Travel is something that everybody wants, but few people feel like they can afford it. With normal life expenses taking up every cent of your paychecks, how do you pay for a vacation? Taking a trip, however, is feasible if you know how to find the right bargains. Everyone deserves a vacation, even if it’s a weekend trip. Here’s how you can plan a budget-friendly trip.
The cheapest airfare is free airfare through using rewards and points to book your flight. The Points Guy is a great resource for tips on travel rewards. Points are part of a long plan. You won’t be able to use them overnight, but you can slowly build them up for later use. Rewards can be accumulated and redeemed through credit cards and airlines. You’ll have to make purchases to earn points by charging a credit card or booking flights for credit toward future free flights. The optimal way to spend money on travel is to earn money back while you spend money, by way of rewards or cashback deals.
With anything, it’s smart to shop around online for deals before you make a commitment with your wallet. For example, you can find vacation packages and cashback opportunities for sites like Priceline that can help you save a lot of cash on your next vacation. All it takes is a little research.
However, if you’re considering the credit card route, the Chase Sapphire is known for having some of the best rewards out there. You can earn 50,000 bonus points upon sign up, adding up to $625 toward travel. Another money-saving trick is to book one-way flights instead of a roundtrip ticket, as some airlines raise the price of roundtrip fare.
Unless you’re visiting a city that relies mostly on public transportation, you’ll probably need to book a rental car to get around the city and sightsee. Before you select the perfect ride, remember to check for offersand online discountsfor websites such as Enterprise Rent-A-Car to find a vehicle that fits within your budget. Again, it always pays to do your homework.
If you’re staying downtown, you might be able to get away with not having a car, especially if the city is walkable or has a good rail system. Taxis can run you a high transportation bill by the end of the trip, and trains can be confusing to navigate if you’re in a foreign country. A car lets you take control of your journey.
The most expensive part about travel is usually the lodging. Hotels cost up to several hundred dollars per night in select cities and during popular travel weekends. You can remedy this major expense by checking for online savings and promo codesfor sites like Hotels.com.
Also, consider signing up for points at that particular hotel, and earn more points by buying your meals at the hotel or declining housekeeping services. Many hotel chains use the same points system, so Starwood Points earned at Sheraton Hotels can be used at Marriott Hotels.
Of course, there’s also the option to skip hotels altogether and take advantage of private home rentals to save money, but you miss out on some of the conveniences and hospitality of a hotel stay.
Other Ways to Save Money
Sign up for email offers to find out when sales are happening. Airlines and hotels frequently run sales, and you can sign up directly with them or a partnering site to be notified. Remember to click through the rebate sites before booking on travel sites so you never miss out on cashback opportunities. Also, use the Honey browser plug-in to find live coupon codes while you shop.
Vacations are not only for the wealthy. Traveling on a budget is possible at any income level if you plan early and look for deals before you book anything. With resourcefulness, you can take a great trip on a reasonable budget.