Memorial Day weekend is just around the corner and that means summer is almost here. The weather is warmer, the sun is shining and it’s time to start planning your summer travel. Planning a vacation – especially during peak times – can be expensive, but that shouldn’t stop you.
Use these summer travel tips to plan an amazing vacation on a budget:
Set travel alerts for price drops
If you’re looking for a hotel, airline flight or vacation package one of the best ways to find the best deal is to sign up for price drops. Being on a mailing list means that you’ll receive notifications in your inbox long after your summer travel is over, but the email clutter is worth it.
When you search for hotels, flights and vacation packages on discount travel websites such as Priceline, Hotwire and Hotels.com they will ask you to sign up by email and get notified if the prices drop. If the option isn’t available come back and check prices every few days to see if they’re going down. Now is a good time to start looking for deals in July or August because it gives you time to plan – booking at the last minute can be pricey.
Think outside traditional hotels
With room share services, Air BnB and people buying condos for investment properties there’s no need to pay a hefty hotel bill. If you can’t find a good deal on a hotel price that fits into your budget then start looking for alterative accommodations.
If you want to be really adventurous pack up the car and go camping for your summer vacation. If the outdoors are your cup of tea there’s no time like the summer to pitch a tent, enjoy some fresh air and take a long hike in the sunshine.
Travel during down times
Leaving on Saturday and coming back on Saturday may not be the best laid plans. Traveling on popular days causes prices to go up. When researching your summer travel plans play around with the dates or choose flexible dates and let the hotel or airline show you the best offer. Sometimes leaving on a Sunday or Monday can help save big bucks on the cost of your accommodations and travel.
Set a food budget and try to cook
Experiencing local cuisine is part of the fun of traveling, but the costs of eating out three meals a day can quickly add up. The odds are you don’t eat out for three meals a day at home, so why do it while on vacation. Food is part of our everyday lives, but the less you spend on food the more you can spend on other things such as excursions and shopping.
When booking your you have a kitchen available cooking at least one meal a day can help save money. Splurge on lunch because generally the prices are cheaper than dinner menus.
Take public transportation
Taxi cabs can be expensive and I’m still not 100% sure that Uber is a safe method of transportation if you are traveling alone. Although travelling by car is much more efficient and a lot faster, taking public transportation is always an option.
Travelling by bus, subway, rented bike or even walking lets you explore your surroundings and even discover new places to eat, see, visit and shop. A $3 subway ride beats a $15 cab ride every single time and you won’t be stuck in traffic. If you’re really short on cash, you could always take a long hike in the sunshine.
Get the best price on your rental car
The Huffington Post says that you can save money on your rental car by getting a free upgrade. “Book the cheapest rental car you can live with and arrive early in the day, before most customers have returned their cars. Result? The agency may not have any cheap cars to give you, and they are obligated to give you a bigger model at no extra charge. If they try to sell you an upgrade, say no. If it turns out they haven’t run out of cheap cars, politely ask for a free upgrade.”
Where are you planning your summer vacation this year?