It’s summertime, and you know what that means – vacation season! But traveling during the peak summer months can get expensive, so we’ve pulled together some tips to help you stick to your budget this season.
Join hotel loyalty programs wherever you go. Many individual hotels as well as hotel lines offer discounts where you receive a free night once you’ve stayed a certain number of nights. They’re generally free to join, so you won’t lose anything by signing up.
Don’t rush through packing. Take your time, make lists of everything you need, and double check to be sure you have everything. If you’re going to a touristy area and forget something important, it’ll cost a lot more to buy it there. Make sure you take everything you need to avoid unnecessary expenses while you’re away.
Pack snacks so you’re not spending a bunch of money every time someone gets hungry. This one is easier to do if you’re driving to your destination rather than flying, but it can save you some serious cash. Bring along snacks that are easy to eat on the go, like healthy granola bars and 100-calorie packs. You could also bring sliced fruit, which has the added benefit of keeping you hydrated in the summer heat. While you’re at it, bring everyone a water bottle to help avoid dehydration.
Avoid traveling on peak weekends like Memorial Day, 4th of July, and Labor Day. These are some of the busiest weekends for air travel over the summer, and you may get stuck in traffic if you travel by car. If possible, have a flexible schedule to travel a few days earlier or a few days later than everyone else to skip the crowds and the higher airline prices.
Check out sites like Groupon and LivingSocial for great deals on hotels in virtually any destination. Many of them come with packages such as free breakfast, a free spa day, or dinner credits. Plus, you’ll have the opportunity to visit a destination you’ve never been to before.
To save as much as possible on food, try to book a hotel room with a kitchen or kitchenette. That way you can bring your own food to cook instead of eating out for every meal (again, this is a lot easier if you’re driving).
Where are you going this summer? What are your best travel tips?