Vacation is all I ever wanted. It’s a chance to get away. And it can be spent with or without other people. But what do you do when you want to take a vacation but all you can find are resorts that charge an arm and a leg or five-star hotels that don’t live up to the billing?
Enter budget vacations. I think everyone remembers college, cramming four or five people into a car and heading to a beach, or mountains, or if you’re in the Midwest cornfields. No frills, no bells or whistles; just a nice time spent with friends or family without bankrupting yourself.
So, in that vein, here are three tips for taking a budget vacation. Let it be known that they won’t apply to everyone but everyone should be able to take something away from them.
Let’s start with Number One: Use the Internet to Your Advantage. Every traveler needs to know how to use the internet to their advantage, and by that I mean websites that are designed to find you the cheapest possible vacation element, whether those are flights, hotels, or other arrangements.
Kayak, in particular, does a good job and even offers you the option of comparing search results to those from other travel websites. But there is also Hotels.com, Travelocity, Priceline, Bookit.com, and more.
The idea behind these sites is simple: Search all the flights or hotels in an area to find the one that suits your budget. Use them to find the most affordable option for you.
Number Two: Choose Your Destination Carefully. A trip to the Big Apple is probably going to cost more than a trip to Champaign, Illinois. Ask yourself—what am I looking to do and what are my options? Travelocity is a particularly good website for this. Under the “deals” section, it lists specific cities and a certain package with variables such as how many people and how many nights are offered.
If nothing else, check out this article by Budget Travel, located on CNN’s website. It lists the 10 best budget vacations for spring. The list includes the Great Smoky Mountains National Park to Washington, D.C., and even Montreal, Canada, and the Dominican Republic if you want to go the international route.
Finally, Number Three: Avoid the Seduction Trap. It’s easy to get sucked into the sheer amount of data at your fingertips and even easier to be seduced by spectacular pictures of beaches and mountains and cities on these websites. Refrain. Don’t do it. You have your budget, right? What you can spend and what you can’t. Adhere to it. This is more of a cautionary tale than anything. A good time is a good time, but at some point you have to return home and it always feels good to have budgeted well-enough to be able to eat afterwards.
That’s all for now, and I’m signing off. Happy budget vacation hunting!
Image via Wikimedia Commons