of course, if the reason why you want to go to your chosen destination is to experience their sunny beaches and it’s not warm year-round, then traveling in the off-season is probably not the best idea for you. For destinations like that, you may want to consider early May or late September. You may get the same experience with a little extra stretch in the budget.
Travel Method: Fly, Drive, or Ride
Whenever my husband and I choose a travel destination, the first thing I do is grab a map and figure out the best way to get there. Depending on airfare and distance it may be a better value to fly. Fuel prices and distance will determine if driving is the better option. You also can look at bus and train fares to find the best overall value. However, when I say value, I’m not just talking about money. Time and comfort are also important factors. If it’s a long
Where to Stay
Accommodations are a great way to blow your budget. They are also the best way to do the opposite and really stretch it. There are so many different options depending on your destination and the experience you’re looking to have.
If you have access to camping equipment and if there are campgrounds near your destination you could turn it into a camping trip. If you’ve got a large group then maybe a vacation rental is better than blocking a bunch of hotel rooms. A
Another question to ask is if you’re willing to stay just outside of the city center. Instead of staying in DC we stayed in Alexandria, this was another way we were able to stretch our budget.
Taking the time and doing the research in this area is what will make a difference in which end of the spectrum you’ll go in your budget.
Getting Around and Parking
This is an important element to consider when planning your travel budget. How are you going to get around? If you’re flying to the destination, can you rely strictly on public transportation or are you going to need a rental car? How much is the cost of public transportation going to cost?
If you’re driving to your destination you need to consider if it’s parking friendly. Major cities usually are not, so the cost of parking is something that you’ll have to consider. This was another reason we chose to stay in Alexandria on our DC vacation. We were near a metro station with free parking on the weekends. Another bonus is that metro rates are cheaper on the weekends!
What to See and Do
Sightseeing is a major component of a travel budget. Depending on what you want to do can make or break your budget. Googling free tourist sites for your destination will help you find ways to stretch that budget. You may be surprised to find out how many interesting sites you can see for little to no money. Boston’s Freedom Trail, DC’s Smithsonian Museums, and London’s National Gallery are just a few inexpensive and incredible ways to experience major destinations.
Food and Beverage
Food and beverage is another easy way to blow your budget. Going out to eat is not cheap, especially if you’re like me and my husband and avoid fast food as much as possible. There are quite a few ways you can curb your budget in this department.
First of all, depending on what type of accommodations you have chosen can make a huge difference here. Do you have access to a kitchen? One of the things I love about vacation rentals is that we can save some money by cooking some of our own meals. At the very least you can have breakfast in the mornings. This can not only save you money but time as well.
If you’re staying at a hotel, maybe breakfast is included in your stay. That is definitely one of the things to keep in mind when researching potential accommodations!
One of the ways I save money is by researching the area’s dining spots ahead of time. Derek and I spent on average $30 each meal on our DC trip, which for the area is very good. We ate at some great and delicious local spots.
Having a water bottle on hand is also a great way to save money. Most places that don’t allow food or drink are okay with water bottles. You can refill them at their water fountains.
Bringing your own snacks is another way to curb your budget. Little stops at convenience stores can definitely add up. You can always restock at local grocery stores that are more likely to be cheaper than corner stores.
If you’re road-tripping it go old school by making a picnic lunch and stopping at a rest area. This will save you time and money over stopping at a fast
As you can see, one of the greatest components of stretching that travel budget is research, research, and more research. If you’re thinking “That’s great, but I don’t have time for that!” Well, then maybe it’s time for you to contact your local travel consultant. They can give you some great options to help you build your trip and stay within your chosen budget!
I hope you’ll find as much success with my Six Ways to Get the Most Out of Your Travel Budget as I have over the years! Think about your next travel adventure. Where can you get the most for your money? Sightseeing, dining, accommodations, or all of the above! Stay tuned for next week’s post on overlooked travel expenses.
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