There’s been a resurgence in travel for business and personal leisure in 2023 as more Americans return to their ‘new normal’ following a global pandemic. Booking.com polled Americans on preferred vacations and 88 percent would favor a nostalgic getaway, while 80 percent would prefer a community-minded trip, or a destination that will not blow the budget.
While fall and the holidays are a great time to plan a vacation, they also are some of the most expensive months to book a flight, hotel, or a rental car. With a bit of planning, you can enjoy a trip that provides years of memories without lingering debt.
How to Travel Frugally
Below are some suggestions for frugal travel from the Travel Channel:
- Travel during the off-season – Tours, lodging, and even food is often discounted during the travel “off-seasons”. Consider trekking through Europe in the winter or visiting the Caribbean during the summer and early fall months (although this is considered hurricane season, so travel with caution!).
- Fly on an off-peak day or time – Flights generally cost much less on a Monday or Tuesday than they do on Thursdays or Fridays. Also keep in mind that the second flight of the day is less expensive than the first.
- Skip hotels – Hotel rates tend to go up around popular travel times, such as holidays. Research all options in your desired location, considering nearby restaurants, attractions, and amenities. Sometimes, booking a private home through a service like Airbnb can save you money while also giving you a “home away from home” environment.
- Avoid renting a car – Make a point of researching your destination’s public transportation or ridesharing app capabilities ahead of time. If you’ll be going to a major metro area, you may be able to get around more easily on foot and by public transportation which makes the trip less expensive and more fun.
- Eat a fancy lunch – If you are planning to have one “fancy” meal a day on your vacation, make sure to have that meal at lunch rather than dinner. Many restaurants have lunch dishes similar or identical to their dinner menus for a lower cost. In Europe, multi-course lunch specials are common and affordable. Skip the cocktails and buy a bottle of wine to enjoy when you return to your accommodations.
- Use coupons for attractions – Many major cities have a “City Pass” option which gets you entry to up to five major attractions at a significant discount. Make sure you have time to visit all the attractions before you shell out money for these passes which can be $100+.
While you are daydreaming about your next bucket-list vacation or road trip, review your weekly and monthly budget. Are there items you can do without while putting money aside for that trip? Create a plan before you embark or keep your budget just a click away by checking out a few of the best budgeting apps for travelers according to Smarter Travel: