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10 Ways to Have a Cheap Vacation

No matter where you plan to vacation, there are multiple ways to have a cheap vacation. However, it will take a little planning in most cases, and a some sacrifice in others.

Flexible Travel

One important tip to remember is that airline fares can vary depending on which day of the week you travel.  If you do choose to travel by plane, book your flight in advance to obtain cheaper fares.  Use an online service or talk to your travel agent and be prepared to flex your departure and arrival dates to get the best rates for lodging costs as well.

Lodging Costs

If you have friends or family in the area where you are vacationing, consider staying with them to save on hotel costs.  Take advantage of online discount services like Priceline.com to ensure you get the lowest hotel rate possible.  Staying in a two or three star hotel and doing without all those “free” services like breakfast may save you $40 or more per night.

Food on a Budget

Stay at a less expensive hotel that does not provide breakfast and stock up on breakfast items like cereal, granola bars and pop tarts, and then buy milk and orange juice at a nearby store once you arrive.  Save even more on food by packing a cooler with lunch and reusable water bottles to avoid overpaying at attractions and only pay to eat out for dinner.

Coupons and Discounts

It’s important to know what attractions are in your vacation destination area and to find packages that offer admission tickets for several local attractions for one discounted rate.  When planning your trip, take advantage of off season rates and search the Internet for printable coupons that can save you even more on things like lodging costs and dining out.

Share Expenses

Many couples and families team up with others to share vacation expenses.  This could consist of splitting the cost of renting a vacation house for a period of time or even swapping houses with another individual or family.  Consider sharing the same vacation spot with close friends and split the costs of gas, lodging and food expenses to save money.

Rewards Clubs

Some hotels and airlines offer redeemable frequent flyer miles or loyalty rewards points if you use their card for purchases and services throughout the year. If you currently receive cash back for purchases on a Discover or Visa card, make a commitment to use your card for daily purchases and then use the cash back towards your vacation costs.

Choose Destinations with Cheap Currencies

Choose a destination country with a cheaper currency such as Argentina or Hungary which will help you stretch your money.  Consider going off the beaten path a little for your vacation to such places as Cambodia or Vietnam where lodging can be less than $5 per night which makes it easy to see the sights for around $30-$40 dollars per day.

Create a Daily Budget

Create a daily budget for your vacation based on the total amount you have to spend on a vacation.  If you splurge one day to visit an unexpected attraction, plan to spend a day at the beach relaxing the next to balance things out.  When traveling with kids of any age, consider taking along some card games or board games to play as a family during down time.

Sign up for Alerts

Once you identify the vacation destination that you want to visit, notify your travel agent to alert you of any deals or packages that become available.  Another great way to find up to the minute vacation packages and deals is to sign up online with your favorite hotel, special attraction or travel sites so that you are alerted to upcoming deals as they become available.

Rough It

Anyone who has been on vacation knows that in most cases you return to the hotel only to sleep off the exhaustion from a full day of seeing the sites.  One way to stretch your budget is to choose a resort that has camping facilities or cabins available at a fraction of the cost of hotel prices.  In most cases people are too tired to miss the luxury of a hotel bed anyhow, but can still access typical hotel conveniences such as shuttles to attractions and concierge services.

Regardless of your vacation destination, take advantage of the Internet and work with your local travel agent or AAA office to make sure you know about and can take advantage of everything available so you can have a cheap vacation that will create priceless memories.

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