Best Ways to Save on Vacation
In times of widespread financial hardship, many individuals and families find themselves forced to sacrifice their leisure time, especially travel. However, following these tips could make your vacation much more frugal and relaxing!
1. Book Early
This might seem like a no-brainer, but recognizing that the vacation industry, like any other, responds to supply and demand, is the first step in saving money on your holiday. The optimum time to book according to an expert travel agent, is eleven months before your intended departure date.
This is when the timetables and prices for flights are first released, and airlines commonly offer the cheapest seats at this time, steadily increasing the prices over time.
2. Book Late
At the other end of the scale, there is an advantage to booking your holiday at the very last minute. A few days before you are due to depart, plane tickets and hotel suites that have not been booked will often fall in price, enabling you to snap up a bargain.
This may require you to be more flexible with departure dates, or require you to take a longer route, so read the itinerary of your journey carefully before you make a payment – cancellation policies for last-minute holidays are very strict.
3. Stay Home
When we think of holidays, we usually think of distant beaches and faraway locations; but there are great holidays to be found closer to home. Stay with relatives if they have space available. Consider doing a house exchange with another family, for a change of surroundings that will not break the bank.
If you have young children, they will be just as satisfied with a beach in your home country as with the sandy shores of the Caribbean. Make the most of the attractions, facilities and landscape in your local area.
4. Travel Times
You will find that prices for travel fall if the time of travel is antisocial. Ferry operators have recognized that few people wish to travel at night, so evening journeys are cheaper. Red-eye flights are also less expensive than convenient day flights.
Avoid flights on Fridays and Saturdays – unless it is summer or Easter, when weekend flights become the cheaper option. Many airline websites offer tools that will show when the cheapest times to fly are.
5. Surf Around
The web is an excellent tool for finding an inexpensive holiday. You can use price comparison websites to find the cheapest flights to your chosen destination and the most affordable accommodation for your stay. Many websites offer deals on package holidays that are only available if booked over the internet – be on the lookout for these.
Or, you can use the internet to locate information on enticing holiday packages and then phone travel agents directly to haggle for a real bargain.
6. Check Exchange Rates
The value of currencies can fluctuate greatly over a short period of time, which can seriously affect how far your dollar goes when you exchange it for the currency of your destination.
The best exchange deals are usually available only if you order your currency over the web and collect in store. Consider visiting countries with favourable exchange rates, so that your money will go further.
7. Visit Cheaper Destinations
Most holiday makers focus on the price of flights and accommodation, and do not consider how much things such as drinks, dining out, entertainment, transportation, sightseeing and personal care. These will drain a budget if not planned out. For example, Greece has long been considered a highly affordable holiday destination, but with the recent and rapid inflation it has become one of Europe’s more expensive regions.
Jamie King the author of the “7 ways to save on vacation” is a London based travel blogger, who likes to write about travel and saving money.