Money Monday: Traveling on a Budget
Okay, so it’s decided. You are finally planning that vacation you’ve been talking about for months. But, your planning comes to a screeching halt as you research flights and hotels. You tell yourself,” I can’t afford to take this trip.” How many times have you said that? Well, that type of thinking stops now. There are plenty of affordable ways to travel without your wallet taking a beating. it’s just about doing your research and finding savvy solutions that work for you and your family. Don’t let the fear of “it costs too much money” stop you from planning your trip to paradise.
Planning for Your Trip
As you begin your planning, keep the following in mind:
Budget: Once you decide where you or your family want to go, think about your budget. Also, make sure you leave room for “in case of” situations so you are prepared for the unexpected.
Travel Dates: When choosing your travel dates, consider traveling during off-seasons when certain parts of the world are less crowded and/or less expensive. For example, you might not want to go to an amusement park during the middle of summer; that’s peak pricing season. Kids usually have time off from school and the great weather makes for large crowds. Elizabeth Schatz Passarella says that during the summer months, Mexico, Central America, the Caribbean, and even South America (where it will be winter) are still pleasant―and less crowded during the off-season.
Savings: Take advantage of any specials or discounts that will allow you to save money wherever you can. Hotels and flights usually let you enter your AAA member number to get your total cost reduced, which allows more wiggle room for your trip. If you have a credit card with mileage reward points, use it! You could even see if your destination has any promotional offers going at certain times of the year. Do your research when it comes to your trip to make sure you get the best bang for your buck. Pay attention to discount sites like TripAdvisor, Groupon, Living Social, and Kayak to help make planning your trip easier.
Okay, so now that you’ve figured out the best time and place to take your vacation, let’s discuss more ways to save throughout the trip to make sure you get the best vacation with the best budget.
Whether you are flying or thinking about flying, check fares frequently—if not daily. Airlines are cutting costs and plenty of sites help you explore which airline has the best price. Some of the best sites that allow you to compare prices and alert you to fare changes are: Farecompare, Farecast, Yapta, and Travelocity. However, if your destination is just a road trip a way, then drive!
If traveling internationally, Passarella suggests exploring non-U.S. airlines for travel. Several overseas airlines, like Aer Lingus, fly between U.S. and European cities. Within Europe, you can save money by flying on a regional discount airline, like EasyJet, or Jet4you instead of a major carrier; one-way flights can run as low as 28 dollars.
Looking for the best rate hotel can be daunting. Don’t let it be! If you have searched high and low to find the right deal for you and your family, opt for renting a house or a condo instead. This is especially smart if traveling with a large group or if you just prefer a more spacious accommodation. Plus, by having a kitchen in the space, you can easily cook up some food and save money by not going out to eat for every meal. Passarella writes that a recent search in San Francisco turned up several two-bedroom apartments (that sleep at least four) for around $250 a night; most hotels were between $150 and $250 a night for a single room. If you do decide to rent visit Homeaway, Resortquest, airbnb, and Interhomeusa for listings in the United States and abroad.
Other Tips for Traveling
- Look up the cost of public transport where you are planning to travel.
- Carry a calculator to track your spending and make sure you are within budget.
- Book all-inclusive trips that have fixed costs if you are looking for a quick getaway.
- Plan a stay-cation for you and your family and get to know your city.
Traveling can be overwhelming if planning isn’t done ahead of time. Make sure you do your research and explore all your options. If you have friends that are avid travelers don’t be afraid to ask them questions and advice like which restaurant has the best tacos in Mexico? No matter what you plan your trip around, whether it be food, time of year, or climate, remember to stop saying “I can’t afford to take this trip” and start saying “I can afford to take this trip if I budget correctly.” How can I?
We want to help you discover ways you can budget and save. We also want to show you a way to pay for it by borrowing money from yourself. By using what we call The Perpetual Wealth Strategy, you can take that vacation anytime and not worry about a penny.
We invite you to take 2 minutes to sign up for a FREE, extensive eCourse called Infinite 101®. You’ll receive access to video tutorials, articles, and podcasts. It literally costs you nothing to become educated on this ideal financial strategy and start building wealth.