Are you ready to get out of town but need to be careful with your spending? With a little creative thinking, you can plan a getaway that’s both affordable and entertaining.
Here’s how to take a weekend trip that is easy on your wallet but big on fun.
Grab Deals Spontaneously
One of the most interesting and adventurous ways to find an affordable getaway is to surf travel websites and simply snag the best deals. By remaining open-minded and flexible about destinations, Lifehacker points out you can save substantially on airfare. A word of warning: This means you need to be prepared to leave at the drop of a hat. Plan to only pack a carry-on bag so you can avoid baggage fees. Have that bag packed and ready with your essentials, and know what you will do with your mail and any work obligations before you make the commitment. Also, if you’re a dog owner, you’ll want to give your pooch special consideration. Do some research through reliable pet service sites so you are familiar with local options. Responsible and affordable pet care is out there, whether you opt for a sitter or boarder.
Planning a road trip is a great way to break up your routine, and if you do some thinking ahead, you can likely find some wonderful destinations within a short distance. One suggestion is to weigh how far you would want to drive at the end of your workday on Friday evening and do some advance scouting. You might be pleasantly surprised by the bargains within just a few hours, such as theaters and museums, state parks, and special events. Some attractions offer free days and discount days and times, so do your research in that regard as well. Consider exploring a city you that’s new to you, or take in some walking or driving tours. You might even let lodging prices determine your decision — just narrow your selection to a few destinations, check prices, and book your room. You can even pack a cooler to save money on food.
Split the Trip with a Friend
You can really stretch your travel budget by splitting expenses with other travelers. Why not gather a group? Be forewarned: Whenever you make getaway plans with friends, you need to communicate up front about expenses. As Chime explains, you want to ensure all of your friends are in agreement about your destination, activities, and budget. There is nothing worse than having to leave someone at the hotel room because an activity is beyond their funds.
Eating on the Cheap
It can be all too easy to overspend on food when you’re traveling. One suggestion for saving money on your meals is to avoid tourist areas and look for restaurants off the beaten path. Look for the hole-in-the-wall the locals are flocking to, or better yet, ask some locals where the best food is and you’re sure to find some gems. You can also hit the grocery store to pick up a few snacks. Keeping your appetite in check will help keep spending in check, too.
Aim for the Off-Season
If you’re planning the details of your trip in advance, Money Crashers points out that waiting until the off-season can help you save substantially. Peak season can vary by location, so if you have a particular destination in mind, research when the busy times of year are since that’s when prices will be highest. Along those same lines, inquire about special events. Conventions, sporting events, festivals, and other activities can trigger spikes in tourism and prices.
Planning a budget-friendly weekend getaway is very doable with some clever strategies and a great attitude. Be open-minded and make the trip about the adventure. With a little creativity, you can stretch your travel dollars and have a wonderful, refreshing time.
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Booking a Flight. When finding cheap flights, we try a combination of search engines to ensure we’re not missing out on the best deals. We use SkyScanner, Expedia, Kiwi.com, Kayak, and Google Flights, then compare them to the prices shown on the airlines’ website.
Booking an Accommodation. We prefer staying in hotels. Booking.com is our favorite when it comes to finding the cheapest rate. Again, it won’t hurt to check the hotel’s main website. They usually offer discounts for booking directly with them. For last-minute booking, check out HotelTonight. There are also other types of accommodation like Airbnb, hostel (Hostelworld has the largest inventory), and Couchsurfing.
Sightseeing & Tours. We like DIY tours – it gives you freedom and flexibility. You can take advantage of the CityPass and Sightseeing Pass. But we have joined in several tours that maximized our time and made our trip easier. Feel free to check out Intrepid, and Trusted Tours & Attractions for discounted offers.
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