ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Tips and Tricks for Saving Money on Vacations

Updated on January 20, 2011

Almost everyone dreams of the day when they can take a vacation and have a break from their day-to-day routine.  But the cost of some vacations can be more like a nightmare than a dream.  By the time you book a flight, find a hotel, rent a car, and all the other expenses that come with taking a vacation, you could be thinking that you'd be better off staying home and saving the money.  Vacations don't have to cost a fortune - whether you're taking a trip just to get away, taking a vacation to spend some quality family time with loved ones, or you're going somewhere you've always wanted to go, there are many easy ways to save money on vacations.

Save money on travel arrangements by taking time to look for online deals

There are dozens of great websites that specialize in booking travel arrangements with everything from flights, to hotels, to car rentals, to cruises, and everything else you could need.  Many of these travel sites offer discounts when you book two or more of these things together or plan your entire trip through the site.  If your traveling times are flexible, something to watch for is last minute vacation deals.  Booking a hotel or flight can be expensive at the last minute, but there are many travel websites that offer last minute deals on hotel rooms or flights, because they want to fill otherwise empty rooms or seats. 

Some hotels offer a discount if you stay more than one night, or more than a certain number of nights, so if you're staying for an extended period, be sure to keep an eye out for these deals.  Other hotels offer discounts for booking online rather than by phone, so that's another good reason to book hotels online.  Also watch for places where you get discounts for having memberships with certain companies (CAA, AAA, etc), and some colleges and universities send out cards to their alumni with discounts at various companies, which sometimes include hotels.  For seniors traveling, be sure to take advantage of senior discounts, and some places offer companion rates for seniors where you pay for the senior, and their companion, regardless of age, is free.  When you're booking a hotel online, it will have a list of the discounts they offer, so check it over carefully and take advantage whenever possible.

By doing some research online, we managed to save a bunch of money on a mini-vacation to Toronto to see the Harry Potter Exhibition at the Ontario Science Centre
By doing some research online, we managed to save a bunch of money on a mini-vacation to Toronto to see the Harry Potter Exhibition at the Ontario Science Centre | Source

When looking for deals on hotels, instead of searching actual travel sites, consider searching for an attraction you want to see in your destination area, like a museum, sports arena, or amusement park, and see if they have any hotel affiliations that offer discounts.  For example, in the summer of 2010, a friend and I wanted to take her daughter and my nephew to see the Harry Potter Exhibition in Toronto.  We looked up the official exhibition website, found a list of the affiliate hotels and saved a lot of money by booking through there.  The low price included one night at a hotel, free breakfast, 2 adult and 2 children's tickets to the exhibition, which included entrance into the rest of the Ontario Science Centre where the exhibition was housed, and a free $10 gas card.

Book an all-inclusive vacation that reduces cost and stress

All-inclusive vacations are perfect for many travelers who don't want to fuss with booking transportation, accommodation and worrying about all the other little details.  Some packages include absolutely everything (including transformation to the destination), while others start from the time you arrive at your destination and include hotel, meals (it's rare that packages include 3 meals a day, but many include breakfast and sometimes dinner), and entrance into local attractions.  When I went to France as a teen, the cost included transportation to the airport, flights (3 in all), hotels, breakfast and dinner every day (including all gratuities), motorcoach and tour guide everywhere we went, subway tickets in Paris, and entrance into a large variety of local attractions.  The only things we were responsible for was lunch (since we were out all day every day, and which wasn't expensive), and of course anything we wanted to buy.  Also, I had a friend who went to South America on vacation late last year and had everything included in her trip (transportation, flight, meals, alcohol, spas, resort, etc) and when she told me the price, it blew my mind it was so cheap.  All-inclusive trips can save not only a lot of money, but a lot of hassle and stress as well.

Travel in the off-season and avoid traveling on weekends

Probably the majority of people travel during the peak seasons. They want to get away from cold winters, or take their children away during summer vacation, or travel for specific events or times of year. If your traveling times are flexible and you're not working around anything specific, consider traveling during the off-season. The prices are usually dramatically less, mostly because hotels are scrambling to book rooms.

The Sky Wheel in Niagara Falls, Ontario.  Traveling in the off-season is a great way to travel on a budget.
The Sky Wheel in Niagara Falls, Ontario. Traveling in the off-season is a great way to travel on a budget. | Source

My sister-in-law and I took my brother to Niagara Falls, Ontario, for his birthday in November 2010. November is definitely not peak travel time in Niagara Falls because it's so cold, but if you live anywhere in Canada, or in any of the states that get bad winters, you're going to be cold wherever you are, so why not have some fun? I booked a hotel online that would normally be around $80 per night and we ended up getting it for $30 per night. Being off-season, it was also a good time to shop because almost every store we passed had signs advertising sales and discounts. Also, although the prices at the attractions weren't any different than any other time of year, they weren't nearly as crowded as they would be the rest of the year, which meant we could take our time and enjoy ourselves without fighting the crowds.

