Many people are going on vacation this weekend for Memorial Day, and many people are also planning a summer vacation, so I made a vacation savings post for today (and also to enter the Budgets are Sexy contest)! I also love talking about vacations and dreaming about them, so of course that's another reason.
I've been thinking about vacations a lot lately. Who doesn't? I would love to travel everyday for the rest of my life, but of course that's not very realistic (at least not at the age of 23!).
We spent a lot of money on our last vacation, that is a fact. However, we saved money in many ways on this vacation as well. This vacation could have easily cost around $5,000, but we spent much less due to me looking for deals.
Our greatest savings was with our airfare. It's nice that I'm able to travel for nearly free (and sit in first class nearly every time) because of my dad's retirement benefits. I know not everyone can do this so I won't go too in depth on this.
Airfare. Certain days and times offer the best airfare prices. Usually buying on Tuesdays in advance will yield the best value. Check multiple sites and also check the airlines directly. Flying on a Tuesday or Wednesday and flying back home on a Saturday will get you the CHEAPEST airfare most likely. These days are the less busier days at the airports.
For my Vegas Vacation, we are leaving on a Sunday, so that means that we also have the most expensive airfare to pay, however we are going there on a Wednesday, so it's really cheap to get there at least 🙂
Using rewards cards is also another plus. I just booked my Vegas flight back home for free by using my Southwest rewards points! I'm trying to accumulate these so that I can do this again. Looking into travel rewards credit cards is a definite need.
We also saved money on our hotel. There are many ways to save on a hotel:
- Use travel sites and get the room directly such as Hotel Club. I searched for Vegas hotels on their website and they have pretty good deals. Travel sites usually have much better deals than going through the hotel's online reservation system.
- Bid for your hotel. We bid on our hotel for our Kauai vacation. This saved a lot. We got the hotel for around $140 I think and the hotel was going for around $250 a night instead. And it was in the exact location that we wanted.
- Airbnb. This site is great. We used this on our Miami trip. The place had a canal in the back with a kayak and a boat for us to use. The price was MUCH cheaper than the hotels in South Beach and the place was only a block away from the beach.
- Couch surfing. I've never done this but I've heard a lot of good things about it. I have signed up for the website though so that I could look around. Most people have reviews (and a ton of them) so it's easier to see if someone isn't a murderer (kind of joking). Have you ever tried it?
- House swaps. I've never done this either. I just read an article the other day about a couple who house swap all the time and they go EVERYWHERE for cheap because of it. Sounds interesting, but I don't think anyone will want to go on a vacation in the Midwest haha.
For the Vegas bachelorette vacation that I'm going on in August, I called the hotel up directly. We booked the Flamingo in their newly renovated rooms for 2 rooms, 4 nights and all of us girls are registered for only $600. I looked on Expedia, Priceline and the Flamingo's website and they all wanted around $1,000 for all of this. I called and asked them if they could lower and after being on the phone for around 20 minutes, I got them to lower it! I found different per night prices all over the web, so I asked them to match each website's price. However, I wish I would've known about HotelClub because they have lower prices!
Yes this required a lot of work, but I saved us over $400 and it only took me around an hour altogether.
Rental car. We usually don't rent a car, but in Kauai we did. We also rented a car in Miami for one day, but that wasn't expensive. On our Kauai vacation, we spent around $600. This is a lot! It wouldn't have been as much, but of course since we were in Hawaii, we wanted a Jeep.
There are many ways to save on a rental car. We could've stuck with the economy car and the weekly fee was only $145. And we also bought the extra insurance which was a little over $100 extra. We could've saved on that as well.
Also, one time when we were going back to the airport from our hotel in Los Angeles, I found someone else who was going as well. We were both waiting outside and I asked him if he was going to the airport and would mind splitting with my boyfriend and I. We split the fare in half! Being friendly does help!
Food. There are many ways to save on food also. We've bought Restaurant.com gift certificates (and we always made sure to use one of their 80% promotion codes on these, so they are dirt cheap). This allows us to eat a TON while also only spending around $20 on a nice, big meal.
Also, buying snacks and alcohol for your hotel room is a big saver. On nearly every vacation that we've been on, drinks have been around $10 just for a Bud light at most places. Who wants to pay that? Stock up and save!
How do you save on vacations?
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