How to Save Money on a Vacation

Estimated read time: 3 minutes

Almost everyone loves to travel, but it can get very expensive when you add up everything from flights to eating out to finding a nice hotel. If you find yourself wanting to travel but thinking that you do not have the funds, you might want to trust that gut feeling and reconsider. On the other hand, by simply keeping just a couple of tips in mind, you can save big on your vacation. So have a look and see if a trip—at a big discount—is in order for you.

1. If Your Destination Is Not Set …

If you do not have a specific destination in mind, especially if you are considering traveling overseas, the world is your oyster. Consider looking into favorable exchange rates at the time and visiting a place that will be cheaper on your budget. Of course, you do not need to visit somewhere that is dangerous just because the exchange rates are better, but if you are deciding between a couple different European countries for example, you could opt for the one with the best exchange rate.

Additionally, being flexible when you travel means you might consider traveling during the low season. Every country and travel industry has times when it is least expensive to travel to those locations. For example, you can get great prices on a beach house in North Carolina in October rather than going in the summer, and I can promise you that the weather is still perfect in October. In fact, many would agree that it is actually better at that time of year! Similarly, for many places, the cheapest time to travel is in February. If you are willing to brave the cold in some locales, this could save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars.

Finally, if you find that you need to travel unexpectedly, you should check out last-minute deals on websites like Hotel Tonight and Last-Minute Travel. You can often find good deals as time gets closer because places want to make sure everything is sold.

2. If Your Destination Is Set…

If you already have your destination set, you should consider traveling on major holidays, as flights in particular can be substantially cheaper. I have found that traveling on Thanksgiving, for example, is a great way to cut down on the extremely expensive prices for tickets. You could save several hundred dollars just by choosing to fly on a holiday. Plus, you will have the added benefit of fewer people in the airport.

3. Tips That Apply Either Way

Some convenient travel tips, however, apply either way. For example, you can save money booking directly with a hotel because they will not have to pay the fees associated with having the hotel advertised on an online booking site. Similarly, you might consider joining a travel loyalty program. My parents have received free stays at hotels through travel and hotel loyalty programs.

Additionally, you might consider using a travel rewards card when you book. You'll earn more points on travel-related expenses, meaning that you'll also earn more in cash back. Plus, if you do not already use a travel rewards card, you likely can receive a fairly substantial signup bonus.

The Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card from American Express
6X points Marriott & SPG hotels
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Welcome Offer
Recommended Credit:
Excellent and Good Credit
  • Receive 6X points on eligible purchases at participating Marriott Rewards® and SPG hotels.
  • Receive 2X points on every other eligible purchase.
  • 1 Free Night Away after your card anniversary each year.
  • Receive free nights at 6,500+ SPG® and Marriott Rewards®  hotels. 

Finally, if you choose to fly midweek, dine out for lunch rather than dinner, and look out for discounts, you can cut expenses here and there and really trim down the budget for your trip.

There are many ways to save money on your vacation whether you have a destination picked yet or not. Just by being aware, you can cut down your travel budget by hundreds of dollars and make vacation that much more affordable.