Tips to Save Money for Vacation

Is the cost of travel preventing you from planning your next vacation?

Travelling is a luxury item for many people. It takes a lot out of the household budget, and not everybody can do it, but everyone dreams of going on vacation. The cost of travel can be overwhelming and off-putting for many people, but it doesn’t have to break the bank. There are ways to get out and explore the world without going into crippling debt.

We love to travel, and we go on a lot of vacations every year. Our travels vary between big trips of a week or longer, long-weekend trips, weekend getaways, and many day trips throughout the year. We are not wealthy, and we certainly don’t have an unlimited amount of disposable income.
One of the main questions we hear is “how can you afford to travel so much?”
We plan, we budget, we save, and we do things as cheaply as possible.

Ways to Save up for a Vacation

Everybody has a dream vacation they want to take, and the most common way to make that dream a reality is to save up for it. Work on your household budget to determine how much money you can afford to set aside for a vacation, how long it will take, and the frequency with which you can save.
Some tips for saving money for your vacation are:

  • Any time you receive gifts of cash, an unexpected windfall, a bonus from work, etc. you can set that money aside into a savings account for your trip. This money is something you neither expected nor budgeted for, so it should not affect your household expenses.
  • Open a separate bank account with your financial institution that is specifically for travel planning.
    You can have a set amount of your pay directly deposited into acct every payday from your employer.
  • Set up an automatic transfer with your online banking, so that on payday – $X is moved over before you ever see it.
  • Save your loose change or small bills in a jar
      • Tried and true method – any time you have loose change in your pocket, at the end of the day – toss it into a savings jar on your dresser for that dream vacation. This method may take a while now that nobody carries cash anymore, but every little bit helps
  • Put some money onto a prepaid or separate credit card dedicated for travel and vacation. Again, you can set these payments up with your online banking to automatically occur – whatever amount you set, and how often.

Ways to Save Money on Vacation

 

Off-Season TravelRoguetrippers travelled to Nova Scotia in December and had all attractions to ourselves.

Off-Season travel is when you zag when others usually zig. Consider going somewhere during the time of year that is opposite to their peak period. You can get some good deals because those destinations are not as popular during their offseason. Be creative and think outside of the box. You can still have a great trip and quite frankly because these destinations are not as popular this time of year, you can have a lot of the attractions pretty much to yourself.

I.e., we went to Nova Scotia in Winter, and attractions like Peggy’s Cove which are notoriously crowded – was virtually all ours. 

Avoid Peak travel times

There are several times throughout the year where travel is notoriously pricy – Christmas, thanksgiving, Memorial Day/Canada Day, and Spring Break. Booking travel during those times will cost you a lot more, and sometimes that is necessary, but if you can – avoid it all costs. There are some periods in the year that Roguetrippers always book vacations because we find fantastic deals due to lower volume of travellers.

Price Alerts

Set Up Price alerts on various travel sites like Travelocity, CheapFlights, Expedia, and other travel sites. This way you get some reminders for great prices on flights and hotels.

Follow the Deals

Make your destination plans based on where you can get a good deal. Lower prices can inspire a nice vacation that you haven’t thought of doing before. Try something new, and this is what Roguetrippers is all about.
Very randomly, we once found a super low price on a luxury casino hotel in Tunica, Mississippi. We had never even heard of Tunica before, but when you are only paying $25USD for a luxury hotel suite with in-room jacuzzi, how do you say no? (Yes, twenty-five dollars).

Exchange Rates

Travel to places where your money goes further. Download the currency exchange app on your smartphone so that you can see how good the exchange rate is for various countries around the world. This app is great to have as well when you are at your destination – when you pay for things.

Mid-Week travel

Planning a trip during weekdays instead of weekends can often get you lower pricing on flights and hotels. Similar flights done over weekends can become rather pricy, and hotel rates are more on Fridays and Saturdays.

Last-Minute Deals

Are you able to go away at a moment’s notice? Sign up for email updates on last-minute travel deals like selloffvacations, cruisecritic, Travelzoo, and other sites for their last-minute discounts.

All-inclusive resortsAll Inclusive resorts can help keep your travel budget under control

I have never done one, but I know many people who do this as a way of keeping a tight hold on their travel budget. Everything from flight, hotel, food, and beverages are all included in the price, making sure there are no surprises in your spending.

Hotels

It is possible to save some money on hotel stays. We always weigh the cost of the hotel with the convenience, various amenities, along with the length of visit, to see how a hotel price stacks up.

