If you’re worried that being on a tight budget will prevent you from going on a great vacation, you’re in luck. There are a variety of vacation ideas out there that will allow you to take an amazing trip without going over your budget. By combining online tools and your own creativity, you’ll find it easier than ever to find destinations to match your style at prices you can afford.
1. Go Where the Deals Are
Popular destinations are often expensive to stay at and travel to. Just because a place is popular, however, doesn’t mean it’s the best option for you and your family. You can find great deals on hidden treasures by simply taking the time to search online for great deals. According to a report by U.S. News, some of the cheapest destinations to travel to include:
• Grand Canyon, AZ
• Williamsburg, VA
• Albuquerque, NM
• Boca Raton, FL
• Biloxi, MS
Many of these places are relatively cheap to travel to during summer, but you can find even better deals by looking for off-peak times. If you’re willing to travel when most schools are in session and there are no major events or holidays, you’re likely to find a great deal. By traveling in the middle of the week, you can usually avoid the rush of business flyers and families taking advantage of the weekend.
2. Rent a House or Condo
Modern hotels, especially in popular destinations, can be very expensive. At peak times, you could end up spending thousands of dollars for just a week’s stay. Fortunately, the ability to rent privately-owned homes and condos for short periods of time has exploded in recent years through various apps and websites. You can rent lodging in great locations for a fraction of the price of a normal hotel. Not only do you pay less, but you usually get more floor space and access to amenities like kitchens and laundry. A property with multiple bedrooms is often cheaper than multiple hotel rooms or a large suite. By using the provided kitchen for some meals, you’ll also save a lot on food.
3. Book a Last-Minute Vacation
Planning can be overrated. Sure, you can occasionally get a decent deal on airfare and a hotel by booking far in advanced, but companies still charge regular market rates, which can go up or down at any time. Searching for last-minute vacations can be a great way to find a cheap vacation. When a company still has rooms or seats available at the last minute, they’ll often slash prices dramatically to make a sale. If you’re lucky, you may be able to find prices cut by 50% or more. Of course, you need to be alert and flexible to take advantage of these deals.
Forbes Magazine has several tips for booking your travel at the last minute. One of the most important tips is to be open to the unexpected. That means being willing to travel to somewhere you didn’t plan and at a time that may not be the most convenient. Also, be open to dealing with weird connections or layovers. If you can combine a last-minute airfare and hotel at slashed prices, even better. There are many websites that will help you do just this.
4. Take A Nature Vacation
The United States has some of the most stunning geography in the entire world. More than a hundred years ago, Teddy Roosevelt helped create the national park system so all Americans could enjoy the country’s stunning landscape. While entering national parks isn’t free, the costs are far lower than almost any other form of vacation you can take. If you’re looking for something affordable and exciting, think about visiting:
• Grand Canyon
• Cascade Mountains
• Grand Tetons
You may also want to think about visiting beautiful nature spots in Mexico, Canada, or even overseas. By camping out in the wilderness, you’ll get a true appreciation for nature while saving a lot of money.
5. Stay Local
You may think you know your local city well, but chances are there’s a ton of locations you’ve missed. Try staying local and try to explore everything your city has to offer, including museums, amusement parks, waterfronts, theaters, entertainment districts, and even monuments. Staycations are a solid, inexpensive vacation idea. Go to a highly rated restaurant you’ve never tried before, or hike a nearby trail that gives a great view of the city. For most travelers, the biggest expenses are airfare and lodging. When you vacation locally, you avoid these costs altogether.
Think of vacationing on a budget as a blessing rather than a curse. You may not get to take the exact trip you planned, but you’re likely to discover a new appreciation for unexpected places and activities. The more creative and flexible you are, the more you’re likely to find an amazing, budget-friendly vacation idea.