Tip # 1 How to travel cheaply
When one thinks about the concept of cheap travel it often conjures up nightmares of unreliable tour packages and cowboy hoteliers. For the unwary, nightmares can indeed become reality, but for the smarter traveler this really needn't be the case.
The truth of the matter is that with a little forward planning, you'll find that less can indeed be more in the world of cheap travel and an extra few bucks in your pocket can mean an extra week or two on tour.
The no.1 rule for cheap travel is to do your homework and plan ahead. The biggest costs incurred to the traveler will probably be those of transport and accommodation, and here is where the biggest savings can be made. Booking ahead with budget airlines can save you huge amounts, and be sure to check which days around your time of travel are the cheapest – airlines can adjust prices due to demand and those willing to be flexible with their schedule can reap the rewards.
Accommodation prices can be subject to huge variation too and your first consideration here should always be with who you buy from. Hostelbookers has some of the best options for those after cheap travel and doesn't charge booking fees. Using the service also means you can compare many hostel prices quickly. Remember that hostels and hotels can change their advertised prices at any time so be a clever shopper and get in early, especially for peak season accommodation. Conversely prices may drop at the last minute, but consider that price drops like this usually only happen out of season. The rule of thumb here is to grab a good price when you see it.
For the budget diehard the challenge doesn't end at home and once on foreign soil you'll find you can soon get abreast of local secrets if you ask around – secrets that can have a real cash value. Don't be afraid to pick the brains of other travelers and you'll soon discover the best places to eat and drink – at a price your credit card will thank you for!
Cheap travel needn't hamper your trip, rather the advantage can be yours. There's fun in the opportunities that living to a budget creates and who knows, pay to be lazy and you might just miss out on half the fun!
Tip # 2 How to travel cheaply (2)
How many times have you wanted to get away from it all, and visit someplace new, but couldn't afford it? Why should you have to charge your vacations now, and pay for it later?
You shouldn't! Over the course of a year, many families are spending hundreds to thousands of dollars on extra un-needed small "wants", instead of using that money wisely at a later time.
Let's pretend that every 2 days, you get a bottle of soda, and a candy bar at a convenience store – just a few of those many impulse buys that we are all tempted to make. 55 cents for the candy bar, and 99 cents for the soda comes out to $ 1.54. Multiply that by approximately 182 days, and you could've saved $ 280.28. Now $ 228 won't pay for the vacation itself, but it's a start.
A tightwad vacation does not mean that you have to be cheap. No, you don't have to go camping in your backyard or go hiking to the local supermarket. There are many cost-efficient ways to travel, and tips to help you along the way.
Don't fly, unless you can get real cheap rates, or if you are traveling out of the country. Traveling by train, or bus, can be cheap, but it depends on where you are traveling.
Driving to your destination may not be the cheapest way to get to there though. Think of the impulse purchases you make along the way … snacks, drinks, souvenirs, tourist attractions, etc., and gas to get there may be more than a train or bus pass would've cost. Make plans a few months early to consider if you want to spend a lot of time doing activities at your destination, or if you just want to have fun getting there.
1) Do not travel during the holidays, or mid-summer. Prices are always jacked up on hotel rooms, restaurants, and tourist attractions at most major cities. Instead, travel during the fall, when school starts again, or early winter, when prices will be back to normal, if not cheaper than usual.
2) Take along your own food and drinks. Pack a large cooler with sandwiches, fruit, drinks, vegetable sticks, and so on. Also bring many types of food that won't go bad if you don't eat them within the first few days. Crackers, cookies, dried fruit, trail mixes, and nuts are always good to snack on.
3) Check the local online newspaper of the place you are visiting, and search for special money-saving coupons, discounts, and any special offers that you can find, and take advantage of.
4) Bring plenty of extra clothes. You don't want to have to buy new clothes, just because you don't have anything else to wear.
5) If you are traveling with small children, take a small bag packed with travel games, activity pads, tiny stuffed animals, crayons, and a coloring book to keep them busy. Even if you want the children to look around instead of playing in the backseat, it's much better to have them, "just in case".
6) Jot down every expense you make during this trip, and be sure to save those receipts. By keeping track of how much you spent on this vacation, it will be easier to make an estimate on how much you need for the next vacation, and to keep your family motivated from buying those small un-needed purchases all throughout the year.
Tip # 3 for inexpensive family vacations
Taking the whole family on a vacation can really drain your wallet and when you are worried about money, it takes some of the enjoyment out of your trip. One of the keys to saving money on a trip is to have the entire thing planned out before you even leave the house. There are many things you can do to ensure that you don't break the bank and get left wondering 'where did it all go?'
Try and choose a destination you can drive to. Car travel is still one of the most inexpensive ways to go, you can carry all your luggage with you, access it at any time and set your own schedule. When you drive, you can stop anywhere you like along the way and see things you would have missed if you were jetting over at ten thousand feet. You can bring your own snacks and drinks with you in the car in a cooler and you don't have to worry about the food being gross. Mom and Dad can take turns driving so they can get some rest and the kids can play games without disturbing anyone but the family.
When you choose a destination, try to avoid tourist traps. Trips to landmarks and natural wonders are the best kind as it usually doesn't cost anything to look at them. Things like Disney World are fun but not when you are looking for inexpensive travel. Amusement parks and the like are going to drain the money out of your wallet like a sieve. Look for state parks, especially when going to the beach. State parks have the best deals and lowest admission prices. If you do go to an amusement park, bring your own lunch.
Amusement park food is usually double the cost of food in the real world. Most parks allow you to picnic and have areas designated for it as well. Even if you have to leave the park to drive up the road to a local fast food restaurant you can save yourself a good deal of money and still return to the park afterwards.
You may want to consider camping as an alternative to getting a hotel room. Camping is always cheaper than a hotel and camp grounds usually have many activities and attractions for their patrons to enjoy including swimming, fishing, hiking and even bike rentals. There are usually campgrounds next to the major attractions and reservations are recommended.
A family vacation doesn't have to break the bank and if you give the kids a budget before you leave, they will be wise with their money and probably spend a lot less than if you just went off the cuff. Planning your trip out carefully will save you a lot of money in the long run.