Vacation on a Budget

If you’re on a budget this year, you’re not alone. The good news is that you don’t have to cancel your vacation plans due to reduced funds. With some prior planning, creative thinking and these tips from reporter Louise Sacco, you can still have a great vacation.
  1. Don’t Cancel
    Take some kind of vacation, even a stay-at-home one. A break from your usual routine will refresh your physical and mental health. If you decide to vacation away from home, think about a location that is “off season”, like mountains in summer, or beaches in the spring or fall because everything will cost less and the location will be less crowded.

  2. Stay Close By
    Play tourist in your own town. You probably have a number of local attractions you’ve never visited, or, there are new ones just a few hours’ drive away. You don’t have to take an airplane to be on vacation and you can find an alternate place to stay in your own town as well. (see “where to stay” below) .

  3. Where to Stay
    Friends: Stay with friends for a few nights and invite them to do the same with you.
    Rent a Timeshare: Owners often have weeks they can’t use. Look for them on or (the largest online marketplace for renting, buying, and selling timeshares).
    Hostels: If you don't mind sharing a room, (or bathroom), these are quite a bargain.
    Discounts: Many membership associations offer discount programs: AAA, AARP.

  4. How to Get There
    As you look at your alternatives for travel, consider the bus or train. Be sure to factor in the costs associated once you get to your destination, such as rental car or cab fares. If you are going to fly, do advanced research to get the best price and try a bidding website to make an offer 25% below the going rate. You may not get it, but if you did, what a savings!

  5. How To Save Once You Are There
    Stock up at the local grocery store. Pack your own cooler with drinks and snacks. Or, if there’s a good restaurant you want to try, go for lunch instead of dinner (which can be cheaper). Or at dinner time, order a soup or appetizer or split an entrée. Many museums offer free admission one day each week or month (do research ahead of time). Look for discounts for kids, students, or seniors (if this applies to you or someone in your group).
The main thing is to plan ahead. Do all your research in advance to find and compare the best rates and surface the right coupons. Great deals are out there, you just have to look.
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