There are numerous factors to planning a vacation to a new place and the costs can add up as you continue to make your plans. Here are some of the ways I research locations to make our trips are as budget friendly as possible! I say budget friendly loosely, because I know everyone’s budget is different. However, these tips will help you save money on whatever you decide your specific budget is.
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- Look up the average cost to visit the destination
This is important because costs for lodging, food, and transportation can vary from place to place. For example, for a one week trip to London the average cost for a couple is $3,596 versus a one week trip to Budapest, Hungary for a couple is $1,221. Both of these are beautiful cities in my opinion, but if you are planning a trip to Europe you want to research the cities you are visiting so that you are prepared for any cost difference. Direct flights London are typically less expensive because it is such a popular international airport, but you may end up spending a lot on accommodation and food while you stay in London.
We have visited London and thoroughly enjoyed it, I just wanted to give an example of different cities and the costs associated with planning a trip there because it can definitely add up!
If you have your heart set on a certain location but it is out of your current budget then:
- Consider traveling in the off-season
Usually hotels and the things to do in the area are cheaper if you travel during the off-season. Not only that, it will likely be less crowded if you visit not during peak times. We have found some of our best experiences were visiting places in the off-season because it wasn’t crowded and we felt like we had the city to ourselves.
Do make sure you research if things will be open when you visit in the off-season because sometimes areas will close due to off-season weather etc (hello cold winters).
With that being said, if the place you originally wanted to visit is out of budget and off-season traveling is not appealing:
- Be flexible about your travel destination
Being flexible about where you want to travel to has provided us with some of the best flight deals we have ever had. We have visited places we wouldn’t have originally thought of to go, but enjoyed every second! If you use a website like Skiplagged, you can search by timeframe and then sort by price. It is my absolute favorite way to search for flights and usually the first website I go to when booking a trip!
You’d be surprised about the random flight deals and even may find somewhere on the list that is appealing to you within your budget that you wouldn’t have thought of to visit.
On the subject of choosing a travel destination, one big way to save is:
- Choose a nature or outdoors destination
Nature is usually either free or very low cost, you’d likely just be paying for park entrance fees or parking. There are so many beautiful parks in the United States and outside of it where you can lay on the beach, hike, fish, kayak, or camp! I do love exploring cities, but the costs can definitely add up when visiting museums, restaurants, and experiences in a city. Personally, being out in nature is relaxing so its a great way to spend some time off and make memories either by yourself, with your partner, friends, or family!
This next tip correlates with choosing an outdoors vacation:
5. Find free activities to do at that destination
Run a quick internet search looking for festivals, markets, or events that are happening in that destination that you want to explore. You can look up: “free activities in ______” or “events in ______”. Some cities offer free museum entrances for children, teachers, military, etc so look on their websites to see if you can qualify for any of those! I enjoyed walking through the farmers market in Italy to see all of local produce and artisan made goods. We would pick up local ingredients to make our own meals!
This is by no means an extensive list of what you can do to try and save some money while researching where you want to visit. These are just some things to look for when planning your vacation to make awesome memories while staying in your budget!
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