By Jesse Clarke of Soulful Travel
Many people put off planning the vacation of a lifetime because of budgeting concerns. But what if you could avoid paying full price for travel, making it more affordable and accessible than ever? Here’s how to save to ensure you always get the best deal on travel of all types.
Don’t Buy Without Searching for Discounts
Whatever you plan to purchase—be it luggage or gear—don’t check out until you search for discounts. Retailers like Macy’s offer promo codes and coupons for all manner of products—ensuring you never pay full price on everything you need for a good trip. You can save more by getting free shipping if you spend more than $99, opening a Macy’s credit card, and earning cash back on purchases on Macy’s products from sites like Rakuten. Read this 19 Ways to Save at Macy’s guide to learn about more ways you can save.
Select a Tour Instead of Driving
With the price of gas—plus vehicle maintenance—you can expect to pay a premium for road travel. The good news is, scheduling a tour often costs significantly less than driving around (and getting lost) on your own. Plus, you can see all the sights, no expert-level knowledge or navigation necessary.
Choose Package Deals When Possible
From bundles that combine flights, hotels, and car rentals to all-inclusive resorts with entertainment packages and dining options, package deals are almost always an excellent purchase. Plus, you save time searching for the perfect itinerary.
Sign Up for a Cash-Back Card
In addition to coupon offers that involve earning cash back, signing up for cash-back credit cards can help pad your pockets for travel. Many credit card companies offer extra point values for specific types of purchases—like travel, groceries, or gas—enabling you to earn more, faster.
Plan Trips in Advance
Instead of going into debt for your vacation—which can more likely happen to millennials than any other demographic, per Access Development—plan ahead to finance your trip. From booking early to planning around holidays (the worst time to travel), thinking ahead can help you cut costs.
Use Price-Matching Benefits
From cruise lines to airlines, many travel industry companies offer price matching features when you book with them. For example, Carnival gives you 48 hours within booking your cruise to find a better deal elsewhere. If you do, Carnival will give you 110 percent of the difference in onboard credit.
Airlines like British Airways, Delta, and American Airlines offer similar price matching features, USA Today highlights, and many hotels and resorts follow suit.
Take Advantage of Membership Benefits
Many companies offer membership benefits that include travel discounts and packages. For example, Costco offers its members exclusive travel packages that aren’t available elsewhere. Most Costco travel bundles include credit toward purchases at your destination, too.
Other companies with exclusive membership benefits include the Disney Vacation Club, AAA, USAA, and even AARP. Even if your membership affiliation only nets you a five percent discount, the savings can add up.
Select Vacation Rentals Rather Than Hotels
With so many affordable vacation rental options available these days, it’s surprising that so many people stick with hotels. Even if you pay extra for a full apartment, condo, or home on your holiday, consider the fact that you can save on food costs if you have access to a kitchen.
Plus, you can save on travel if your vacation rental is centrally located. Unlike hotels, which tend to lie in hotel districts without amenities accessible by foot, many rental properties are in neighborhoods with excellent access to grocery stores, gas stations, and shopping.
However you travel and wherever you’re headed, there are straightforward ways to save on your vacation budget. All it takes is a bit of planning, these insider tips, and the motivation to achieve the best—and most budget-friendly—adventure ever.