Everyone needs a holiday every once in a while to get away from the stress and workload at home. The economy is volatile right now and prices are rising everywhere. So, instead of going on vacation many people often end up staying home on their time off. But if you are careful, you can have a great relaxing holiday, that won’t end up costing you the Earth.
1. Research your trip
You need to figure out where you want to go. Figure out what day of the week you will travel. If you plan to leave on a weekday, you can save money. Many airlines these days offer a low-fare calendar to show you how much it costs on the days surrounding your ideal travel date. Plan according to that and you can save hundreds of dollars per person. Plan ahead and figure out how much money you will need on your trip. Then you can create a monthly savings plan to make sure you wont end up relying on your credit card at the last minute.
2. Track your Spending Habits
Take a notebook and write down your daily expenses or track them using a smartphone app such as MoneyBook. Be sure to include your bills because although these are monthly payments coming out, they are still expenses. You will be surprised what you spend the most money on. Some may see they spend too much money on going out to eat at restaurants and some may see they shop too much. Tracking your expenses shows you where your money is going and makes you think twice about any impulse purchases. After looking at your expenses, choose one thing to eliminate per week. This will increase the money you can set aside for your vacation.
3. Stay within your budget and pay yourself
So, let’s say you set aside $100 for groceries, but you only spend $75. You have $25 left over. Take the $25 and use it for your trip, that way you can use a budget for one thing on two things. This makes a world of a difference in the long run. Do not spend the $25 on something you don’t need. Be careful with your money and have a plan.
4. Follow your favourite airlines / hotel booking companies on Twitter
Following your favourite travel companies on Twitter can help you find out about deals and packages quickly and easily. Some companies only put their deals on Twitter because a lot of people will see it. If you watch for deals on Twitter you can get in quickly and beat the hoards of other people also seeking great deals.
5. Plan your trip online
There are many benefits to planning your trip online and very little benefits of going into a travel agent these days. These days if you book your flight online and afterwards you discover a better deal on that same site for the same packaged deal, then you will be refunded the amount overcharged. For example, Travelocity and Orbitz honor this refund. If you book directly with the airline and find a cheaper flight, they will usually issue you a refund, but they will also issue you a rebooking fee that will probably wipe out your refund or at least the majority of it. If you book your hotel in Melbourne with HotelClub for example you can also earn up to 7% in member dollars which you can use towards your very next booking.
6. Packing for your Trip
Packing light can save you money on your trip because you have to think about all of the charges just getting to the airport. If you are travelling with more than one other person and can’t fit all of your bags in one car, you don’t want to have to pay for another cab just to get your bags to the airport. Also, every airline has a different policy, but most allow you one carry on and a purse or briefcase and you have to check your other bags. If you have one bag to check, then sometimes that is free. Most times you have to pay for the second bag to be checked. Packing light can all be advantageous because if your bag is over 15kg, then depending on the airline you can be looking at some pretty hefty excess baggage fees.
Kristy Alexander is a freelance personal finance and travel writer who never pays full price when travelling. When she's not on the road you can find her planning the budget for her next trip.