The key to a bargain vacation is advance planning and research. Our bargain vacation tips can help you put some thought into an affordable vacation that you are sure to enjoy.
1 Select your vacation destination based on cost and budget
When traveling on a budget, destination matters. Flying to Bora Bora can cost an arm and a leg, while a family camping trip to the Grand Canyon can be a great bargain. This might mean avoiding tourist traps that tend to be a lot more expensive. Concentrate on lesser-known destinations and affordable cities. For example, Washington, D.C. is a tourist-friendly city where you will find year-round free entrance to many museums, government buildings, memorials, and historical monuments. This includes the Smithsonian. Washington D.C. can provide a wealth of free enjoyment. While lodging may still be expensive, avoiding peak days and times can help you find an affordable hotel. Tap to discover a list of free things to do in Washington, D.C.
2 Travel off-season for a better deal
Traveling off-season when the demand and prices are lower can score you a real bargain vacation. Keep in mind that off-season travel may mean less than ideal weather and limited hours for tourist attractions and other services. If you’re willing to overlook that, you can find a great trip to fit your budget. Off-season travel will get you deep discounts on airfare, hotels, and even cruises. Examples might include visiting Northern California in February, Tucson in July, or New Hampshire in September. Repositioning cruises, which happen off-season and are often less crowded, will enable you to enjoy all of the typical amenities of a cruise at a much lower cost per night. Visit CruiseCritic for cruise deals, reviews, information on repositioning cruises, and other cruise tips.
3 Turning a family visit into a fun vacation can be one of the best bargain vacation tips
Hotels and other types of lodging can be one of the most expensive parts of any vacation. When looking to vacation on a budget, consider staying with family or friends. Perhaps your sister lives in Florida or a friend from college lives in Colorado. Staying with family or friends while vacationing in their town can help you save a bundle on hotel costs. It will also give you an opportunity to catch up and visit. Not only will you enjoy a free place to stay, but insider travel tips as well. Your hosts may even offer to act as your tour guides, providing free transportation as you tour the city. If you’re lucky enough to have a friend or relative in a beautiful vacation spot, you should consider this tip.
4 Tap into the power of a travel site
There are many travel websites and travel apps out there that can help you find a great travel deal. Most of us have searched Travelocity to compare airfare or CheapCaribbean if we when planning a Caribbean getaway, but there are many more sites that may not be as familiar. Here are a few of our favorites for finding a great deal.
- Scott’s Cheap Flights – Scott’s Cheap Flights has a team of flight experts continuously monitoring fares. When deals pop up they let you know. If you have a specific destination in mind, you can search the city and they’ll show you all of the current deals.
- Airfarewatchdog – Set up alerts from your home airport or favorite routes on Airfarewatchdog. They search, find, and share great deals and airline sales.
- Travelzoo – From Top 20 deals that can be great bargains, to trending, and last-minute deals, as well as road trips, you’ll find it all on Travelzoo. Sign up for exclusive deals and rates.
- Kayak – Kayak is a travel deal aggregator. When you’re searching, it checks hundreds of travel websites to help you find the best deal. Find flights, rental cars, vacation packages, and more. You can even set a price alert.
- Momondo – Like Kayak, Momondo is an aggregator that searches for the best airfare across the web. They provide an overview of available travel options with prices, and you choose the offer you prefer.
- Skyscanner – Find daily deals on Skyscanner and set price alerts for flights. If you’re flexible with your travel dates you can find big savings. You can view the cheapest day to travel within a month or even the cheapest month for a trip.
Not only can the above sites and travel apps help you save money on your next trip, they can also provide you with useful bargain vacation tips.
The financial tools you need for a great vacation
A low-interest rate VISA credit card from Benchmark Federal Credit Union is a must-have when traveling. Tap to apply or view rates. If you’re struggling with a tight budget and need a little help making your vacation a reality, a Benchmark FCU personal loan may be the answer. Competitive rates and flexible terms can help with a payment that fits your budget.
Read our “Guide to Saving on Airfare” for more tips like these.