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10 Tips for Vacationing on a Budget

Ah, vacation. It’s a time to wind down and reward yourself for all your hard work. But as you know, and even might fear, a vacation can be quite pricey. Avoid putting yourself into a financial bind by following these tips:

1. Avoid peak season.
It’s no secret that as summer or holidays approach, travel costs, such as airfare and hotel lodging often go up in price. Consider taking your trip during an off-season month, such as September or October, as opposed to summer or the peak holiday months. The prices associated with your vacation may be considerably less, and better yet, your destination might be less crowded.

2. Consider alternative lodging locations.
If your vacation takes you to a large city, it could be more cost effective to stay outside the city limits. The hotel rates, in some cases, can be much lower. Consider smaller hotel chains or bed and breakfast accommodations with fewer amenities.

3. Try public transportation.
One of the best ways to get the local flavor of your vacation spot is to take public transportation. Whether you go by bus, subway or train, you’re not burdened with car rental, gasoline or parking costs. Plus, you get to see more of the sights because you’re not behind the wheel, driving.

4. Avoid the trendy eateries.
Food can eat up a large portion of your vacation budget. Avoid the cost of high-priced meals by seeking out and going to lesser-known restaurants. Read up on local spots and plan ahead to make reservations at restaurants that are well within your budget.

5. Watch the currency.
When planning a trip abroad, look into the currency exchange rate of the country you will be visiting as compared to American dollars. Try to plan your trip when the dollar is trending strong. This will give you more bang for your buck with hotel accommodations, food and local events.

6. Limit the souvenirs.
It’s nice to have a reminder of your travels, whether in the form of a t-shirt or baseball cap. Just be mindful of places in your destination where these items can cost far more than their usual amount.

7. Seek out friendly advice.
Do you have a relative or friend who’s been to where you’re vacationing? If so, ask for some advice, such as are there any inexpensive accommodations or restaurants that are within your travel budget?

8. Save up.
Instead of full cylinders when summer starts, think about planning months in advance. Open a Vacation Savings Account and start saving every paycheck for your future trip. Not only do you accrue interest on your money, but you don’t have to worry about where your funds where come from when your destination getaway begins!

9. Take a road trip.
If you do stay close to home, an entertaining and cost-effective vacation could simply entail getting in your car. You’ll be able to travel at your own pace without the hassle of hurrying to airports or connecting flights. Just remember to be mindful of the fluctuating price of fuel as that could affect your travel budget.

10. Consider a staycation.
How well do you know your own state, or even your own city? A cost-effective and fun vacation idea could simply be a trip around your own city. With all the money you save by not taking a flight or renting a car, you could stay in a fancy hotel with all the amenities and pampering imaginable—just a few miles from your own home.

Vacations are a great way to recharge. This year, don’t stress yourself by going over your vacation budget. Your days off are better spent relaxing and giving yourself time to recharge.

How do you save money on your vacation plans? Tell us in the comments.

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