Regardless of the time of year, it's always fun to take some time off and just get away. If money is an issue, you still have lots of options. Here are just a few ideas for seeing the world on a shoestring budget:
Take Your Trip in the Off Season
Many areas of the world - especially those that are heavily trafficked by tourists - have specific seasons when they are more popular. Therefore, if the area you wish to visit is typically visited in the winter, go during the summer, and vice versa. This can literally save you a bundle. In addition to saving you a substantial amount of money, you will also avoid the crowd. This alone will make your vacation much more enjoyable.
Be Flexible - Or Even Spontaneous
Oftentimes, airlines have certain days where flights are less in demand than others. For example, Tuesdays and Wednesdays are less heavily traveled as are Saturday afternoons - and because of this, these days and times generally offer the best air fare rates.
Hotels have similar situations. Because many travelers get away on weekends, hotels are often seeking guests for Sunday through Thursday nights, and are therefore cheaper during these times. Oftentimes, booking directly through a hotel's website will allow you to get a lower rate than by going through one of the popular travel sites.
If you are able to be flexible and spontaneous, booking your trip at the last minute can really reap some nice rewards. This is because airlines and hotels will often greatly reduce their prices in order to fill seats and rooms quickly. There are several online sites that specialize in booking last minutes trips and vacations. Being flexible refers not just to the times that you go, but also to where you go. This could lead you to all types of fun new adventures.
Even after you book your airfare, keep an eye on the rates. In some cases, if you find that the fare price has dropped even further, you may be eligible for a partial refund. It's also a good idea to sign up for the free email alerts that airlines send out. This will give you access to sale notifications, as well as to the coupon codes that are sent in order to take advantage of discounted airfares.
Stay in a Hostel
If you aren't set on staying in a hotel or motel, you might consider staying in a hostel. These dormitory-style rooms can offer very nice, albeit sparse, accommodations for between $15 and $35 per night. This is a far cry from the $100 or more that many of the even inexpensive hotels charge.
Bundle Your Arrangements
Just like with your internet, cable, and phone, if you "bundle" your travel into a package, you can usually save quite a bit of money on the total. There are several Internet sites that specialize in putting together airline, hotel, and even car rental. Other services can also be included such as tickets for attractions, theme parks, and other events.
Over the past several years, an interesting concept has come to the forefront - house swapping. This involves "swapping" homes with someone in an area that you would like to visit, in exchange for them staying in yours.
Ideally, this can work out to be one of the best ways to save money, and see a part of the country - or the world - that you've always wanted to see. In addition, by having access to a kitchen, you will be able to save additional dollars by not having to eat all of your meals out.
Be a Local Tourist
If you really want to save money, you might even consider staying in your own home city and being a local tourist. Many people have taken what they call "stay-cations," by staying home and taking advantage of the sights and attractions right in their own back yards. It can be fun to explore what your home town has to offer - and, depending on what part of the country you live in, there could be a great many things to see and do.
This can certainly save you money on lodging and transportation, while at the same time allowing you time to spend time with friends and family, and giving you an opportunity to relax and unwind without the need to drive or fly long distances. This in and of itself could turn out to be a win-win situation for all.