If you're like most folks who like to travel, you probably also need to travel on a budget. Traveling on a budget isn't impossible, but it does take some planning ahead and a little research to avoid wasting time.and hard-earned dollars!
Real travel bargains do exist. Contact an airline reservation agent or travel agent to determine the lowest possible fare. You can lower the cost of the airline ticket considerably by including a Saturday-night stay-over. Check with your travel agent about the many package deals available. Here are some other helpful hints to consider before you travel.
- If you have a particular destination in mind, research the attractions and accommodations beforehand. Also, find out what specials or discounts they may offer.
- If possible, plan your stay for the off-season. You can usually get better deals on plane tickets, hotels, admissions, etc.
- If you have friends or relatives nearby, consider asking if you can stay with them. Even though you'll help pay for groceries and other expenses, it's still a good money saving idea.
- If you are flying, do so when tickets prices are traditionally lowest. Avoid flying on Friday afternoons as this is often the busiest time of the week for airlines.
- Meals can be expensive at restaurants so plan some picnics, too. These can be excellent money saving opportunities as well as a chance to really relax and enjoy the local area.
- When eating out, try to avoid places that obviously cater to tourists. Find out where the locals eat. The smaller family-owned places usually have better food at better prices.
- Stay at a hotel that's a little farther away from major attractions. With a little planning you can find a good balance between price and distance.
- When picking hotels, compare the amenities they offer. If you're not going to be using the indoor pool or gym, then why should you have to pay for it?
- When traveling by car, save fuel by renting a smaller fuel-efficient model.
- Have your car serviced before your trip. Check tires; get an oil change and/or tune-up. It's much more convenient to deal with these things before you go rather than in the middle of your trip.
- Consider using the local transportation system of buses, trains or trolleys. These are generally cheaper than using taxis.
- Consider taking a camping trip. Camping is a great money-saving vacation idea.
- Avoid over-priced souvenirs. Set some rules ahead of time about how much you will spend on mementos and stick to it.
- Plan and pack carefully. It's wise to make a list of travel wants and needs. Remember, it is very expensive to buy your necessities at vacation stores.
- Be sure you can afford to pay for your trip out of future income -- before you borrow to go on vacation.
- Remember, the cheapest seat on a train or airplane will get you there at the same time as the most expensive seat.
Tips for Planning a Vacation with Kids
- Don't pack the day full of activities.
- Younger children especially need opportunities to rest and recoup. Remember, a rested child = a less cranky child.
- As children tend to have shorter attention spans, don't plan activities which are exceptionally long.
- Ensure that the places you are visiting welcome kids, as some attractions and activities have age limitations, height requirements, etc.
- If you are visiting attractions such as museums, consider whether or not your child will be able to understand the materials presented.
- Always be flexible during your journey, as children are likely to have different demands at different places.