Tips for vacationing on a budget
One of the most common reasons many of us won’t be going away anytime soon is…yes, you guessed it, money.
It seems to be the largest factor even when we are on holiday.
A very frequent question we hear is, ‘how much does a holiday cost?’ That can depend on a number of factors such as where you're going, what time of the year and how many people you are going with. According to Evolution Money the average cost of a holiday for a UK family of four, going away for two week is £4,792!
But in today’s world, with the right knowhow you can honestly have an incredible, amazing holiday on a surprisingly low budget.
Let’s run though our brilliant and practical list of the things to think about both before and during any trip.
Remember, a lot of what we try to do - besides providing high quality and very reliable information - is to show you how, giving you the tools you need to tailor your own unique experiences.
We want you to be confident holidaymakers no matter the frequency, budget or occasion!
A large part of being a great travel planner when it comes to reducing costs, is to think ahead and know where to look and what to choose.
Almost all holiday travel (abroad) will involve at least one flight. In many cases, the single most expensive cost is the price of the plane ticket.
Budget airlines have found a growing place in the travel world and airlines like Ryanair and EasyJet have carved their own lanes when it comes to great destinations at great prices.
Look, you may not be able to recline the whole way back or stretch your legs all the way out, but you will save money - in some cases lots of money - on the flight.
And anyway, we have guides on enduring plane rides so especially if it’s long one, you’ll be able to sail though it no problem!
We think that budget airlines are a great resource and are actually the most popular first choice when it comes to searching amazing flight deals!
Time of the year – off peak is great for price!
July and August are generally the most expensive months for flights and accommodation. This is to be expected as the summer holidays are in and many countries are experiencing the best weather of the year.
December is also an expensive time because of Christmas and the Christmas season.
But the downside is that prices are hiked up in these peak months as businesses capitalise on this travel trend.
Have you considered January? The cheapest travel month. You can find absolutely amazing deals on flights, hotels, tours and all manner of tourist activities in different parts of the world. And some places still have gorgeous weather in January, so this a great time to start dreaming for an amazing holiday!
May, June and September – known as the shoulder months as they are found either side of the peak summer season are also brilliant months to find cheaper holidays but still enjoy the rich holiday vibes, sunshine and you’ll still see smart tourists like yourself enjoy the spoils of a brilliant vacation without the summer price tag!
This months are great to start planning for .
Book as far in advance as possible
Now of course, there are great deals to be had booking last minute. We'd be lying if we said that wasn’t the case.
However, if you aren't as flexible on when you travel, if you have children and can only operate in the school holidays or work requirements, then you could be stuck with irritatingly high prices that you just can’t avoid.
But you can avoid them!
Look at booking as far in advance as you possibly can. 6, 8 12 months or more! Even the peak months will seem very reasonable as you benefit from reduced prices in exchange for early commitment.
Airlines, resorts, hotels, tours and other travel businesses appreciate the early bird, as it gives them customer assurance and they entice/reward that with fantastic prices!
Some of the other benefits are:
- Pay in instalments: many allow you to pay monthly for example, allowing you to spread the cost of your holiday
- Time to stack that travel money! Especially if you have dependants, having more time to save and put something aside takes so much pressure off.
- Time off – as mentioned, work and other commitments can mean it’s harder to get the opening that best suits you. But if you book in advance, you find that you get pretty much free choosing as to when you want time off!
Cheapest holiday destinations
There are many lists when it comes to cheap holiday destinations. It’s hard to really determine this as a cheap flight may not mean a cheap meal when you get there.
But taking into account travel time, flight and accommodation prices (off peak as well as peak season), price of food and our own knowledge of the place and what it has to offer, the top 5 cheapest holiday destinations (in no particular order are):
Between these 5 you will find history, culture, weather, experiences, oceans, mountains, cuisines, experiences and prices that you wouldn’t believe!
Why don’t you book with us, we search the top travel providers all across the world to bring you the most options and the best deals!
Accommodation – cheaper choices
If you struggle to know the difference between the different types of accommodation there are, don’t worry we have you covered. We told you we want you to be informed travel-folk and we meant it!
If you're going in a group or family, then instead of booking separate hotel rooms, why not book an apartment together? It creates a more social vibe and is far lighter on the pockets.
Double hotels rooms are also an option of it’s possible, as it reduces costs and most will only use accommodation to store luggage and sleep!
It’s all about how flexible you're willing to be.
If you stay outside the city centre or place where a lot of facilities are, you’ll usually find better prices and that doesn’t mean lower standards by any means. Often you pay a premium for the convenience of the location itself, so remember that when making your accommodation choice.
Search and compare
And with that, there is no better way than to search and compare flights and stays. From prices, to pictures, extras and customer ratings, this is how ultimately you’ll know what to book and at what price.
Generally you'll want to try multiple sources in order to get a general 'feel' for the price. This is where comparison technology comes in very handy as it allows you to look at multiple results in one go.
Here, you can view dates and see how prices vary over the months of the year (as we mentioned earlier). There are few better ways to get the best deal than this, but there is also one thing to consider when searching...
Think about being flexible in terms of flight times. Flights booked in the late evening to midnight period tend to be cheaper. Price analysis seems to suggest Tuesdays are the cheapest day of the week to fly on.
A willingness to fly at inconvenient times will reap rewards in terms of extra cash in your pocket!
