Vacations don’t have to break the bank, and with a little planning and organization you can enjoy yourself while saving money.
The extra money you save on your vacation might even allow you to extend your stay a few extra days or buy extra gifts for friends and family for when you return.
Most people lose money on a vacation through a lack of planning. The most expensive aspects of a vacation are transportation, booking hotels, tours and food. If you can employ some basic tips to cut costs on these areas, you’ll have more money to spend on sightseeing activities.
If you’re driving your own car, you can save a substantial amount of money on the cost of a taxi or other forms of transportation. Unfortunately, driving a car in a big city also means high parking fees and the hassle of trying to find parking in busy tourist areas.
One way to cut fees is to use your car to get you to the destination and visit remote attractions only. Once you arrive, go to the train or bus station and inquire about an all-day pass to get you easily around town during your stay.
Avoid taking taxis as much as possible and you can save enough money for an extra meal each day.
Booking Hotels and Tours
The real secret to booking a hotel is to simply book early enough. Hotels fill up the closer you get to the reservation data.
While most people know that you can save money by booking in advance, if you purchase all of your airfare, tour packages and hotels in one package, you stand to save a significant amount of money.
For example, mid-April is a prime time to visit Kyoto in Japan. If you try to book a hotel for those dates, you’re going to end up spending a hefty sum of money if you can find accommodations.
The Shinkansen is a bullet train that travels at super-high speeds across Japan. If you book a package through a tour company that sells Shinkansen tickets, you can often get your transportation costs, a one- or multi-day sightseeing package and a hotel for less than what you would pay for the hotel by itself.
Before you leave for your vacation, create envelopes for all your money. It may sound silly, but create an envelope that has the money for your lodging, transportation, souvenirs and any attractions you wish to see.
Create separate envelopes for your food and miscellaneous budgets, and make sure to create one for each day. On each day of the trip, pull out the money from your food and miscellaneous budget and put it in your wallet or purse.
If there is left over money at the end of the day, you can put it aside or add it to the next day’s funds. This will help you stay on budget and control your spending.
Never Take the First Offer
When you visit an attraction, or a sight-seeing event there are often booths and other stores lined up waiting to take your money. If someone offers you a discount on their product, the chances are good it’s because they know further on down the road is another store that sells their product for less.
Don’t take the first offer on anything you see, and you’ll likely save money. Remember that most people lose money on souvenirs and purchases simply because they don’t know what’s available.
If you take the time to look around and don’t get pressured into buying anything, you can make the right decision about how to spend your funds.
Photo: Kevin Dooley / CC 2.0