Do you need a break from work or studies? Are you thinking of taking a vacation but finances are holding you back? Your next vacation doesn’t have to be too costly. Here are 8 tips for taking an inexpensive vacation.

1. Focus on Your Priorities

What will be the focus of this vacation? Is it the location itself, sights, food, or souvenir shopping? Set your primary focus and prioritize your budget from that.

If food and wine tasting are the fun goals, then be prepared to scale down on other expenses. This means, putting less budget on accommodation so you can have more funds to dine all around the city.

If experiencing local attractions is the goal, then scale down on food expenses. Be prepared to cook and dine in at your place of accommodation. That way, you have more funds to visit shows, take fun rides, and more.

2. Choose Less Expensive Activities

Go hiking. Take a walking tour. Visit free museums. Avoid over-priced shows. You may need to search for itinerary choices in advance. So that when you get there, you already know what to do, when to do it, and where. Do this and you won’t miss out on a good, free show.

3. Set a Budget to Strictly Follow

Unexpected expenses happen during vacations. You can’t avoid it. Having a budget that lists fixed amounts for this and that will help you distribute the spending and not overspend on any one category.

If you want an all-around, full experience, then you must follow a fixed budget with set amounts for each activity and need. This way, everything gets covered.

4. Track Your Funds Daily

So you planned for a week, right? Then you must make sure that your money lasts for seven days. Don’t get caught off guard. It happens. People suddenly have to cut their vacations short because there are not enough funds to spend for the next days.

Total your expenses daily. Know how much money is on-hand at the end of each day. If you’re running short on cash, decide to cancel tomorrow’s booking at a restaurant. Buy groceries and cook your food at home. Make adjustments like this and you’ll be surprised at how well you can stretch your budget to last the whole vacation time.

5. Estimate and Save for Big Expenses

A big chunk of vacation expenses often goes to primary vacation needs, like air travel, hotel accommodations, and food. It takes the stress off of the financial planning when you estimate and save for those well in advance.

If you want to take a vacation for a school or work break, a wedding anniversary, or a holiday, then research destinations, flights, and accommodation months before that. Total that and have a set amount you will save per day for those.

Once you’ve completed pooling the funds, why not make the purchases and bookings now? This way, all that’s left to spend on later are the activities and additional expenses that come up during the trip. That lowers the costs big time.

6. Make the Cheaper Choice Between Two Options

In everything, compare and choose the cheaper option. Is staying at a hotel or Airbnb cheaper? Is taking a flight or making the long drive cheaper? Is eating at this restaurant or that cheaper? Don’t just settle for one thing. Research, gather options. Then make the cheaper choice — more information here.

7. Take Advantage of Early Bird Offers and Combo Discounts

Explore ways to save. Getting tickets early will likely earn you a discount. Some companies offer flight and accommodation bundle promotions. Do that if totals will run cheaper than getting flight tickets and accommodation separately.

8. Follow These Sensible Money Saving Strategies

  1. Take your vacation during the off-peak season. Flights and accommodations are in less demand and therefore, cheaper.
  2. Avoid tourist spots. Like, eat outside the city district where tourists flock.
  3. Have snacks ready in your bag. This can really lower your food budget.
  4. Limit souvenirs purchases. Choose to spend on experience instead.
  5. Forego checked-in baggage. Travel light and save on baggage costs.
  6. Choose indirect flights. Avoid direct flights if you have time to spare.

Remember, you can experience an extravagant and fun-filled vacation without spending a lot of money. Prioritize your experiences and adjust your spending on everything else.

Image by Johanna Ljungblom