Spring break season is just around the corner and you might be wondering if a vacation is in your budget this year. Whether you’re considering a spring break getaway, or already have one booked, the following tips can help you save money.
• Don’t follow the crowd — Instead of going to a hot spot destination, visit a neighboring area instead. You’re likely to experience similar weather, but at a much lower cost. Before you book, make sure the location you’re considering offers the type of indoor or outdoor attractions and activities you’re seeking. At a minimum, make sure they’re within a reasonable travel distance so you don’t miss out on the sites and fun activities.
• Travel during off-peak periods — This can help you save on airfare. An added bonus is that you can avoid long lines at the airport. Typically, the cheapest days to fly are Wednesdays or Saturdays because the fewest number of businesspeople travel on those days. Tuesdays are next on the list. Plus, a five-day vacation — for example one that starts on a Tuesday and ends on a Saturday — will likely be noticeably less expensive than a longer one.
• Explore alternative accommodations — If you typically stay at a hotel, check out condominium, townhouse or private home rentals instead. Oftentimes you can book them at a lower per-night rate than a hotel, especially if you’re traveling in a group and splitting the cost. In addition to more space, you’ll also have access to a full kitchen, allowing you to pick up items at the grocery store and save money on meals by dining at “home” some or all of the time.
• Buy your necessities before you depart — Sunscreen, water shoes, toothpaste, beachwear and other items are sold at a premium in touristy areas, especially during peak season. Purchasing these items at home and bringing them with you will save you money and give you more time to enjoy the area you’re visiting.
• Use public transportation — The costs of renting a car or catching a taxi ride can add up quickly. Check out public transportation options and schedules that will be available to you. Then, plan ahead to get where you want to go on time. Another bonus is that it will give you an added sense that you’re one of the locals.
• Rent a bicycle — Depending on where you go, this can be a fun and cost-effective way to get around. Having a bike also allows you to get off the beaten path and take in some breath-taking scenery or wildlife while enjoying the fresh air. It’s also a good way to get some exercise on vacation.
• Take advantage of city passes — If you are visiting a major city, such as Boston, New York, San Francisco or Los Angeles, consider purchasing a city pass. They typically offer discounts to popular attractions – and they can help you avoid long lines.
• Consider a staycation — You might decide that a getaway isn’t in the cards this year. If this is the case, a vacation at home can give you an opportunity to explore the rich historical, cultural or outdoor tourism opportunities in your own backyard. The trick is to treat your staycation like a traditional vacation. This includes setting a start and end date, unplugging from work, chores and the daily compulsion to get things done, and scheduling your activities like you would if you were visiting somewhere for the first time.
For more information about creating a financial strategy that can help you meet your goals today — and tomorrow, consult a financial advisor. An advisor can help you evaluate your current situation and map out a way to help get you where you’d like to go.