Search with us today and see what you can do when you have the best travel search engine at your fingertips!
Travel booked, ready to go…
Once your route and stay itineraries are all sorted, it’s on to the fun stuff! Now is where you build your holiday to make it the best it can possibly be while still travelling on a budget.
We love cheap travel, and we hope you do to!
Pack economically (less baggage = cheaper price)
Pretty self-explanatory, airlines (especially budget airlines) will charge you extra if the weight and/or number of your luggage exceeds a certain limit. This is because the more luggage on a plane, the more fuel is used for the trip and this cost is passed to the traveller through baggage charges.
All of those details will be available to you before you book so you won’t get caught out by any unexpected surprises.
So think about what you really need for your trip. It may be cheaper to buy things once you touch down. You can save money by packing wisely and in fact we can spend even more buying things that we end up not taking!
Oh, and it might actually save you money and time in the future by investing in scales to weigh your bags – you’d be surprised how useful this is.
Bike hire instead of car/train
Now it will depend where you are going and how confident you are on a bike.
But if the situation is appropriate, riding a bike instead of hiring a car, taxi or taking the train is a great way to see the sights, take in the vibe and significantly reduce costs while away.
It’s also a great way to keep fit, build up an appetite and beat traffic!
Some of the most gorgeous places to explore on bikes are Amsterdam and Stockholm.
All-in-one tour passes – cheaper than booking things separately
City passes are exploding in popularity and for great reason. They open up a whole city to you at a fraction of the cost.
You get more choices and may even be able to jump the queues! We only partner with the best, so if you want to save lots of money while gaining the ‘keys to the city’ and are going to Europe or the United States, let us introduce you…
Knowledge equals power. Knowledge also equals saving lots of money!
Knowing what’s out there in terms of destinations, things do to, travel and accommodation options and more will open you up to more options and better prices.
This one is simple and obvious, but in some ways it’s the obviously we can easily overlook.
Sign up to our newsletter, visit our blog, we are always producing original, insightful and useful information which we hope will serve you well.
Free stuff (art galleries, museums, parks, views, architecture)
You can’t get any better priced than free. Every country has a large share of things to do for free.
From the natural world, to man-made structures, to history you can really absorb yourself into the place you're staying without a single penny being spent.
Depending on when and where you travel look out for any carnivals, parades or fairs. Walk in national parks, enjoy ‘forever moments’ from iconic viewpoints. Dive into lakes and rivers, hike through forests and jungles.
There’s really so much you can do to fill all your time. There’s actually a certain charm and blessing in experiencing the best your holiday has to offer, when the only ‘cost’ is your time – which if you are on vacation you want to give away!
It’s a win win all round we think!
Cook indoors– apartments/shared facilities
Wait! Before you judge this, let’s present it to you with an example. Talking to people before writing this, we heard some laughs and raised eyebrows; but once we actually painted the picture, they acknowledged it's actually an amazing idea and at a fraction of the cost.
Example Scenario 1 - Restaurant
You’re in a city of Spain, doesn’t matter which. You are either a family or a group. It’s early evening and it’s time to starting thinking about dinner. You need to think, research and locate somewhere.
You are at the mercy of the menu of whichever place you’re searching.
Once you’ve found somewhere you need to be seated, hopefully the ambiance is right.
Everyone finally orders and has to wait for the starters and then main course.
You talk in the meantime and once the food arrives, you eat and hopefully have fun talking and laughing at a reasonable level as there are likely other guest.
You get the bill and you head off. Either to the next place or the trip home.
Overall it’s a pleasant evening, hopefully you’ve enjoyed a delicious authentic meal and captured a moment you can remember again and again.
Example Scenario 2 -Cook indoors
You are in a city of Spain, doesn’t matter which. You are either a family or a group. It’s early evening and you plan to do something together for the evening.
You find some Spanish recipes after a quick search online and on the way to the local shops or market you debate and decide on what you’ll have – the options are endless for you.
Working together, you buy all the ingredients you’ll need, maybe some wine or your favourite drink(s) to go with it.
You get home and the event begins!
You want to cook an amazing Spanish meal together, in the city of Spain you’re staying in.
Someone finds a Spanish music compilation, you decide who chops, preps, who reads the instructions, who gives orders etc!
Laughter, fun, flavour - dancing?! - fills the air.
That wine has already been opened, luckily you always think to get a bottle or two extra!
Walla! The meals is done, it looks beautiful and hopefully no one ruined their task – ift hey did, it just adds to the story 😊
It’s not about the meal being world-class, it’s the fact you spent time together creating an authentic meal IN the country you are staying in.
You take pics of the whole process, from inside the store, to getting in, to prepping,to the final dish!
You are all relaxed, take pictures of your plates (obviously!) and have some group photos.
The clean up after – we’ll leave that up to you!
At a fraction of the cost, you’ve had an evening of immersing yourself in culture, fun,creativity, bonding and memories. It could be just what you needed.
The group,the fam, in a relaxed environment, just being natural.
….so, still think it’s a silly idea? Try it, it’s as amazing as any trip, tour or experience you’ll have, as food really does bring people together.
We hope you found these tips useful. There really isn’t any excuse no matter the budget.
Just be confidently creative and enjoy the process. You may find that you actually plan a far more enthralling holiday than you would have if you had pockets of cash, which can make one a bit lazy when it comes to choosing an experience to remember.
Happy holidays from us!