Travel Tips For Planning Your Dream Vacation on a Budget

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According to recent MMGY Travel intelligence research, there is a 16% drop in the number of U.S. adults who plan to take a vacation this year. A researcher with the agency, Chris Davidson, pins this “softness” on “concerns over personal finances and the affordability of travel,” especially for low-income people.

Amid the encouraging numbers of those still willing to embark on their vacation, as shown by the research, the issue of affordability is set to deprive many fun-seekers of the pastime they so desire. As one who may be affected by this conundrum, here are ways to make your trip without breaking the bank.

Plan Ahead

Give yourself plenty of time to plan. Twelve months is more than enough. Most airlines and hotels have their schedule open for that period and offer affordable pricing options for early birds.

Md. Ziaul Haque, Assistant Professor of English Language and Literature at the University of Creative Technology, Chattogram, suggests flexibility with travel dates, like traveling during off-seasons and “seeking deals and discounts like travel rewards programs” to earn points and miles for future trips as part of planning ahead.

Cheap Accommodation

Thinking outside the ‘hotel' box when deciding your accommodation also reduces the overall cost of your trip. Consider hostels, homestays, and camping. These generally offer cheaper rates and access to a kitchen for cooking your meals, allowing you to spend less on dining out.

With these alternatives, Christian, a lead representative for TheRoutePlanner, says, “…travelers can save anywhere from 20-50% on lodging costs compared to standard hotels.”

Insider Knowledge

Getting familiar with locals or native residents of a travel destination can prove to be invaluable. Their referral of local stores where local dishes are sold without the price tag or unwanted portions minimizes cost and offers the pleasure of acquainting visitors with the “locations' identity.”

Louisa Loring, founder of Eating Around Italy, says: “Produce, local products, and even pre-prepared foods, for those not able to cook while traveling are usually much more affordable as you are likely buying directly from the source.”

Local Transportation

Minimizing overall transport costs includes the daily cost of transportation during vacation. Public transportation systems or other indigenous means of transport could drastically reduce transport overhead. Consider walking or cycling if the distance is relatively short, which has the dual benefit of environmental friendliness and routine exercise.

Where possible, taxis or ride-sharing apps are a no-no, noted Lachlan Brown, founder of Hack Spirit.

Free Local Events

It is also essential to seek out free activities in the vacation destination. Free walking tours give insight into the city's history and culture.

Certain museums have free admission days or particular hours of the day when there is a waiver on their entrance fee.

Other options include public squares and game reserves that offer access for free or at a reduced rate to outdoor activities such as picnicking, hiking, and biking. There are also local festivals with musical concerts and other entertainment at little or no cost. Md. Ziaul says these “can stretch your budget further without sacrificing memorable experiences that make travel so rewarding.”

No Extra Baggage

Sticking to just the essentials can be complex but critical to increasing the margins on the travel budget. More items mean heavier luggage which means additional luggage fees at the airport. Make a list of the items you may require for the trip. Then knock off the not-so-important items.

Choose clothing combinations that can be used for several purposes and mixed to create varying outfits. Invest in feather-weight and close-packed accessories such as compression bags, toiletry bags, and packing cubes. Beyond the reduced cost of maximizing space, packing light and smart also saves time navigating airports.

“Unpaved Travels”

Another consideration to reduce costs will be to visit smaller towns instead of large cities. These could provide a historical background of your destination and allow you to interact with friendly locals, adding to the memorable experience of the vacation at a minimal cost. Tiffany MacGee, Founder of Nomadrs, suggests cheap destinations, “known to be affordable such as Southeast Asia or Central America.”

A trip to Thailand could stretch your budget even further than a trip to Canada would.

After taking trips to over 50 destinations, Louis of Loudigital suggests, “saving money in foreign transaction fees and earning rewards for spending” by using cash-back credit cards or prepaid travel cards. Use refillable water bottles, take advantage of last-minute deals, and be flexible to changing plans are a few ways that ultimately reduce the net cost stretching your money further on a vacation trip.

Just because your vacation is affordable, that doesn't mean it will be unpleasant. Vacation trips can still be made on lean budgets without worrying about savings. If the desire for fun-seeking still burns, get out the checkbook and checklist. Begin the plans. Summer is coming. Bon Voyage!

This article was produced and syndicated by Wealth of Geeks.