You are sipping a pina colada on a beautiful white sand beach as you watch the cerulean waves lapping the coast. You might be pulling your muscles and riding adrenaline as you climb Mount Greylock, Massachusetts. Or maybe you’re visiting a charming shop in a European city full of exotic culture and cuisine.
Everyone has a dream vacation. For those with limited funds, however, the vision never has a chance to come true.
We’re here to help you change all of that. Here are six ways to make your dream vacation come true.
1. Right time
Choosing the perfect date for your vacation can save you hundreds, possibly thousands, of dollars. Consider planning your trip immediately after the high season ends. You will still enjoy the good weather, but airfare and accommodation costs will drop significantly. It will also probably be easier for you to disconnect from work when the rest of the team has already returned from vacation.
Whenever you choose to go, pay attention to the flight booking time. Experts recommend booking your flight 54 days before your departure date to get the best prices. Also, remember to clear your cache before searching for flights; Searching airline prices with a complete flight search history can increase your prices by up to 50%!
2. Get the most out of your dollar
The world has no shortage of glorious beaches. Often, the only notable difference between two beach resorts is the price you will pay for a visit. When looking for vacation destinations, check the local exchange rates. Choose a place that allows your dollar to go farther and you’ll have more to spend for the same amount of money!
3. Let your loyalty pay off
Do not book a flight, hotel stay or car rental without first checking your credit card points. You may have enough miles to pay for a big chunk of your trip.
Likewise, don’t forget to cash out your loyalty to your grocery store. Many supermarkets are affiliated with gas stations and offer savings of up to $ 0.40 / gallon. If you pump 20 gallons a week, you’ll save $ 400 this way over the course of the year. Put that money aside and you’ll be well on your way to financing the entire vacation.
Finally, when booking hotel stays, do a quick research to determine if they offer a loyalty program for repeat customers. You may get a hefty discount just for using the same hotel chain twice!
4. Research, research, research
Don’t make vacation decisions without doing some research first.
If you’ve found a resort you love, check their online presence to see if they offer airline discounts or credits. Google for nearby attractions that don’t cost much before planning your itinerary. See if you can find a local who is willing to exchange homes with you while on vacation. Check Groupon for instant discounts on area attractions and restaurants.
A few minutes of research before the holidays can save you hundreds of dollars before starting your journey.
5. Start saving
Between airfare, accommodation, food and attractions, the vacation of the century will cost you a hefty bucks. You can save money by planning your budget carefully and choosing the cheapest option where possible, but you will still need money to make it through.
Give your vacation a boost by planning it all year round.
Here are some ways to do it:
- Make a “travel jar”. Keep an empty glass jar in a highly visible place in your home and clearly label it. Whenever you have loose change in your pocket, throw it in the jar. Use the money you have saved to finance a portion of your vacation, such as your souvenir shopping or car rental.
- Brown bag. According to Forbes, the average American buys lunch twice a week, at $ 10 per meal. If you can get into the habit of packing your lunch just one extra day a week and earmarking the $ 10 you save for your vacation, you’ll have nearly $ 500 by the end of the year. This can go quite far on vacation!
- Open a vacation club account. Here at Azura Credit Union, our goal is to make dreams come true, and this also applies to holiday dreams! Call, click, or stop by today to find out how to painlessly save for the holidays.
6. Live in the moment
It might seem redundant, but don’t forget to enjoy your vacation! Leave everyday pressure and tension at home and relax completely. If something doesn’t go according to plan – and there is always that something – let it flow. This is your time to kick back and relax; don’t let anything ruin it.
It is also important to unplug. Leave your laptop at home, stop taking pictures, take out your earphones and enjoy the moment. Feel the breeze on your skin, soak up the sun and breathe in the culture that swirls around you. Let go of the compulsive urge to capture every moment on camera and take the time to simply be.
You worked hard to make this happen – you deserve to enjoy every part!
Your turn: How to save a lot on vacation without compromising the fun factor or your comfort? Share your best tips and tricks with us in the comments!