Spring break is right around the corner. You may be ready for some time away but concerned about the budget. Not to worry: there are many ways to create an affordable getaway while staying on track with your savings goals.
Just like savings goals, vacations need planning. Whether you’re considering a road trip or staycation, research the city in advance then create a daily agenda that pairs activities with nearby restaurants. If your company offers employee perks, check the plan for discounts on lodging, transportation, and activities!
Get organized with a packing list, so you don’t forget toiletries which may cost more at gift shops. Hotel breakfasts can be limited and expensive. Bringing fruit and breakfast bars from home is a simple and healthy alternative.
When booking a room, aim for a walkable, central location to minimize transportation costs. Small, family-run inns are usually inexpensive and comfortable. When staying at a chain hotel, call the reservation desk directly. They are likely to discount rooms close to the check-in date, especially Sunday nights which frequently go unfilled. Be sure to check their social media accounts for package deals. Finally, consider a room with a kitchenette. A quick trip to the grocery for snacks and light meals is a great money-saver!
Hit the Streets
Ride-sharing services can add up quickly. Ask hotel staff if they offer a free shuttle. Or, experience the city like a local and utilize public transportation. Better yet, rent a bicycle and get a little exercise while you see the sights!
If you rent a car, understand your options for refueling and return. Save money by checking your credit card and auto insurance policies for rental coverage. When possible, avoid airport rental locations, and bring your GPS and child car seats. Finally, be sure to check the hotel rates for overnight parking.
Visit the local farmer’s market for fresh fruits and veggies, artisan bread, and cheeses for snacks or lunch on the go. Food trucks are another fun, and economical way to enjoy local cuisine, plus smaller meals are good when exploring a city on foot or bicycle. Don’t forget to bring a reusable water bottle and refill it throughout the day!
See the Sights
Check in with the local chamber of commerce or convention and visitor’s bureau. Their community calendars showcase fun, free options like festivals, concerts, and movie screenings in the park. Deal-of-the-day websites offer great bargains but don't forget to read the fine print for rules or restrictions.
Many aquariums, museums, and zoos offer discounts for purchasing tickets in advance and free admission on select days. City guidebooks and passports are a terrific resource for discounts to attractions in metropolitan areas, but self-guided walking tours allow you to learn about the culture and see the sights for free!
Avoid tourist traps like gift shops and street vendors. Focus on creating memorable experiences instead. After all, photos are the best souvenirs!
By planning and making smart choices, you can enjoy a fun vacation without diverting from your savings goals.