Summer is coming, which means you might be itching for a vacation. Whether you're already full swing into planning your vacation or you're just dreaming of taking a vacation again some day (with a husband in law school, I identify with the latter), this article will help you cut the costs of your vacation stay.
Now, just as so many of my blog posts begin, when it comes to planning a vacation you must first and foremost make a budget! I know. There I go again preaching about budgets. At this point, you might be thinking, "Budgets don't sound that fun so can you really vacation on a budget?" YES! You can definitely vacation on a budget! In reality, vacationing on a budget is more relaxing and more fun. Why? Because you've decided ahead of time how much you will spend on your vacation. You don’t spend the entire vacation dreading the credit card statement that will be waiting when you get home.
I’m not going to spend this post telling you how to make a vacation budget. If you have questions about that, feel free to email me or check out the Resources tab of our website for more on budgeting. What I want to focus on in this post is how to save money on your vacation stay. Let’s face it, paying full price for a hotel room gets expensive. So, here are some other things to consider when planning a vacation…
Book your hotel through a travel site.
My husband and I really like Expedia. However, there are countless websites dedicated to providing discounted prices on hotel rooms including Priceline, Kayak, and Hotels.com, to name a few. Booking through a travel site will not only get you a discounted price on your hotel room, but you often earn points for booking through the site that you can use on future purchases. There are so many travel sites out there, so be sure to shop around before you book.
Use Ibotta or Ebates to earn even more cash back.
Like I mentioned above, we love using Expedia to book our hotel stays. But what’s even better? When I can launch Expedia from the Ibotta or Ebates app and get cash back on my booking! A few months ago, I booked a 3-night stay through Expedia. I used the Ebates Chrome extension on my computer to ensure that my purchase would qualify for cash back. For that stay, I earned just over $16!
If you travel often, consider signing up for a hotel perks program.
Many hotel chains offer perks programs. One of the most popular hotel perks programs is Wyndham Rewards. This is a program where you are rewarded for staying at any Wyndham location including hotels such as Baymont, Ramada, LaQuinta, and AmericInn, to name just a few. You earn points for your stays and after a certain number of points, you are rewarded with a free hotel stay. If you travel often and stay at hotels within the same chain, a hotel perks program may be the thing for you!
Book your stay with Airbnb.
Never heard of Airbnb? Then, check it out! Airbnb is a website where people can list their properties available for rent - a guest room in their home, a condo, an entire house, a retreat location, a hunting lodge, and much more! There are countless properties for rent on Airbnb, and they are often cheaper than renting a hotel room. If you’re traveling with a group, consider going together to rent a home, rather than booking multiple hotel rooms.
Stay with a friend or family member.
Ok. This is, by far, the cheapest option! Plan a vacation that takes you close to family or friends because, chances are good, they won’t charge you to stay! While you may want to thank your host by leaving a gift card or helping pay for some food during your stay, this option will still cost significantly less than any hotel room...and you can enjoy time with people you love!
There are so many ways to cut down on vacation costs, and cutting costs isn't limited to just where you will stay. Whether you are purchasing airline tickets, booking a place to stay, buying passes for attractions, or trying to decide where you will eat, I encourage you to do your research, shop around, and be intentional about how you spend your money, so that you can make the most of your vacation budget!