Traveling and vacationing are exciting, fun, and can be life-changing experiences, so the last thing you want to do is to spend your trip stressing out over money. Pre-planning and using all of our money-saving resources at your disposal is the best way to guarantee a stress-free vacation. So without further ado, here are a few of our go-to tools for saving money and making the most of your excursion.
We’ve all been there – you just bought a new pair of shoes you feel like you HAVE to take on your next getaway, and though it’s tempting to throw in every item you think you could possibly need on your trip, avoid doing so if possible. An over-sized, over-packed suitcase can lead to extra fees at the airport and will simply be a pain to lug from destination to destination. Before you pack, make a list of the core items you’ll need and try to stick to those items only.
Use the Flight Comparison Sites
If you’re choosing to fly to your destination, it’s critical that you spend time comparing flights. A flight should not be purchased right off the bat because you’ll most likely be paying an arm and a leg. Prices fluctuate daily and your date and time of departure can easily affect those prices. While you can manually check each airline, it is much easier to use the multitude of fare comparison sites which pull up every possible option for your date of departure, while providing options for checking flexible dates and times. We like FareCompare, Kayak, and Expedia, which you can also use to check hotel availability and even combine the hotel reservations and flight costs into one purchase.
Take Advantage of Research
Websites like FareCompare, Expedia, and Kayak utilize data to study bookings trends. Studies of these trends have shown that 54 days before your departure is the best time to buy tickets, as they are at their cheapest on that day. This time frame does vary when booking international flights, though. Research also has found that the best departure days are Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday. Typically, these days are in the middle of other people’s trips, as they have departed the day before and will be arriving home the next day, so you can save money if you depart on one of those days.
Freelance Sitters for Homes and Pets are Cheaper
Freelance pet and home sitters are often more flexible and affordable options than kennels or leaving your home unattended and hoping for the best when you return (Remember the Wet Bandits from Home Alone?). If you require additional home services, you can ask your pet sitter or dog walker to water your plants, check your mail, adjust your thermostat, turn your lights on and off, etc. Furthermore, they’ll provide more personalized care for your pets than a traditional kennel facility will and your pooch gets to sleep in his own bed – or yours, depending – instead of a foreign one.
Take the Road Less Traveled
Beauty, majesty, culture, and wonders exist in all corners of the world. Just because a destination is not a typical tourist location does not mean it isn’t worth traveling to. In fact, the less tourist traffic a place gets, the cheaper it is to get there, stay there, and our personal favorite, to shop there. Food, souvenirs, and lodgings will all be at a lower, more local cost as opposed to the increased tourist prices. Most importantly, the plane ticket costs will be lower if you choose to visit a place that is off the beaten path.
Traveling on a budget doesn’t mean missing out. Sure, you may not be able to decide to hop on a plane to Southampton tomorrow to see the leaves changing, but you will be able to hop onto your computer and start comparing the prices of a trip to Raleigh. Going to a destination that is less touristy can be a much more rewarding experience while simultaneously saving you money. So, book your ticket 54 days in advance, find a freelance sitter for home pet and home, and depart on a Tuesday with money in your pocket, and you will be sure to leave your stress at home.