How to Save Money on Vacation

How to Save Money on Vacation

Updated on June 11, 2021

Vacation offers a wonderful time to reconnect with your loved ones, explore new cultures, and release tension. But the cost of paying for a vacation can sometimes cause stress all on its own. The good news is that you don’t have to spend a small fortune if you employ smart money-saving strategies while traveling. 

3 Ways to Save on Dining Out 

What’s the biggest expense when traveling? If you’re like many people, it’s dining out. There’s no question that food and drink bills add up quickly. But that doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice sampling your destination’s best cuisine.

Consider the following tips!

  1. Rethink breakfast and lunch. If you’re dying to try your destination’s top fine-dining restaurants, check them out during earlier meals of the day. You can soak in the aromas and ambiance of the must-do restaurants on your list during a time when prices are lower. You can save even more by choosing one meal a day to make and eat in your room. Take out that you eat in is a money-smart alternative to a restaurant, too. To save the most money, make use of your refrigerator and stock up on drinks, milk, cereal, bread, fruit, cold cuts, and snacks. 
  2. Have dessert someplace less expensive. If you’re treating yourself to a fancy dinner out, plan to enjoy dessert somewhere less expensive. Local ice cream shops, for example, often have artisanal flavors not available at bigger restaurants. Not only will you be able to save money this way, but you’ll also get to see more of your destination’s local food places.
  3. Consider an all-inclusive option.  Check out what food and accommodation bundles hotels or resorts in your destination offer. Choosing an all-inclusive option or opting into a dining plan may save you more money than booking everything separately. 

3 Ways to Save on Activities

When you travel, you probably want to spend time exploring beaches, amusement parks, museums, zoos, tall buildings, and historical sites — in short, places that often charge entrance fees.

When choosing attractions, you can save money with these tips.

  1. Check attraction websites. Buying advance tickets online and visiting at unusual times can help you see the same sights for less money. Many attractions also offer senior or student discounts. If you or anyone going with you is a student, make sure to check the website for discount information and bring your student ID.
  2. Look for free events. Many destinations advertise free community events such as concerts, markets, and exhibitions open to the public, especially during peak tourist times. 
  3. Take advantage of free travel guides and reduced-price tourist cards. Popular destinations often have a travel center that offers reduced price, multi-event tickets for famous attractions. Look for tourist guides in your hotel, too, as you might discover something interesting just outside the city limits. 

How to Save Money on Vacation

3 Ways to Save on Transportation

Transportation is another area you can find ways to save. Flexibility on timing and a sense of adventure go a long way toward saving more on getting there. 

  1. Book midweek or early morning flights. The days nearest the weekend are typically the most expensive travel times. Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays are often the cheapest days to fly. Check the prices for the entire day, as there’s often a big difference between morning, afternoon, evening, and overnight flights. 
  2. Use mass or eco-friendly transit. Subways, trains, bikes, scooters, and buses are a great way to get to know the city you’re visiting. They’re also often inexpensive, reliable, and typically available 24 hours a day. 
  3. Visit in the off-season. During the off-season, you’ll save on both accommodations and transportation. You’ll want to avoid traveling around peak times such as the holidays and spring break. For some popular travel areas, all summer is a peak time, so be sure to check peak seasons when you start planning your trip.

3 Ways to Save on Accommodations

Whether you’re staying in a hotel or renting a private home, accommodations make up a big portion of your travel budget. You can save on accommodations by reserving strategically.

  1. Reconsider your location. Do you need to be in the center of the action? If a city is your destination, consider renting a house and a car in the suburbs or a less popular neighborhood. If you’re skiing or going to the beach, stay off the mountain or farther away from the ocean. You’ll save money and avoid crowds and long lines.
  2. Think about fun alternatives. Consider dividing your trip into two vacations. For example, you can go camping or book inexpensive lodging for four nights, and upgrade to a fancy hotel for a night or two. 
  3. Stay at a brand new or recently renovated hotel. If you’re flexible about your destination, ask a travel agent about newly opened or renovated hotels. You may be able to get a low rate by visiting an unknown or new resort.

Vacations are a great time to destress and make memories with the people you love, but you don’t want the expense of your getaway to be the only thing you remember. In addition to using these vacation savings strategies when planning your next adventure, you can earn 2%* or 1.5% cash rewards on every purchase you make on your trip when you pay with our Founder’s Card.

Check out more money-saving tips by visiting our WalletWorks page.

*You can earn 1.5% cash rewards on purchases. You can earn 2% cash rewards on purchases if you maintain a PSECU checking account and qualifying monthly direct deposit(s) of at least $500. See the Visa® Founder’s Card and Visa® Alumni Rewards Card Rewards Program Terms and Conditions for full details.

The content provided in this publication is for informational purposes only. Nothing stated is to be construed as financial or legal advice. Some products not offered by PSECU. PSECU does not endorse any third parties, including, but not limited to, referenced individuals, companies, organizations, products, blogs, or websites. PSECU does not warrant any advice provided by third parties. PSECU does not guarantee the accuracy or completeness of the information provided by third parties. PSECU recommends that you seek the advice of a qualified financial, tax, legal, or other professional if you have questions.