Vacations do not have to be expensive to be memorable. Sure, an all out trip to Hawaii, staying in a five star resort can be nice, but it is not in the budget for most of us. So, what can you do that will be relaxing, fun and won’t break the bank? Let’s take a look.
Camping is one of the least expensive things that you can do to get away. Tents and camping gear are inexpensive and you can often even borrow them from friends or family. Besides the camping gear, your biggest expenses will be the gas to get to the campground and the food. If you don’t want to take out a monthly installment loan for a vacation and are money limited, this is an excellent choice.
Not into the whole “roughing it” thing? Consider renting a cabin then. Cabins can be found in great locations for under $100 a night. This still qualifies as a cheap, budget friendly vacation because almost all of your activities will be free or extremely cheap. Hiking is free, you can rent kayaks or canoes for dollars a day and fishing merely requires a state fishing permit.
Have you ever checked out your city as a tourist? If you are like most people, the average tourist has probably done more in your city than you have. Why not change that and hit up all of the local attractions? Act like a tourist, a tourist with a free place to stay and a free rental car.
Do a search for your city and attractions. Just about every city has a dozen things to do. Hit up historical sites, water parks, amusement parks, museums and don’t forget the zoo. You might be surprised at just how much there is to do in your city and embarrassed that you never took advantage before. Follow up each days activity by going to a restaurant that you have never been to.
Cruises remain a very popular vacation choice. Cruise lines are building bigger and bigger ships with more and more amenities. Ships have water parks, multiple pools and you can even find ones with roller coasters. Sound expensive? Not all of them are, they can be surprisingly cheap. You can find five day Caribbean cruises for as little as $300 a person. To top it off, that price will include most ship amenities and all of your food. The only thing you would have to pay for is alcohol but you can get some great deals on drink packages as well.
If you want to truly stay under budget your biggest obstacle on a cruise is off ship excursions and shopping. There is an easy fix to that though, don’t get off the ship. There is plenty to do on board and when in port, if you stay on the ship, you can get big discounts on extra services. Everyone will be off the boat and ships often discount on board extras like massages and spa treatments at this time. Just ask.
Stay With Friends or Family
Do a quick inventory of your friends and family. If some of them live out of state, why not hit them up for some free room and board. Not that you are just looking for a free stay, of course, you just really want to catch up. Take the opportunity to see the city and maybe have your friend or family member show you around. You might just end up with a fun and cheap vacation with a free tour guide.
Another great option is to just go see the country. There are a lot of small towns with nice attractions. They might not warrant a lengthy stay but a day would be just fine. Ideally you would drive a few hours, check into a hotel and hit the town, then the next day do the same thing. Check out, drive a few hours and check into a new hotel. Hit several locations with your major expenses only being a few hundred dollars in hotel fees and gas of course.
Split The Cost
Want to have an incredible beach vacation without breaking the bank? Do you like the idea of staying right on the water with amenities galore? Go in with another family or friends and rent a beach house. Most of these houses will have 4 bedrooms or more and can easily accommodate multiple couples or even multiple families. You can then divide the cost of the stay amongst yourselves and get a great vacation on the cheap. Split the rent, travel expenses and even groceries to save. Also be sure to check out how to get the best deal on groceries while you are at it.
You can use this concept not only at beaches but at just about every destination in the country. With the growing popularity of Airbnb, there are houses available for rent everywhere in this country and abroad.
Check Discount Sites
Look at discount websites like Groupon and Living Social for deals. There are almost always deals on hotels and rental cars. Score 50% off deals and maybe even more. Dates will often be restricted though so you will need to be flexible with your timeline.
Besides accommodations and travel, you can also find deals on attractions at your destination city. This is especially true with restaurants but you can also find great deals on shows, movies and other sources of entertainment.
If you are a member of a discount club such as Sam’s Club or Costco, be sure to investigate whether they have any deals. Costco is particularly known for their vacation deals so, even if you are not a member, you should check them out. Joining is easy and it will give you immediate access to the deals.
If you really must stay someplace nice and are low on funds, your best option is to book early. Many destinations will give you discounts for booking well in advance. Pick some favorite places and play around with booking fees, to see what kind of discounts they offer for far out dates. You can almost always save a bunch of money over the last minute vacation crowd.
Book Off Season
You are not going to get a deal on Disney in July, but you just might in February. If you have flexibility with when you can travel and don’t have to be at a location during the absolute best season, booking off season can save you thousands of dollars. But, how do you find the off season for your desired destination? Just do an quick search online.