Going on a vacation is always something to look forward to, but vacations can cost a lot of money. Luckily, there are inexpensive ways to vacation that really help cut vacation costs while still being very enjoyable. Check out these inexpensive ways to vacation so you can get some ideas on how to save money, which you can then use for your next excursion!
1. Go with a Group
When seeking inexpensive ways to vacation, your first inclination should always be to get a group together for the trip. Take the least amount of vehicles possible and split all fuel costs among respective vehicle members. Just like that, your cost of travel has been cut tremendously. Also, split on lodging. If you are staying at a hotel, get a room with two queen beds and a roll away bed. That makes five people splitting on one hotel room. Continuing in this cost-splitting strategy, you can save significantly on your vacation. Even going on a group grocery trip for drinks and snacks that everyone can share during the vacation will save you money. Remember, the more the merrier!
2. Couch Surf
Of all of the inexpensive ways to vacation, this is the most risky. Do not let that daunt you, though, because people couch surf all the time. There are apps you can put on your phone in which you create a profile and request to crash on someone’s couch. They have to approve of you, too, and can refuse you for any reason. If you think about it, you both do need to be cautious. But couch surfing is FREE. You can go anywhere and stay without paying for your stay! And think of the bonus experience of couch surfing while on your vacation. That sounds like a winning combination.
I, along with my boyfriend, will be the top advocates for camping on vacation. We do it nearly everywhere we go, and we go to some major cities. The furthest away from our destination we have had to camp is 45 minutes, which is pretty reasonable considering the money saved. Tent sites typically range from $10-$35 a night, and they are everywhere in the US. State and national parks offer camping sites, and there are a lot of independently owned ones too. They usually all have bath houses, which include warm showers, and a lot of them have cool activities and trails to check out as a bonus.
Camping also saves you food money, as you can cook over the fire and only need to get groceries. While it does take some prep to make sure you have everything you will need, camping while travelling adds to the adventure and lets you enjoy a little bit of nature’s serenity, no matter where you are visiting.
4. Stick to a Budget
It can be easy to spend frivolously on vacation. After all, you are ON VACATION. However, this haphazard spending can have you facing a hefty credit card bill when you get home. Instead of scratching your head wondering how you spent so much, create a budget before you go and stick to it. One of the best ways to manage money is to be consciously aware of how much you are spending.
By making a budget before your vacation, you are making yourself aware of how much you can spend on food and souvenirs and activities. If you do not stick to that budget, though, you will have that rude awakening when you get home. Try setting a daily budget that you can remember for each expense category you create, and log it at the end of each day. The money you do not spend will have you feeling good when you get home, allowing you to guiltlessly remember your trip, in terms of money, at least.
5. Take Food with You
You know you have a stockpile of food in your cabinet that you can either eat as is or microwave to cook. One of the solidly inexpensive ways to vacation is to pack food to take on your trip. If making dinner in your room microwave a night or two means saving you some serious cash, there is no shame in it. When considering all of the things you did do on vacation, eating food you brought along a few nights for dinner was no issue at all. Plus, gas station travel snacks add up, so those chips you snagged from you cupboard before leaving are a perfect vacation match.
6. Go in Off-Seasons
Every major vacation destination has an off-season. Of course, the in-season is popular for a reason, so think about if going at this time will affect your vacation in not so good ways before you commit to the off-season price cuts. Yes, hotels drastically cut their prices in off-seasons, which is why this inexpensive way to vacation is so great and so easy. If, for example, you wanted to go to a more Northern beach, their in-season is the summer. Booking a beach trip in the early fall, like at the end of September, will still likely give you warm waters and sunshine to soak up, but with much lower hotel rates.
7. Seek Free Activities
There are a lot of things to do everywhere, and some of those things to do are FREE. Some large cities like Washington, D.C. or St. Louis, MO, offer free access to many of their museums. Also, just strolling through the bustling streets or hiking across mountains are wonderful free activities you will remember. Ask the locals for suggestions and do some research of your own; there will be plenty of free things to entertain you.
8. Use Coupon Sites
Fantastic inexpensive ways to vacation are using coupon sites. You can download the apps to your phone and peruse what is available for wherever you are vacationing. Not only can you get great discounts this way, but you also can end up doing things you may not have found out about otherwise. The less popular attractions and activities will probably have the best discounts, so buckle up for an adventure to remember.
9. Be Willing to Walk
Just because your phone GPS says your next destination is five miles away, that does not mean that you cannot walk there. In bigger cities especially, parking can be expensive. Not to mention your gas will burn up if you are taking a half hour to drive five miles, then another half hour to go to the next point of interest, and so on. Park your car in a daily flat rate lot if you cannot find a free spot, and start exploring bipedally. Enjoy the time it takes to get from point A to point B; you are on vacation. Plus, you will probably see a lot more than if you were cooped up in your car half of the day.
10. Plan Well in Advance
I list this as one of the inexpensive ways to vacation because I am terrible at it, and have too often regretted not planning well in advance for vacations. Occasionally being get-up-and-go travelers, my boyfriend and I sometimes find ourselves booking camp sites or hotels while we are going towards them. Places can be full and rates can be high, but somehow we usually end up pulling through with good deals, though we have also had our share of nightmares. Do not do what we do if you want to have a stress-free vacation.
Book your lodging in advance, as you will be guaranteed a spot and the prices will probably be better, depending on when it is you plan to travel. If you are travelling during a holiday, definitely book in advance. Even booking activities in advance can save you money and stress. If you feel up to it, draft a rough itinerary for your trip, as this will ensure your days are packed with as much as they can be and you get the most out of your vacation. An itinerary can also incorporate your budget plans, helping your money saving endeavors even more.