Vacations are stressful, it’s an unfortunate fact of life. From booking your vacation to choosing a place to stay all the way to actually getting to your destination, it’s a complex road of confirmation numbers, planning, and unfortunately, costs. Traveling is expensive, but it doesn’t have to be. Here’s five ways to make your vacation that much cheaper so you can get the most out of your family time without breaking the bank.
1. Book a home instead of a hotel.
Hotels are expensive, everyone knows it. That’s where VRBO.com comes in. VRBO “(Vacation Rentals By Owner) is a website that allows homeowners to rent their houses or condos directly to you. VRBO has hundreds of thousands of homes all over the world in places like the Dominican Republic, Myrtle Beach, Jackson Hole, even in nearby Lake of The Ozarks. They’ve got 4-person condos in the Lake of the Ozarks for as low as $50/night!
However, they have houses and condos of all sizes ranging from 1 bedroom all the way up to 10+ bedrooms, almost all reasonably priced. You can even talk to the home-owner when you book your vacation and see if they’ll give you a reduced price. Though you won’t have the staff of a hotel, you’ll be staying in a fully furnished home or condo for much cheaper and usually in great locations.
2. Enable private browsing to purchase plane tickets.
With vacation season comes higher airfare, it’s inevitable. But what if you’re paying an even higher airfare than you really have to? It could be because you’ve looked at their website multiple times.
Airlines often will increase their ticket prices when their site recognizes that you’ve looked at the tickets before. This way, you panic and buy the ticket at that price to avoid the price jumping again. If you shop in “private browsing” or “incognito” mode the website can’t access you history and won’t show you an increased price, (at least not for that reason!)
3. Be flexible and realistic.
Be realistic with your travel expectations. Are you going to be able to go on a Disney vacation for $200 in the middle of August? Probably not. Could you go to Nashville for a couple days in June? Definitely yes. The trick is to do your research and find what works best for you and your budget, and then find the corresponding times and locations for hotels and flights.
When you’re looking for flights or hotels, look and see who has great deals and adjust your vacation from there. Find fun things to do in the area or somewhere you can relax. Don’t limit yourself to only grand destinations when a great vacation is just a couple hours away!
4. Don’t limit yourself to only major airlines.
What if you could take a vacation to a beach, not have to drive, and still spend less than $100? That’s where Allegiant comes in. Allegiant is undoubtedly one of the best kept secrets the Midwest has to offer. Allegiant is an airline with airports locally in Belleville, Springfield, and Peoria, to name a few.
They fly all over the United States, including Tampa, Orlando, even Las Vegas! Best part? They’re cheap. You can get a flight from Indianapolis to Florida for $70! Even better part? Parking is free at many of their airports and baggage fees are only $15-$45, and that includes both ways. You can even bundle hotels, flights and more on their website to save even more money!
5. Ditch the travel agent.
Travel agents are great, yes, but they’re costly and frankly, unnecessary. Booking a vacation is as easy as 123 in today’s day and age. There’s tons of websites out there that will compare rates for you and show you the cheapest price for what you want. It’s as easy as inputting your destination and dates, choosing what you want, and checking out.
Kayak.com is a really great website for flights, while Hotels.com is excellent for lodging. If you’re worried about finding things to do in the area, check out TripAdvisor.com. It’s all review based so people just like you give their opinions and you’ll know exactly what to expect! With all of these resources (and more) it’s silly to pay someone else to do exactly what you could in a matter of minutes.
BONUS TIP- If you’re a student check out StudentUniverse.com for incredibly cheap flights! They work with a network of global partners to bring their members amazing travel deals. They have international round-trip flights for as low as $500 dollars.