Who doesn’t dream about summer vacation? Whether you crave the feel of sand between your toes, wish to explore a big city or perhaps desire a mountain cabin escape, there is something special about travelling during the summer months.
You want a break, but it’s equally important to avoid breaking the bank. So how can you score the right deal and get the most out of your vacation funds?
Here are a few tips to consider:
Start with a budget. As you begin perusing travel sites and daydreaming about the perfect getaway, it is easy to get swept away and just throw down the credit card. Instead, consider how much you have to spend on a summer excursion and stick to that number when shopping for trips. Ideally, you should set aside funds ahead of time to avoid going into debt.
Be flexible with your travel dates. Summer doesn’t officially end until well after Labor Day. Since school starts earlier and earlier these days, you’ll find that airfares and hotel rates tend to go down for travel toward the latter end of August, so consider booking during these times. Also, you can save hundreds of dollars just by shifting your flights by a day or two. With airfare, the best fares are generally reserved for midweek, so look for departures on Tuesdays or Wednesdays. And once you see a good deal, jump on it. Over-researching to save a few bucks can sometimes mean you’ll miss a good deal.
Consider different destinations. Check out some of the not-as-popular summer destinations. Visit ski resort towns in July, but instead enjoy mountain hiking, placid lakes and stream fishing. Europe during August is also a quieter travel season, so prices for hotels, transportation and everyday activities will be lower. Additionally, think about skipping the hotel and opting for a rental through Airbnb or HomeAway. If you have young kids, a rental will often give you more space for your dollar, access to a kitchen to cook meals and a more homey experience.
Tap loyalty programs. Are you a part of AAA? Then inquire about discounts. AAA offers exclusive savings to its members at more than 160,000 locations worldwide, including hotel discounts ranging from 5 percent to 20 percent. If you frequent a particular hotel for business, you might have points to redeem. If you’re new to the loyalty game, you might have time to do a little research and find an ideal credit card to begin earning points to ultimately apply toward your dream vacation.
Let technology work for you. There are multiple apps to help you track airfares and the ideal times to buy, so plug in a few options and get alerts. You can also subscribe to sites like Groupon, which will often offer vacation packages at substantial discounted rates. If you have your eye on a particular resort, provide your email on their site and you may also learn of select deals ahead of time.
Ask for upgrades. When you ultimately arrive to your summer site, don’t be shy in asking for any available freebies or special upgrades. If you’re kind to the front desk, they just might be kind to you and deliver a few nice benefits. What’s the worst they can say? No. But in many cases, you might just be delighted.
Together, these tips could save you hundreds to thousands of dollars for your summer vacation. So look at the budget, craft a list of destinations and start planning. Soon, you can start dreaming about the fun and relaxation coming your way.