We all know the benefits of taking a vacation…bonding time with loved ones, the opportunity to explore new places and try new things, and of course, catching up on some well-deserved and necessary r and r.
But with vacationing comes a challenge: How can you truly relax if you have to spend a small fortune to do so?
Breathe…and consider these 5 money-saving strategies from Squeeze.
1.) Be flexible. Think fast. When do most people go the Bahamas? Winter, right? How about Europe? Summer, of course! So if you’re willing to take a summer cruise to the Caribbean or a winter holiday in Paris, you’re going to save a lot of money and still have a wonderful time. But flexibility is more than about seasons…if you are open to flying mid-week…if you are willing to either plan far ahead or take advantage of a last-minute deal…or if you would consider a less popular destination than the masses, you can save hundreds to thousands of dollars and avoid the crowds.
2.) For flights, obtain an airline credit card…for hotels, skip the chains. Sign on with some credit cards and you’ll get, say, a free newspaper subscription or a cool duffle bag. But sign up with an airline credit card and you’ll get bonus miles…sometimes, thousands of them! Add to that the miles you’ll earn for using that credit card as often as possible and you’re likely to score a low cost or even free round-trip flight for you and your family each year. When it comes to hotels, we recommend you think outside the, um, boxed room you’ll get at a big hotel chain. Small, independent hotels, b and bs, or renting someone’s space via airbnb.com are usually roomier, more hospitable options, and considerably less money.
3.) Get to the grocery store. Wherever you go (short of a cruise), get to the grocery store upon your arrival for basics like snacks, water, and whatever you may have left at home. You’ll save a lot of money bringing your own refreshments around, rather than buying them as you need them. You can also stock on up breakfast items like bars and fruit, which can save you a bundle. Expensive buffets? No, thanks.
4.) Purchase daily deals for the places you’re traveling to. Sites like Groupon, LivingSocial, and Restaurant.com are not just for locals; they are also great ways for travelers to save money on everything from meals to spa services to shows to attractions in their destinations of choice. We suggest researching before you go and checking these sites while you’re away for daily new releases.
5.) Know your perks and take advantage of them. If you’re a student, a senior, in the military, a member of AAA, a resident in the state you are visiting, etc., you’re going to be entitled to some discounts, so research ahead of time or ASK. Also know that if you are, say, a museum or aquarium member, a teacher, or work at a non-profit organization, you may also have lower fees at certain places. Have your identification cards and don’t be embarrassed or reluctant to inquire. A perk everyone staying at a hotel is entitled to? Free stuff…some that’s visible (shampoo, soap) and some that you may have to ask for (razor, mouthwash, toothpaste, comb). Take advantage of these resources, which will not only save you money on these products, but will lighten your load and luggage, where every pound counts.