Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by PSECU, a Pennsylvania-based credit union.
Everyone needs time away from the daily grind to relax, recharge and recuperate from the pressures of life. But way too many Americans skip the annual trip — over half of all Americans leave their vacation days to linger unused while they push themselves harder in the workplace. That leads to burnout, lack of job satisfaction and lower overall productivity.
One primary reason many give for staying home versus getting away involves the high costs associated with travel. But travel doesn’t have to break the family budget!! By saving smartly ahead of time and seeking the best deals when booking, nearly everyone can afford a much-needed getaway!
Moonlight a Bit
Taking on a second job may feel like the last thing a burned-out worker needs, but temporary moonlighting can boost a travel budget significantly. Plus, knowing the second job is only temporary helps people psychologically power through a month or two of long workdays.
Fortunately, getting a second job doesn’t even need to mean leaving the house, given technological advances. Speedy typists can easily locate work-from-home transcription gigs. Those with a college degree can pick up extra income tutoring online.
People who need to get dressed in work clothes to motivate themselves may find driving for Uber or Lyft quickly pads a vacation budget. Adore children? No rule says only people aged 18 and younger can babysit!
Just Work It
Many companies today allow telecommuting, and those who work in such businesses can take advantage of that flexibility to do a bit of sight-seeing while taking their job along with them!
In addition, some industries work well with those who also enjoy a touch of wanderlust. For example, those with university degrees in English or education can easily fund a year or more abroad simply by teaching overseas. Other professions that lend themselves well to travelers include flight attendant and cruise ship fitness instructor or massage therapist.
Parents with large families, especially those with teenagers, know the cost of groceries quickly depletes their biweekly paycheck. But families of all sizes save money when they buy in bulk, so go ahead and make that Costco run!
When buying food in bulk for smaller families, look for shelf-stable snacks or resealable frozen meals. That way, items won’t spoil before the time comes to use them.
As a bonus, Costco executive members can take advantage of a wealth of travel bargains as part of their membership! Be sure to swing by customer service while shopping to learn about the best deals.
Consider a House Swap
Services such as MindMyHouse match pet-loving house sitters with families across the globe who need temporary house-sitting help. It allows travelers to stay at their vacation destination on the skinny in exchange for watering houseplants and walking Fido. If you don’t mind adding a chore or two while you’re away, this option can help you live for two weeks in Paris for a fraction of what you’d pay in hotel fees.
In addition, services such as VRBO and Airbnb offer wanna-be travelers an opportunity to earn extra cash if they have a spare bedroom or two in their home. Savvy travelers seek these services to find lower-cost fares, especially for business-related travels. As a bonus, opening one’s home to strangers allows for exposure to those of different cultures, and may even inspire travels to a destination not previously considered.
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Like and Follow
Have a favorite airline or hotel chain? Make sure to like and follow them on social media to take optimal advantage of last-minute travel bargains.
Often, when hotels and flights have many openings remaining, they’ll advertise flash sales on social media. These budget-friendly sales go fast, so connecting on social media allows smart travelers to receive alerts the moment the unsold rooms or seats go up for sale on the cheap.
Download the App
Tons of travel apps exist today to make planning and saving for your dream vacation easier than ever before. Apps such as iBotta pay users back when cheaper deals on everyday purchases pop up elsewhere. Apps such as Acorns allow you to save spare change easily by rounding up each purchase to the nearest dollar and investing the remainder in stocks and mutual funds to help your money grow quickly.
Scoop up the Freebies
Those seeking to travel on a dime do well to look out for travel freebies to pad their itineraries without adding extra costs. For example, many national parks have free days where park rangers waive entrance fees. Check the websites for attractions nearby that offer free or discounted entrance fees.
Dig for Discounts
Companies love to honor veterans for their service by offering discounts, so those who have proudly served should check for such bargains. Also, hotels, airlines, restaurants, museums and more provide cheaper rates for children and seniors. Take advantage of these fares when booking travel plans for the entire family.
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Check for Fees
Budget airfares may entice travelers into spontaneous weekend getaways, but exercise caution when scooping up rock-bottom airline tickets. When airlines fail to make enough money on ticket prices alone, they creatively sneak in tons of hidden fees to recoup those costs. A budget seat costing $35 less may not allow for carry-on luggage, and checked baggage fees add up quickly.
Check and use Skyscanner to check the CHEAPEST FLIGHT DEALS
Pack a Tent
Yearning to get out of the city but lack the money for a hotel? Camping offers hardy travelers a way to stay for free!
Many destinations feature campgrounds with various types of amenities such as bathrooms and indoor showers. In addition to tent camping, travelers may wish to check with friends who own RVs so they can travel in style. Just be sure to budget enough money for gas, as many RVs guzzle fuel like water.
Eat Out Early
Many restaurants serve nearly identical items on both their lunch and dinner menus and the only real difference lies in portion size and price. As few can consume heartier dinner portions anyway, why not save money while traveling by opting to dine out for lunch instead of dinner? In addition to saving money, nosh on leftovers for a later dinner treat.
Go Grocery Shopping
Buying food from the grocers costs far less than dining out, and those staying at AirBNB’s and the like often have access to kitchens well-stocked with cooking supplies. Take a stroll through the local farmer’s market for great prices on fresh produce and stock up on stables by making a store run. Use the money you save to spend an extra day on holiday!
Hit up Relatives and Friends
No, this doesn’t mean calling dear old ma to ask for a loan. However, those fortunate enough to have friends and family who live near popular vacation destinations can stay for free simply by couch-surfing a bit.
Social media connects more people around the globe than ever before, so don’t overlook your Facebook friends list. Even people you don’t know well often relish the opportunity to meet one of their online friends in real life, so don’t be shy when reaching out to ask about a potential stay. Alternately, post on social media that you’re looking for a place to stay on holiday and let your friends extend offers to you.
Many cruise companies have adopted airline-esque tricks when it comes to getting passengers to spend extra money. While many cruises bill themselves as all-inclusive, inquire ahead of time as to what services are included in the ticket price.
Some cruises offer all-you-can-eat food and all-you-can-drink beverages in the ticket price. Many cruises charge extra for fitness classes or spa services. In addition, when the cruise makes port, remember that souvenirs from the mainland are never part of the ticket price.
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Don’t overlook the power of travel rewards credit cards! Travelers with discipline in financial matters can quickly amass enough miles for free trips by exercising shopping savvy.
Research the best travel rewards card for you. Travelers who value the maximum in flexibility when deciding where to spend reward miles benefit from cards such as the Capital One Venture card. Travelers who favor or who exclusively choose certain airlines do best to sign up for a card directly through that airline to gain miles each time they fly, as well as each time they spend.
Use travel rewards cards for daily necessities, such as toilet tissue and milk, then pay off the card immediately. With today’s ability to instantly pay bills online, transferring money from your bank account to your credit card takes mere seconds after returning from a shopping excursion. By using your travel credit card for everyday items, then immediately paying down the balance, you amass major miles but not major interest charges.
Up and Away
Hardworking Americans desperately need to take advantage of vacation time to boost productivity and mood, but many miss out on their chance to see the world due to cost restrictions. However, by budgeting smart and taking advantage of bargains, folks with budgets of all sizes can get away for needed R&R.
We hope that would help you to plan and be more creative on how you can save money on your travels.