Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by PSECU, a Pennsylvania-based credit union.
Summertime is here, and many people are packing up to hit the road on Fourth of July weekend or simply to take a summer vacation. But if you’re on a budget, you may be thinking of staying home this year.
Before you give up your summer holiday plans that quickly, look into options which can make travel less expensive. Everyone needs time to rest and recharge, especially if their credit cards are maxed out and money matters stress them daily. Here are seven tips to make it possible for you to get some needed R&R this warm season without condemning yourself to an autumn spent in the poorhouse.
1. Be Flexible With Dates
If you don’t necessarily have to fly out on a Friday and return on a Monday, you can save a bundle on flights and lodging. Those in the hospitality industry know most people travel on the weekends and they up prices accordingly. if you get paid time off, take it during the workweek when prices tend to drop.
Do your hotel search over the weekend, however. Most people book rooms a few days before departure, meaning advertised prices are highest on Tuesday. The cheapest day to check in? Sunday.
2. Use Your Miles
If you have a rewards travel card, use it wisely! Use your card to buy everyday items, then immediately pay the card down upon returning home from the grocery or department store. This way, you rack up miles quickly without paying a ton of interest.
Be advised many airlines and hotels also offer loyalty programs. You can double the discount by using miles, or you can still save money if your credit prohibits you from getting a rewards credit card.
3. Consider a Travel App
There’s an app for everything nowadays and finding budget travel is no exception. Apps like Airfarewatchdog and Skyscanner help you find the best flight deals even last minute. The AirBNB and HotelTonight apps can help you find last minute lodging on the cheap.
4. Book Plane Tickets on Tuesday
5. Look into Volunteering
Dreaming of backpacking through Europe but lacking the cash for an extended trip? Look into volunteer work exchanges abroad. Such itineraries allow you to explore the destination of your choosing inexpensively or even free. Some programs simply exchange work for lodging; other opportunities also provide a stipend for costs of living such as food, etc.
6. Investigate Alternative Lodging
Sure, posh hotels are nice, but they’re not the best option for budget traveling. Look into alternative lodging. While hostels are not big in the U.S., they proliferate in many European nations.
Staying stateside? Look into housing swaps where you stay at someone else’s home to house sit in exchange for free lodging. Love animals? You can score a sweet pet-sitting gig and indulge your love of four-legged friends while lodging overnight for free.
7. Take Several Short Trips
If you work on an hourly basis and time away from the office means not getting paid, consider taking several shorter weekend trips instead of taking a full week off at once and coming up short on rent at the end of your vacation month. Many workers take off Friday or Monday to make a 3-day weekend trek.
You need not spend the entire time on the road, either. Oftentimes, we fail to visit nearby attractions due to our proximity to them. But traveling to local tourist spots can save you money while allowing you still to enjoy a taste of adventure.
Vacationing on a Shoestring
You don’t need to spend a ton of money to get away this summer. By following the tips above, you, too, can enjoy time away from the office while the weather remains nice. Happy travels!
For more thrifty travel tips, check out PSECU’s helpful graphic!