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How to Take a Vacation on a Budget

There has never been a better time to save money on your vacation than right now.  The economy has put the squeeze on household spending and has forced most companies in the travel industry to offer significant savings on rental cars, flights, hotels, and travel packages.  It is not difficult to save a bundle on your next trip by following these simple steps:

1.      Travel off season:  Obviously, taking a trip to Disney World at Easter will be more expensive than going in September when the kids are back in school.  Find out what are the peak and off seasons for the destination you are trying to vacation at and travel as close to the off season as possible to get your best deals.

2.     Bring a group:  Often, planning a trip to some far off exotic place can be cheap or even free for you if you bring a group.  Many companies will give you the 10th trip for free if you book 9.  So, call your friends, plan a group trip, and save.

3.     Eat big meals at lunch:  Make lunch your large meal and have a snack for dinner; this can save you hundreds of dollars over your entire trip, as most restaurants offer a much less expensive lunch menu. 

4.     Register with airlines and travel companies:  Getting on the email list of most airline and travel companies will provide you access to all of their discounts and coupons.  These discounts and coupons will offer you some of the best deals around on travel.

5.     Pack Light:  Most airlines are now charging you to check your baggage.  These fees can be as high as $50 per bag.  Check the airlines baggage policy in advance and make sure that you are considering these fees not only when you book your flight, but when you pack for your trip.  Often, a carry-on bag is sufficient.

6.     Book your trip either very far in advance or at the very last minute:  For the planning personality, book your trip 6 months or more in advance to get a very good rate on your travel and still have 100% control over location, times, days, etc.  However, if you really want the best travel deals and are willing to be flexible, book your trip at the last minute.  Most travel companies will practically give away trips in order to fill seats and rooms.  However, you will need to be a little adventurous and keep an open mind as your choices will be limited when you book last minute.

7.     Most importantly, work with a reputable travel agent:  Although the deals online can be good at times, studies have shown that a travel agent can offer or even beat those same deals.  In addition, you get expert knowledge on travel, booking, and perhaps even the airline or hotel you may be experiencing.  This knowledge can be invaluable to you.  There is also an expert ready to answer any questions or help you if you have a problem.  More information, better service, at a cheaper price.  Now that’s what I call value!

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