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How to Plan an Affordable Vacation


You don’t need to deny yourself a vacation to be financially responsible. You also don’t need to destroy your budget to go on vacation. There is a happy medium. With a few adjustments, it’s possible to plan an affordable vacation.

1. Go During Off Times
Many hotels raise their rates over the weekend, which means you’re better off booking a stay during the week. Watch out, though! In some cases, the rates may be higher on certain weekdays, especially if the hotel caters to business travelers. Rates may also increase around holidays or local events or during the most popular season for travel to the area.

Compare prices on different nights to find the best deal.

2. Save on Airfare
The cost of airline tickets also varies. If you don’t mind traveling during less popular times – in the early, early morning, for example – you might be able to save some cash. Compare prices for different days and times to get the best deal.

Also compare airlines, and don’t just look at the base cost when you do so. Fees for things like luggage can add up. If you have to pay extra for luggage, make a point of traveling light.

3. Choose Your Destination Wisely
Where you go makes a big difference in how much you’ll pay.

For ideas on less expensive vacation destinations, check out this Forbes article on the 33 cheapest places to travel or this U.S. News article on the most affordable travel destination in the U.S.

4. Shop Around
When purchasing airlines tickets and booking hotels, it pays to shop around. You can use sites like Kayak to compare prices and get alerts when deals pop up.

5. Use Your Rewards
If you have a credit card that offers airline perks, now is the time to take advantage of them. In addition to saving money, you could also get a nice upgrade.

If you’re looking for a new card with air miles, check out NerdWallet’s list of the best airline credit cards of 2018.

6. Eat Where the Locals Eat
Restaurants that are known for attracting tourists are often expensive and may not even serve food that’s worth the price. If you want good food that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg, go where the locals go.

Finding the best restaurants in an area is as simple as asking people — a taxi driver or the front desk clerk at the hotel, for example. Make it clear that you’re looking for good, affordable food, not the normal tourist trap.

7. Use Coupons
Check your hotel for coupons to local restaurants and activities. You can also go online to find coupons, either at the company’s website or using a service like Groupon.

8. Consider Insurance
Although insurance adds some cost to your vacation plans, it will protect you against bigger costs if anything goes wrong. Different policies can cover everything from lost luggage to medical expenses.

Learn more about travel insurance.