Are you thinking about traveling this summer? This summer, plan a budget-friendly vacation with these travel tips designed to stretch your budget and give you affordable trip options across North Carolina and elsewhere.
These tips can help you save money and improve your financial wellness.
Tip #1: Use Money-Saving Apps on Road Trips
Save money on the price of gas with the help of your mobile phone. Apps such as Gas Buddy, Gas Guru, Waze or others are designed to help you find the lowest gas price near you. And some of them actually save you money on gas by using them. Also, make sure to sign up for your grocery store gas rewards program to take additional money off at the pump. Most programs allow you to accumulate rewards throughout the month on items you purchase already. Timing your road trip before your points expire can give you healthy savings on your next tank of gas by reducing the price per gallon of gas.
Tip #2: Consider Flexible Travel Dates
During the summer months airfare, hotel or vacation home reservations often command higher rates. That said, there are a few ways to help score affordable accommodations and flights for your trip by being flexible on travel dates. Road trips can provide the most flexible choices to take advantage of budget-saving options. In general, mid-week travel can be more budget-friendly than weekend dates. And many boutique lodging places or online vacation rentals (VRBO) offer discounted rates for longer stays.
For those who want to get to your destination faster with airfare, look at travel calendars on airline booking sites. Some airlines list the price of fares for each day of the month. You can see how much money you will save by leaving earlier or later than originally planned. Also, travel experts recommend booking airfare on Tuesdays because you can lock-in rates before weekly rate increases take effect.
Tip #3: Look for Bundle Deals
Online travel sites such as Orbitz or Expedia offer discounts for booking all of your travel needs in one place. From fuel-efficient rental cars to the perfect vacation rental or hotel room, take time to plan your needs and bundle costs where you can. This package concept can apply to beach or mountain activities and dining specials, too. If you don’t see package or bundle options, just ask. Many locations are working extra hard to bring visitors back to their properties. There could be a deal to be had. You never know until you ask.
Tip #4: Cost-share with Friends or Family
Rental homes are the best place to use this strategy. You can get a larger home, closer to your ideal location for less money per family. For example, a $1000 week-long stay split among three families is less than $350 per family. That is a savings of more than $600 that can be used for another trip or added to your savings. This cost-share model can scale up or down depending on the number of people and vacation rental, camping site or hotel accommodation.
Tip #5: Bring Snacks and Easy to Prepare Meals
For many people, the thought of cooking on vacation is a deal-breaker. For those who are budget conscious, there is a better way with some basic meal planning that can save you a lot of money. Eating out every night can add several hundred dollars to the cost of your vacation. If you are staying in a vacation rental, think about planning a few main meals and reusing the ingredients for left-over meals. Also, traveling with friends or another family can help share the cost of meals to significantly cut food costs. If you are staying in a hotel, you can focus on saving money with snacks. Buy them in bulk and make your own snack bags to share. Bringing your own food, either in full or in part, will help save you money.
From the mountains to the shore, make your North Carolina (or other destinations) summer vacation more enjoyable with money-saving choices to help stretch your budget. Using these tips, you may even be able to enjoy a few smaller getaways this summer.
Disclaimer: You + Money posts are provided for informational purposes only and not intended to replace the advice of a financial, legal or accounting advisor.