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6 Tips for Stretching Your Dollar While on Vacation

A family of four can spend more than $4,000 on their next vacation — and that’s just for travel and lodging expenses. A solo traveler can expect to burn through about $1,500 on travel and hotel costs alone, which can eat up a large chunk of the cash you have available for food, experiences, and various activities. How can we make vacationing more affordable without sacrificing location and creature comforts?

Share a Vacation Rental

Hotel costs can add up quickly, so if you are traveling with a few people, consider renting a vacation home. The savings can really add up if you’re staying in a hot tourist destination, such as Los Angeles. As Turnkey points out, areas such as Silverlake, Hollywood, and Central LA have lots to offer tourists and locals alike, and booking a rental property can put you and your fellow travelers right near the action. Not only can you spend less per person for your lodgings, but these vacation homes also come with fully stocked laundry rooms and kitchens, giving you the option to save by packing fewer bags and cooking meals together.

Use Free Air Miles

Snag a credit card that lets you stock up on air miles. Some cards tied directly to an airline will even send you a complimentary ticket once a year to a destination of your choice. If you don’t like the idea of taking out another credit card, however, try to replace a credit card you are no longer using. For instance, if you have a low balance on a card with a high-interest rate, consider switching to a card that offers miles from the same company.

Choose a Favorable Exchange Rate

If you want to experience a new culture, traveling abroad can be a great way to explore the world and broaden your perspectives. It can also be one of the most expensive ways to vacation. You can save a bit by being mindful of the foreign exchange rates. Choosing a destination that has a favorable exchange rate between your two currencies can help you manage the costs of international travel. For example, in recent years, one Euro has been worth 1.3 American dollars. That means you’ll spend more American dollars per Euro, which, if you aren’t prepared for, can quickly run through your vacation budget.

Use Cashback Options

Many credit card companies offer cashback opportunities for specific purchases. This can help you save in two ways: You can sign up for cashback and use the points toward vacation rewards and/or you can use your card to purchase your reservations and tickets and then use your rewards on purchases you make while on vacation. You might even be able to free up some spending cash by using points and rewards on some of your household purchases, especially if you order them from retailers such as Amazon.

Take Advantage of Free Amenities

Look into offers from hotels and vacation rentals who provide free amenities like continental breakfast and free on-site parking. Additionally, some hotels also offer free happy hour during the week, so you can enjoy a few cocktails before going out to dinner or exploring the city’s nightlife. Also, consider other amenities like free WiFi, a pool or hot tub, and a free airport shuttle. If you’re traveling with your family, some places will provide a crib or other children accessories, so you don’t have to figure out how to travel with them.

Avoid Holidays

Try not to travel over the holidays or on weekends, which is usually when rates tend to be higher. You can save on the cost of airfare and lodgings by traveling in the “off-season” and checking in and out during the week. Off-season vacations may sacrifice a bit when it comes to weather and full service, but often the pros outweigh the cons. For example, many excursions are still open, though they might have shorter operating hours. However, that means you can explore more places or sign up for more experiences and still pay a lesser price.

Traveling on a budget shouldn’t cut down on the fun and excitement. If you prioritize where you want to go and what you want to do, you can cut other kinds of costs to make the whole trip much more affordable. Do your research, take time to plan, and think about ways to share the burden of the budget with fellow travelers.