Getting the most value with your vacation budget: how to plan a cheap vacation

You’ve saved all year to fund your vacation. Naturally, you want to make that budget go as far as possible. However, when you plan a cheap vacation, that doesn’t have to mean you’re cutting out enjoyment for the sake of saving a few bucks. Just spend a few hours online, finding the best deals on places, activities and transportation. The excess becomes part of your shopping or dining fund, making your vacation that much more enjoyable. Here are some suggestions on how to plan a cheap vacation.

If you’re traveling by air, buying your tickets at least 3 weeks ahead automatically gives you a good price. However, if you search out travel websites which post the latest hot deals to destinations, keep tabs on these. If they offer a free e-newsletter, this is another way to hear about hot deals. You can save a bundle. Call a travel agent (a friend’s recommendation is good) and see what the best price is through them. Both websites and agents often know about both airfare and hotel deals that you won’t run across on your own. If your departure and return dates are flexible, you might find some great last minute deals on eBay or craigslist. In this case, make sure the tickets are transferable. Shop the big online air ticket brokers as well.

If you’re driving more than a few hundred miles, you may want to consider a rental if your vehicle is a gas guzzler. The rental may be a cheaper option.

When planning a cheap vacation by automobile, you’ll want to go online and check the websites that monitor gas prices across the U.S. and make a list of the cheapest stations along your route. Gas can be quite the budget gobbler! Save that money for vacation entertainment!

On a cross-country trip, consider booking with a reliable chain motel, with rooms that are equipped with a frig, coffee maker and microwave. Eating breakfast and dinner in your room a few days a week can save you enough for a few luxury dinners out. Some hotels are offering gas coupon and meal incentives when business is slow.

Convents and monasteries are another option when you plan a cheap vacation. They typically offer inexpensive, but charming, accommodations that are often comparable to hotels at twice the price. In Europe, you’ll find some dating back centuries.  Dinner is usually offered at a nominal additional price. You’ll sometimes get a best hotel rate by booking directly. For extended stays overseas, consider renting an apartment or home by the week or month. You’ll save lots of money, with the advantage of being able to prepare food and save even more for sightseeing or shopping.

When you want to plan a cheap vacation, don’t overlook the possibility of house sitting! While the chances aren’t great for finding a situation that fits your plans, if you should be able to, you’ve just slashed your expenses radically. It’s worth a shot.

For families with kids, summer camping trips can be one of the most fun and inexpensive. National and state park camping rates are reasonable, whereas resorts will charge more.

Remember, it can be easy and fun to get great rates on both transportation and nice accommodations. To plan a cheap vacation successfully, it just takes a bit of detective work and some of your time. You’ll be pleased with the results. see more

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