Pause for a moment and imagine your dream vacation. Close your eyes and take a deep breath. What can you smell? Is it salt on an ocean breeze? The scent of eucalyptus and pine trees? And what can you hear? The melodic babble of an exotic bazaar perhaps, or the sizzle of juicy kebabs on a street vendor’s grill? Is the warm sun on your face? Can you feel the sand between your toes? Are you basking in the beauty of a mountain sunset, or admiring the ancient ruins of some historic castle?
Whatever your dream vacation might be, it is unique to you. No one else can experience it the same way you can.
But the best part about your dream vacation is that you can go on that amazing trip without breaking the bank. Here’s how:
#1 Set your budget
This might sound a little tedious, but your budget is probably the most important component of your dream vacation. Establishing a budget means you must set aside the right amount of money before the start of the trip. The best part about budgeting is it will show you exactly how much you’re allowed to spend during the entire vacation.
A budget will also help you narrow down your destination choices, determine how long you can stay and what the food and drink situation will be like when you get there.
Yes, working out all the financial details in advance can put a mild downer on the rush of anticipation you and your travel buddies are feeling, but your wallet will definitely thank you when you get back home.
Once you’ve set the budget you can start to look at where you’d like to go. If you don’t have a definite location already, try and consider places that are not mainstream.
You may fancy a few weeks in the sun and surf of Florida for example. Tampa is very popular, but travel a bit further south and you’ll find the beaches at Naples to be just as stunning, and far less expensive.
#2 Be flexible
Most people with families take their vacations in the summer, which is why off-peak ticket prices sink considerably. If you’re flexible with your travel dates you can really stretch your budget and save significant amounts of money by traveling out-of-season.
Flexibility also means you can take advantage of last minute flights and special offers on trains and coaches etc. Just be prepared to pack and take off at the drop of a hat!
#3 Alternative accommodation
Another way to make big savings is to look for less expensive accommodation. There are a number of websites that offer alternative services like AirBnB, where people let out their homes when they are not using them.
This is also a great idea for a group vacation with everyone chipping in for the rent and not for highly convenient but expensive hotel rooms.
#4 Plan your itinerary
So, you’ve decided on a destination, know how you’re getting there, where you’ll be staying and for how long. Now all you need to do is figure out what you are going to do with all your free time.
A little bit of research could land you a couple of great discount opportunities on day trips, outings, museum and theater tickets etc. There are literally hundreds of apps and websites that can save you money on activities.
You might have to sign up with these apps and websites (usually for free) but you’ll be amazed at the difference a few discount codes and complimentary coupons can make to your vacation spending power.
Your dream vacation doesn’t have to cost the Earth. With a little planning and a bit of research and flexibility, it can be quite easy to find exactly what you need to relax, have fun and recharge your physical and emotional batteries.
And you can do it all on the tightest of vacation budgets.