How To Save Money On Vacation – A Complete Guide

Everyone looks forward to taking a vacation, whether that time comes once every few years or a few times per year. However, taking a vacation costs money, sometimes a great deal of it. Therefore, part of your planning process must include tips to save money while taking any trip.

This article deals with how to save money on vacation. The money-saving tips here include things such as setting up a vacation fund, electing for the cheapest places to travel to, as well as using your credit card with care while on any trip. 

Rest assured, this article reveals ideas that can work whether you choose to vacation in New York City or Paris. Of course, generally, there are different tips for saving money while on vacation. However, we split our suggestions into two categories: saving money while planning for the trip and steps to save money while at the destination. Dig in for an exciting experience!

Saving Money On Your Next Vacation

How to Save Money When Planning a Vacation

A successful vacation actually starts well before you pack up your stuff. You first have to make proper arrangements before embarking on the trip at all. There are tips you can employ to ensure that you have some of your vacation savings still leftover, even at the end of your trip. Here are some of them:

Save Money On Vacation - Planning

Research Vacation Costs

The first step to save money while on vacation is to identify what the trip could cost you. This will help you realize how much to save and how to properly make your budget. It can also help you parse your expectations, decide if you will share costs with someone else, etc.

Doing your research entails checking out travel expenses such as the restaurants and hotels in the trip destination, considering the community calendars of the location in question to make sure the period isn’t a festive season, and finally considering the tourist attractions in the area and whether you have to pay to access them. A key preliminary activity to carry out is research. Everything else naturally flows down and comes together beautifully afterward. You can also use an app, like the Hopper App, to help see what the best deals and times are for flights and accommodations.

Create a Budget

The next (logical) step after doing preliminary research is crafting a budget. Creating a budget is one of the indispensable money-saving tips you can apply. Your vacation budget should capture all of the expenses you discovered during your research.

Be concise and specific while developing your budget. For instance, instead of creating a vague food budget, you could rather budget specifically for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Furthermore, you may want to get an app to make things easier. There are different budget apps available at the moment, with each catering to specific needs. You can get one to make the process seamless such as YNAB, PocketGuard, or Every Dollar

Save, Bearing in Mind the Cost of Living

One way to save money while preparing for a vacation is actually saving. It would hardly make sense carrying out your research, crafting a budget, and then resting on your oars. You should take steps to start saving on time. If you frequently vacation, you may want to open an entirely different bank account for that purpose. If not, your regular savings account should do.

Bearing your budget in mind, you can set aside some money each month. Again, a budget app can help you with savings here. If you have a vacation fund account, you can make the arrangement such that money moves straight from your savings account or checking account to it. An automated process will make it a lot easier.

As stated earlier, your actions should be thorough and comprehensive, so you ought to make sure that all your itemized costs are covered. For instance, if you save just enough money to pay your hotel bills, without enough to pay for your meals, you’ll find yourself having a hunger-filled trip.

Choose Cheap Vacation Destinations

The intended destination plays a huge role in determining how much you save/spend on a vacation. Thus, it would help if you were sure that you have your destination locked in from the start. While researching places to vacation, cost should be top on your list. You may also want to consider the home currency of the location if it is outside of your resident country, the exchange rate, etc. You should also consider places with exciting and inexpensive tourist attractions such as walking tours.

While looking for cheap options, avoid vacationing in the ski season when the hotel rooms would be fully booked. Also, search for Getty images of any destination you have in mind. This will reveal whether there is a mismatch between reality and expectation. Always leave open the possibility that you could change any unfavorable destination.

Consult Travel Experts

Consulting travel experts may not seem like a smart move at all, but it could be. A travel expert can help you avoid or reduce the expenses you make while on a trip. They usually have a lot of experience with the process, so they’d know a lot about favorable travel dates, how to get the cheapest plane tickets, and might even direct you to a site to book cheap hotel rooms. You can check out travel experts on social media. 

Plan Like a Student

The summary of all of the discussions under this section is that you should plan like a student. Students typically always look for inexpensive options. Hence, you should be looking for the best vacation deals, whether it relates to hotel rooms, breakfast discounts, etc.

