Most of us would love to travel to exotic locations around the globe while experiencing new cultures and fantastic cuisine. Our bank accounts, however, may not always cooperate. Having a limited income doesn't have to be a problem if you know the secrets to traveling on a budget. The following are five great tips for making the most of your vacation while sticking to a budget.
Go online and check out all the restaurants and activities in the area you'll be vacationing. Look at reviews, prices, and distance from the hotel and then plan out a detailed itinerary ahead of time. When people are in an unfamiliar area they often stop at the first place they see when they're hungry or tired. This can turn out to be a costly mistake. For those free-spirited types who like to be adventurous, planning every last detail may not sound like much fun. But look at it more as a back-up plan. You can always steer off course if something better comes along, but it takes the pressure off knowing you have inexpensive restaurants and activities ready if you need them.
Think Outside the Box
Look for hotels and places to visit that don't normally cater to leisure travelers. An example would be choosing a hotel that normally caters to business travelers. Since business travel tends to take place Sunday through Thursday, some of these hotels may offer deeper discounts on the weekend. Or you can ditch the hotel altogether. Hostels are becoming more popular and there are lots of options available. Thinking outside of the box also means traveling off season. Once you're there, you'll enjoy a tropical island just as much in July as you would in December. The only difference is that it will be cheaper and likely less crowded.
Stay Close to Home
You don't necessarily have to go far to enjoy new experiences while vacationing. The four largest cities in the United States; New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Houston, are literally on opposite sides of the country. If visiting a large city is your thing, at least one of the big four is probably less than a day's drive away. If small towns and gorgeous countryside is more your thing, campsites and parks are plentiful from coast to coast.
Pay Attention to the Little Things
People often get nickel-and-dimed on little things throughout their vacation that they either don't need or could have saved a ton of money on. For starters, skip the souvenirs. Shot glasses and T-shirts are cute, but they're usually things you won't use much once you get home. Wherever you're going, be sure to check out anything that's free. Parks, beaches, and local entertainment are usually free or inexpensive to enjoy.
Book the Old Fashioned Way
Nearly everyone books flights and hotels online now, that's why some great deals are missed. Call the hotel directly, not through a 1-800 number, and talk to a manager who may have the authority to give you a better price. Asking for a room "without" a view or one near the back of the hotel may get you a better deal as well. If you do decide to book online, look into several sites, not just the few that are well-known. Some of the budget airlines aren't connected with the high-profile sites.