Is a Vacation Too Expensive for your Tiny Budget?

Mounting fuel costs have made travel more expensive than it used to be. A few cost-saving measures can help you to have a great vacation – even on a limited budget.

Hydration Economics

If you have done any research, you know that you shouldn’t drink local water when you travel. However, bottled water can take a significant chunk out of your wallet. Stock up on water at a discount department store before you leave. If you travel frequently, you might want to invest in reusable water bottles. Fill them at home, and take as much store-bought water as you can as well – while remaining within baggage weight restrictions. Check airline restrictions on liquids if you will be travelling by air.

Local Currency Exchange

You will always get the best exchange rates if you use a credit card or ATM machine. Alternatively, you can exchange money in a bank. Local stores and money changers are not likely to give you a good exchange rate. Sometimes their charges are exorbitant. An added plus for credit card purchases is the neatly organized statement you will have when you get back home.

Never Fly with Overweight Luggage

Always – always – always – be aware of airline weight restrictions. Sometimes they are very limiting. You can check the internet for specific regulations. Use a good scale to weigh your baggage (then reweigh) before you leave for the airport. Overweight luggage can be very expensive.

The Best Time to Travel

Avoid travel on weekends or during peak tourism season. The definition of ‘peak season’ will vary by country and hemisphere. Accommodations and tickets will be more expensive when everyone else wants to travel. Look for off season deals and discounts. If you’re not sure when off season is, find a bed and breakfast in your destination city and look at their website. They will probably have a range of rates that changes according to season.

Food is Expensive

Save money on meals by staying at a bed and breakfast. Free breakfast fare can range from continental to a full, hot-cooked meal with a multi-choice menu. (Some inns also have packages that include lunch and supper.) Conserve further by picking up lunch supplies at a local grocery store. Inexpensive suppers are available at McDonalds (with branches in over 100 countries).

Kids have Big Appetites

If you have kids, try to find a hotel with a ‘kids stay and eat free’ program. Some bed and breakfasts have packages for kids. However, many do not allow young children.

Barter with the Airlines

Use the internet to research airfares. Find the best deals and make printouts. Purchase your tickets through the cheapest website, or contact the airline’s toll-free number. If they don’t offer a matching fare, ask them to meet or beat the internet price. You may have to fax a printout or two – but it will be well worth the savings.

Cash, Student, and Corporate Discount Rates

Be sure to carry student or corporate ID with you. You may be eligible for a discount. (10% to 15% discounts are common.) Present your ID or business card at check-in and ask for a rate reduction. Small inns and hotels may be willing to offer a discount if you pay via cash instead of credit card. Credit card processing fees for a small company may run around 5%.

You are in Control

Seize the opportunity, research your options, and have a great worry-free vacation!

©Copyright Kathy Steinemann: This article is free to publish only if this copyright notice, the byline, and the author’s note below (with active links) are included.

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