Beautiful Views Lifestyle

Budget-Friendly Vacation Tips

Spring/Summer definitely bring a lot of excitement and opportunities for those of us who work in the education field.  I’m talking about vacation time, YEA!

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I definitely have champagne taste when it comes to vacationing but who wants to break the bank in the process.  My husband and I pride ourselves on being able to plan high quality vacations, while maintaining a sensible budget, within the means of our financial income and goals.  Here are some of my favorite resources and tips for planning your own budget friendly vacation.

  1. Groupon.com is a great resource for travel deals and more.  Besides being a great source for discounted products, local events, venues, and other goodies, Groupon has a variety of deals that making planning a vacation a breeze.  Their offers vary in categories and interest and they have a host of deals for traveling throughout the U.S. and other countries.  Tip:  Be sure to read the “Policies & Fees” to ensure that you include those fees in your overall budget.  Even with the extra fees, the prices offer affordability, depending on your budget goals.  Con:  You must have cash on hand, money is due in full.  If you save in advance of planning, you will be able to catch a great deal.
  2. B&B’s are the new normal!  Bed & breakfast bookings are making a strong come back, through the power of internet and social media.  I would also include condos, houses, luxury cabins, & suites in this category as well.  As leisure traveling continues to grow, their has been an increase in the B&B industry, thanks to booking services like Airbnb & Homeaway.com.  More families are looking for the comforts and conveniences of home as they try to balance traveling, relaxing, and maintaining sensible financial goals.  Companies like those mentioned above, offer customers the ability to find unique accommodations in the U.S. and abroad.  With Airbnb you even have the opportunity to become a host, which could save you more money by earning income. The ability to create home life while vacationing has many benefits, such as privacy when needed and accessible snacks and meals on demand.
  3. Avoiding food price gauging can be a real hassle.  We have found that planning our dining itinerary, has saved us significant amounts of money.  Choosing your dining options before hand prevents overspending and reduces the chances of splurging once you arrive to your destination.  Enjoying the popular cuisine of your destination city, can save you money and give you the full cultural experience.  You can also save money by eating in for a few meals and eating out for others.  Tip:  Visit popular restaurants during the lunch hours and eat light in the evening.  Lunch prices are always more affordable and you’re still able to enjoy their popular dishes.  Talk to several locals in the area about where to get authentic famous, local, cuisine.  If you are able to confirm it with several sources, its probably true.
Walton Beach, FL 4. Attraction and hotel websites offer discount packages directly to their customers and amazingly, some times their package deals are more valuable than alternative booking services.  For instance, you may be able to find many resources that offer you great discounts for tickets to the attraction of your choice.  At times, it may be more valuable to get a package deal with the actual company which could include a combination of park tickets, hotel booking, and discounts to restaurants in their park.  Itemizing and using several resources can be frustrating and inconvenient at times.  Quality often times outweighs the inconveniences of lugging around from place to place.
5. Hotels will sometimes offer you a comparable or even the same discounts you find on other booking sites because they want you to make the reservation.  The goal is to get you to stay with them and become loyal customers.  Most companies understand that customers don’t want to be inconvenienced, so if they can get your business and ease the process of reserving a stay, that’s what they will do.  Advance purchase with hotels also offers reliable savings depending on the season.
6. The usual savings suspects would be, discounts offered through your employer and booking service websites such as, hotels.com, cheapoair.com, vacationstogo.com, etc…These service websites all offer significant savings, however, you have to pay upfront with these options as well.
7. We have had great success taking advantage of traveling to cities that offer national monuments, FREE tourist attractions, such as parks, museums, and other sight seeing opportunities.  Most major cities have good train systems, which will save money on parking fees and tolls.  Train systems can enhance the quality of the trip because of its convenience.  Sight seeing can be a lot of fun, and offers educational benefits both culturally and academically.

One of our favorite tools, that has become a necessity in completing our  research, is http://www.tripadvisor.com.  Here you will find invaluable reviews that will assist in helping you make decisions about your options. Tip: Avoid peak season and peak days for the most success when planning.  Overall, the key to successful vacation planning is to do your research and try several options while planning. Plan out your itinerary and don’t fall into the trap of splurging and sporadic adventures, unless you have planned for them in your budget.  Have fun and enjoy your stress free vacations.

Citation:

Travel growth information was provided by:

http://www.travelpulse.com/news/features/has-travel-growth-hit-a-plateau.html

Www.ustravel.org

http://www.ibisworld.com/industry/default.aspx?indid=1663

Vacation Planning resources:

Www.tripadvisor.com

www.groupon.com

Www.Airbnb.com

Www.homeaway.com

Www.hotel.com

Www.cheapoair.com

www.vacationstogo.com-discount cruises

Coastal Living Magazine-restaurant reviews for beaches

Southern Living Magazine-restaurant review for southern cities

…this list could go on & on, however, just wanted to give you a few of my favorites… enjoy.

 

 

 

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