Frugal Ways to Save on Vacation

Vacations can be expensive, often involving plane fare, hotels and lots of restaurant meals. What’s even worse is returning from a trip and having vacation regret because you overspent when the whole point of vacation is to de-stress. Here are 10 ways to make your next getaway more affordable (and relaxing), whether you’re headed far out of town or staying close.

Travel during slow periods

Avoiding the most popular times for your destination can drastically reduce your costs. If you’re going to the beach, for example, try to go in the late summer or early fall.

Look for coupons

Coupons aren’t just for grocery stores. You can often find deals on vacation activities, like snorkeling, if you search before your trip. If you’re a member of a group like AAA, you might also be eligible for discounts. Just remember to ask ahead of time and have your membership card number ready.

Leverage social media

Jump on Twitter and follow travel deal sites and airlines. They often tweet information about regular and flash sales, which sometimes only last a few hours.

Ask for a better price

Contact the front desk of your hotel before your trip to ask if they can either offer you a lower price or upgrade your room for the same price. If you’re using a site like VRBO or Airbnb, you can try negotiating directly with the owner. As long as you’re polite, there’s no downside to asking.

Pack your own toiletries

A few weeks before you leave, look for sales on your travel staples. That way, you’ll avoid the expense of last-minute purchases in unfamiliar stores on the road that are typically more expensive.

Bring snacks

This tip is a SmartPath team favorite and is especially important if you’re traveling with children, friends, or family who get cranky when their blood sugar is low. If you’re traveling to a touristy location like Disney World, bringing your own snacks can also help avoid costly coffee shop visits between meals.

Travel lightly

Most airlines now charge for checking suitcases, so consolidating clothes and other items into one bag can help reduce costs. If you have young children and are bringing their car seats, traveling with just one suitcase will also make it easier when navigating the airport.

Take a road trip

Skipping flights altogether and reaching your destination by car is a great approach, especially for large families that would require multiple plane tickets. Get your car serviced in advance to make sure it guzzles gas as efficiently as possible.

Take a day trip

This one is a personal favorite for my husband and myself. A getaway doesn’t have to be overnight. With a little research you may find nearby