It could also be a good idea to get a side hustle while you are at it. Making more money is one way to have more funds available to fund your vacation. Several options exist, such as freelance writing, joining a ride-hailing service, and so on. You could also raise money through a yard sale. 

How to Save Money While on Vacation

You do not want to blow through your vacation savings after being careful with your travel plans. Thus, you have to make sure that you also cut costs and save money when you get to your destination. Truly, some of the things that will be helpful here have been covered in part in the previous section.  However, here are a few specific tips you can employ to save money while on vacation.

How To Save Money On Vacation - Cut Costs

Plan Each Meal

If you are used to cooking your food at home, there’s no reason that should change because you are on vacation. Generally, whether you are at home or not, limiting how often you eat out is one of the tips for cutting down on expenses. Thus, if you have the means to prepare something for yourself, there is no need to go to restaurants to purchase a meal.

However, if your vacation location makes this impossible, you can cut down on eating out without eliminating that option. Even when you do, carefully peruse the menu and select the least expensive options. Besides, get a water bottle and carry water around with you. Also, have granola bars handy in case you get hungry. Here, instead of paying for a meal, you can quench your hunger with a snack.

Consider Cheap Accommodation

Accommodation is an important consideration when looking to reduce expenses while on vacation. This is because your comfort is of utmost importance, regardless of the other tips you employ to save money.  Thus, if you want to check out hotels, find out if they have discount deals on any hotel room they rent out.

You may also want to confirm if your credit card company has any deals with the hotel. Credit card companies sometimes liaise with a hotel to rent rooms at subsidized rates for cardholders. People take advantage of it. Instead of paying for everything with your credit card or debit card, you can get rewards for using affiliate hotels.

Consider Alternative Accommodation Arrangements

Most people are unaware of the fact that staying at a hotel is not the only accommodation option available. You can check out if Airbnb works in the location you are traveling to. Alternatively, you may also consider staying with friends or family.

For the first option, you stay in someone’s house and pay them for using their space. In addition, some companies run Airbnb businesses. They build apartments and lend to vacationers. This option is often preferable because it is cheaper and hence can save money. Also, staying with a friend or family member reduces the overall cost of your vacation.

Choose a Cheap Means of Transportation

Transportation is one of the seemingly inescapable costs that come with taking a vacation. This is especially important when traveling from your home to the vacation location. Based on your budget, you can either book a flight or commute via road transport.

Before making any commitment, however, you need to identify the best flight deals. Booking a few months in advance is also a great idea. Plane rides are fun, but using a car for the trip is also not bad. You can even take road trips while at it. Surely, this contributes to the fun you would experience while on vacation.

Use Car Rentals

Apart from the initial cost of transportation costs, you may have to make further arrangements for mobility while on trips. One way to save money here too is by using car rentals. A rental car could most likely be less expensive than taking public transportation. Car rental companies are quite popular, there are the common brick and mortar rental places and then there are also apps like Turo and HyreCar. Some even make available discount codes for any vacation rental car a user chooses. You thus have the duty to find out what works for you and stick to it.

Free Activities

You may be planning to go on sightseeing while on vacation. There is nothing wrong with this. However, do bear in mind that you have to pay in most cases to access good places. However,  a way to cut down on the money you spend on this activity is by identifying and going for free events. Go to the site of any place you want to visit, and confirm if they give free or discounted entries. You could also work with the locals. They will be in the best position to tell you about the free activities they have. You could then go for those, saving money that way.

Conclusion: Save Money On Vacation

Spring break reminds people to start saving money for a vacation. However, beyond stowing away money for the trip, you also need to employ other great practices such as crafting a travel budget, finding the best restaurants, and other things.


You’ve read all you need to know to have a cheap and satisfying vacation experience, so go and get booking!

Kevin Martin

Kevin is an ambitious entrepreneur that is obsessed with all things related to finance. From a young age, Kevin has always been involved with side hustles ranging from online selling to freelance work. Over the years, Kevin graduated from side hustles and started launching multiple online and offline businesses. Kevin is a serial entrepreneur who loves starting new businesses and exploring all things related to business and finance. He is constantly looking for new ways to save money, invest money, and create income streams.

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