If given a chance, almost anyone would love to travel to different parts of the world to see all that it has to offer. The United Nations World Tourism Organization estimates that 1.4 billion people travel each year internationally. Have you found yourself dreaming of a luxury vacation but are unsure how you could ever afford it? Read on to learn about finding affordable travel options to help make your dreams come true.
Prioritizing Travel Needs
While you may believe you need to go "all-out" on vacation plans to have a dream vacation, you can prioritize what you need and do not need on vacation — just as you would in your day-to-day life. For example, you might prioritize your dream home over a brand new luxury vehicle or vice versa. Prioritizing your needs can be brought into vacation planning as well.
Prioritizing your travel needs includes considering:
- Where you will stay.
- How you will get there.
- When you will go.
- What you will do when you're there.
All of which can help you save money, depending on your choices.
For instance, perhaps you are interested in going to Florida. However, suppose you attempt to go during Spring Break or the snowbird season. In that case, you will likely pay a whole lot more, particularly for your accommodations, than you would in the summer or off-seasons.
The same goes for your expenditures for activities and experiences. For example, group or excursions purchased from tour groups can be pricey, so perhaps you can conduct self-guided tours for a fraction of the price.
Research Airfare Options
You can save money on airfare in several ways, ranging from flying budget airlines to departing on less busy days. Taking time to research the cheapest flights could save you hundreds, leaving you more money to spend at your destination rather than just getting there.
- Smaller airports and budget airlines. Many people fly with the larger airlines and depart from large airports because they feel they are getting the best experience. Don't hesitate to fly out of a smaller airport that offers budget-friendly flights and airlines. They still have certified pilots, just like the larger airlines. Sites like Travelocity and Priceline, as well as many other popular sites, have created a system to compare hundreds of flights at once to give you the best deal possible.
- One-way flights. Another thing to look into to save money on airfare is to look into one-way flights. While you might think you are getting a great deal on your roundtrip flight that costs $500, you could get a better deal by purchasing two one-way flights. Many airlines offer great deals on one-way flights to large and small airports worldwide.
- Avoid flying on weekends. Look into the days you are flying. Often, flying on a Tuesday or Wednesday comes with lower airfares.
Suppose you have a $1,000 vacation budget but spend $500 on getting to your destination. In that case, you will have much less to spend on accommodations, dining, and other activities and experiences.
Determining Your Stay
Accommodation costs are often a large part of a vacation expense, if not the largest. But, saving money can start with where you stay at your destination.
- Look into vacation rentals versus hotels. For instance, you don't necessarily need to stay in the penthouse suite of a 5-star hotel everywhere you go. After all, many people are only there to sleep. If you remain in a less expensive hotel, you might be able to spend more money on dining and excursions. Many people choose to stay in an Airbnb or VRBO where they have a full kitchen and can cook most of their meals.
- Stay with family or friends. Maybe you are traveling to an area where you have family who lives close? Ask them if you can stay with them during your travel dates to save a bit of money to spend on fun things to do.
- Choose to stay in a nearby city to your desired destination. You want to travel to Europe. You have hoped to stay in London or Rome - but what if you stay in a smaller, less popular town that is close enough to your desired town? You will likely find less costly accommodations that are still close to the touristy areas you want to see.
Traveling is a joyous time for many people — getting to try new activities, seeing sights worldwide, and experiencing new cultures. But, trying new things and seeing new places does not have to break the bank — traveling on a budget is possible. Remember to spend extra time searching for the cheapest flight, even if it is out of a smaller, less-trafficked airport, so you have more money to do things once you get to your destination. Why spend hundreds on getting there when you do not have to?
With a bit of flexibility in travel dates and a little bit of planning, you can experience the vacation of a lifetime. The experience is the ultimate reward, not how you get there or where you stay. So, while you want to travel safely, do not put too much emphasis on how much you have to spend to reach your destination.