                                  • 🆓 Breakfast: Hotels offering free breakfast can save you money – $10 – 30 per person. If a hotel that offers free breakfast costs more than one that does not, is the price difference worth it to you? There may be a great small diner that offers inexpensive breakfast nearby.
                                  • 🆓 WiFi: I believe every hotel should offer free WiFi. There is absolutely NO reason to pay for WiFi in this day and age. If a hotel charges a fee, I immediately move on to the next hotel. If RedRoof Inn can give you free WiFi – so can a HILTON.
                                  • 🆓 Parking: Try to book hotels that have free onsite parking. Sometimes this is not possible, but parking rates can dip into your budget. Is there in-out privileges? Do they only have valet parking?
                                  • *️⃣ Pet Fees: If you are travelling with your dogs, pet fees can vary. Check the hotels’ pet fee policies before you agree to book this hotel. Even hotel chains that have a reputation for ‘pets-stay-free’, have recently been charging for pet stays.
                                  • *️⃣ Location: Conveniently located hotels can be a money saver, but if you are driving, a cheaper hotel a little further out, can be found.
                                  • Other perks: Does this hotel have any other perks or benefits that may be of use to you that may save you some money?

 

 

 

Rewards Programs

Sign up for various rewards programs. One of our favourites is Hotels.com “Collect 10 nights, get 1 reward* night’ program.

You need to book a fair number of hotels to make this worthwhile, but it does add up fast. We always have anywhere between 5-10 free nights on the go.

There are individual hotel chain programs where you can get one night free after two stays. This one is great, but you have to always book at the same chain, as well as directly through hotel (no 3rd party bookings).

Adjust Your expectations

Stay at budget hotels when you are only there one night. There is no need for luxury accommodations if you are on a road trip, and you are only there to sleep. Splurge on more extended stays.
When Roguetrippers are on a road trip, we pick up discount coupon books at rest stops and travel information booths to save money.

Cottage/Condo Rentals

Renting a cottage, condo, or chalet is a great way to save some money. They are often very inexpensive, and they have amenities like laundry facilities and kitchens where you can cook some meals, thereby saving even more money.

Planes, Trains, or Automobiles?

Which method of travel would save you more money?
Flying is a quicker way to get somewhere, but would it be cheaper to drive there (if possible)?
Things that need your consideration are – hotel costs, gas, rental cars, etc.
For Roguetrippers, if a trip is around 8-10 hours to drive to – we would rather just drive our Nissan Rogue. The convenience is a priority to us; however, we have taken the train to places like NYC, because it was more relaxing.

Save Money on Meals

On vacation, food can be one item that can blow your travel budget. Cost of food can be hard to budget for (unless you do an all-inclusive). Some tips for saving money on food costs:

                                          • ☑️ Pack food for the road trips, and bring snacks on the plane/train, so you don’t have to pay
                                          • ☑️ Stay at hotels with meals (breakfast is usually the best you will get)
                                          • ☑️ Does your hotel offer Meal coupons – think casino hotels that offer a free buffet, etc
                                          • ☑️ Make your meals where you can.
                                          • ☑️ Buffet take-out – buy one meal, overfill the container – and you have a meal for two people.
                                          • ☑️ Small restaurants – family-run diners or restaurants often have reasonable prices.
                                          • ☑️ Family-style restaurants often offer good deals.
                                          • ☑️ Food Trucks are a great way to get great food and reasonable prices.
                                          • ☑️ Some chain restaurants offer – 2 can dine options where you can save a few bucks.
                                          • ☑️ Avoid eating at restaurants in touristy areas – especially where they charge a tourism tax

 

Save Money on Attractions:
      • 💲Take advantage of free attractions & events
      • 💲Don’t be afraid to use discounts such as ‘seniors’, children, family rates, AARP, Military, Govt, and CAA/AAA where you can
      • 💲Look for discount programs and online codes.
      • 💲Talk to front desk/concierge at the hotel if they know of deals
      • 💲Every hotel has tourist attraction flyer racks – many of the flyers have discount coupons attached.
      • 💲FREE Days: some attractions have reduced rate days and even free days to attract visitors during off-peak days/periods.
      • 💲If you will do more than 3 National Parks in a year, get the Annual Pass. The cost of 3 parks is slightly more than the cost of an annual pass:  Parks Canada.  US National Parks Services
Travel Tip:

On National Museum Day – museums have free admissions.

Short Stays / Staycations

Some of the other ways that Roguetrippers save money and still enjoy a ‘vacation’ are short stays, staycations, and day trips.

Travel is never cheap, but there are ways to make a vacation more attainable. Even when a holiday is very budget-conscious, you can still have a lot of fun.

“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness…”
– Mark Twain
Author

Adventurer, gastro-tourist, avid road tripper, and buttertart aficionado. Exploring the road less travelled and the adventures that exist for all to see if you just open yourself up to new possibilities.

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