10 Ways to Save on an Epic Spring Break Vacation
Whether you’re a student traveling on Spring Break or you’re someone who just needs a break from the cold temperatures of a long winter, March is the perfect month for a getaway. Many shy away because they feel stuck between traveling well and staying on-budget. Traveling in style doesn’t have to be costly if you use a few tricks. We’ve got some ways you can save money and enjoy your vacation, sans the worry of blowing your budget.
Where and When Matters
You can save a ton of money on your plane ticket simply by knowing when to buy and when to fly. If you’re traveling within the United States, booking a ticket to fly on Tuesday, Wednesday, or Saturday can save you up to 40%, because significantly fewer people fly on those days.
When you’re looking into going on a trip, book 3 months in advance. Booking earlier than this doesn’t really make a difference in price, but make sure you buy your airline ticket no later than 30 days before your flight. Airfare prices rise significantly after the 30 day mark.
Finally, when you sit down to book your flight, day of the week and time of day do matter. The best time to book a plane ticket anywhere is Tuesday at 3:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time. This is when sales typically hit fare sites like Priceline, Expedia, and Kayak, and also airline-specific websites.
Book Together and Save
Many popular travel sites like Southwest.com, Travelocity.com, or even Groupon Getaways off discounts when you book flight, hotel, and rental car at the same time. Packaging vacation components not only saves money, but can make your travel much smoother, because all of your travel details will be in one place. It’s worth doing your research to determine whether booking a flight, hotel, and rental car together or separately is more cost effective.
Avoid Baggage Fees
Booking a dirt-cheap airline ticket can seem like a good idea at first, but make sure you do your research and note baggage, carry-on, and seat-picking fees. If airfare seems too low to be real, chances are the airline is making up that money by charging excessive fees elsewhere. It’s a good idea to book an all-inclusive rate so that you won’t have to worry about anything after you buy.
However, if you opt for an airline with baggage fees, there are still ways you can save. Try packing light and carrying your suitcase on if you can. To do this, leave toiletries at home. Hotels usually have shampoo, conditioner, soap, lotion, blow dryers, and anything else you might need once you’re there. You can also wear lots of layers onto the plane instead of packing them.
Stay for Less
Utilize Your Connections
When you’re picking a travel destination, consider where you have friends and family that you could stay with. Crashing in a guest room or on the couch could help you avoid paying room and board altogether, leaving you hundreds of extra dollars to spend elsewhere.
Opt Out of a Traditional Hotel
Renting a room in a house or a house itself by using sites like AirBnB can help you save money as well. Hotels charge premium because they employ a huge staff that includes maids, desk associates, concierges, restaurant staff, and overnight workers. When you stay in a room or a house, you take on those roles and avoid the extra charges that come with them. Staying somewhere with a full kitchen also allows you to buy groceries and cook instead of eating out for every meal.
If you’re on the adventurous side and don’t mind where you sleep, you can book a campsite instead of a hotel room. Campsites are much cheaper than hotel rooms and are often right in the middle of the action in national parks or at music festivals.
You’ve Made it; Now What?
Use Your Military or Student I.D.i
Once you’ve made it to your destination, saving pennies in every place you can can help you stay under budget. Many hotels, restaurants, theaters, tours, and shops offer a slight discount when you show your military or student I.D. Even if you only save a little money, that’s $5 or $10 you can spend later on.
Groupon & Living Social
You aren’t limited to using Groupon and Living Social only in your hometown. You can search restaurant, spa, and shopping deals for any destination before you go or while you’re there. This is especially helpful for eating out, going on tours, or visiting museums, as there are many deals that can save you up to half of the cost of the activity. Buying Groupons or Living Social deals can also help you escape the tourist-packed restaurants listed in travel guides because they are usually for local or new restaurants in the area.
Ask a Local
Touristy restaurants and activities are typically so expensive because they are in high demand, and tourists don’t often know what local prices should be. If you get off the beaten path and eat and tour like a local, you’re likely to save a lot of money. One of the best ways to do this is to strike up a conversation with someone local. They’ll probably be excited to share a piece of their home with you and will point you in the direction of the tastiest food and most fun activities.
Go Grocery Shopping
Eating out for every meal, purchasing snacks on the go, and paying for coffee every morning can add up quickly. If you take a trip to the grocery store at the beginning of your trip and purchase things you know you’ll need, you can stretch your budget further and spend more on activities. Keeping water and granola bars around will save you $2.00 - $5.00 each. If you have a refrigerator in your room or rental home, you can even plan meals and take your lunches with you while you’re on the go.
Get Creative with Souvenirs
Souvenirs are one of the most costly purchases on vacation, and they’re often cheaply made and eventually wind up in the garbage. Buying prints, books, or taking your own photographs as souvenirs can save you money and will last longer.
There are loads of ways to save money while you travel, and being on a budget doesn’t have to stop you from vacationing. However, if you do need a little extra help to get where you want to go, CreditBox can get you up to $4,000 fast. Apply online today and you could have your funds as soon as the next day.