However, don't assume that just because it's winter, no one will be traveling. A place like New York City is a prime travel destination in the winter because of all the winter and holiday activities the city has to offer. Get online and do your research (try looking up peak traveling seasons for your destination), or ask advice from people who have traveled a lot.

Traveling on weekends (especially holiday weekends) can be very expensive. Hotels often have higher rates on the weekend because they book up faster, so they take advantage of people looking for places to stay. Many restaurants, especially those with fixed prices, often have higher prices on the weekends, too. The price of gas can also be a factor, especially on holiday weekends when places take advantage of travelers on the road. If your traveling schedule allows it, travel during the week, then even if you stay over a weekend, the rate for your room should remain the same.

Have a general idea of how much your vacation will cost

It would be very difficult to predict the cost of your entire trip because there are almost always unknowns that pop up and cost money.  However, it is possible to plan for some things and know ahead what the costs will be.  If you're going to a big city with lots of attractions, look them up beforehand and get an idea of the cost.  For instance, if you're going to a city with a big museum that you plan to visit, check their website and find out how much admission costs, then figure out how much it will cost for you and the others on the trip.  Some museums and sites offer discounted admission on certain days or after a certain time at night - if this is the case, you could try to plan around that and save yourself some money.

If you have an idea of where you want to go and how much it's going to cost, you can decide beforehand if there's anything you need to cut from the trip.  This is an especially good idea if you have kids on the trip because it eliminates surprises and disappointments, which can often lead to scenes and tantrums in young children.

If you're taking a long vacation, look into extended stay hotels or hotels with small kitchens right in the room.
If you're taking a long vacation, look into extended stay hotels or hotels with small kitchens right in the room.

Saving money on food while traveling

If you're traveling for an extended period of time, possibly the best way to save money on food is to find a rental cottage or house in your destination location, extended stay hotels, or hotels with kitchens in the rooms.  This way, you can cook some (or all) of your own meals and save the expense of eating out and leaving tips.  If you're traveling by car, you could bring a lot of your own food (in coolers and bags), or you can grocery shop once you arrive.  I've done this several times, and it reduced the cost of our vacation substantially.

Also a good idea when traveling by car is to pack a cooler with drinks and snacks.  These can be priced extremely high on the road, especially at gas stations and convenience stores ($5 for a bottle of water?  I don't think so!).  You can take a small cooler bag or lunch bag with you not only in the car, but also if you're traveling by train and bus.  With all the airport regulations these days, I wouldn't recommend taking anything other than the absolute necessities when flying, just to avoid extra hassles.

For many people, part of the appeal of vacation is not having to cook and clean up afterward, so the rentals, extended stay hotels and hotels with kitchens in the rooms are not much of an option.  If this is the case, or if it's impossible for you to make your own meals, there are ways to save money on food.  Be on the look-out for buffets, which are often cheap and you can fill up on all you can eat.  You might also be able to find two-for-one discounts and deals, and places where kids eat free or at a reduced rate if they're under a certain age.  If you're visiting an area that is highly trafficked by tourists, watch out for tourist trap places that jack up the prices to take advantage of travelers.  Your best bet is to find places where they have the menus posted outside so you can get an idea of their prices.  If that's possible, go inside and say that you're considering options for dinner and ask to see a menu before you're seated.  If the prices are too much, you can just leave and try again somewhere else.

Whenever and however you decide to travel, there are plenty of ways for you to save money.  Online travel sites were a wonderful invention for people to book their entire vacations from the comfort of their homes.  With the ease of booking vacations these days, once the plans are made, all that's left is for you to sit back, relax and dream of the day when you're finally on vacation.

Thank you for reading

Thank you for reading Tips and Tricks for Saving Money on Vacations.  If you enjoyed this article and found it useful, please vote it up, rate it, and/or leave a comment - you don't have to be a member of HubPages to leave comments. If you'd like to learn more about me and read my other articles here at Hubpages, you can visit my profile page. I love writing for HubPages, and would recommend it to anyone who's interested in writing online. If you'd like to join (it's free to join and a great way to make money online), you can sign up here.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • SweetMarie83 profile imageAUTHOR

      Marie Landry 

      7 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Thanks Katrina! :-)

    • katrinasui profile image

      katrinasui 

      7 years ago

      These are great tips. i will try to follow these.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)