Saving for Travel: Tips and tricks for getting more value out of your next trip

Summer travel planning season is upon us. As wonderful as those family vacations are, for many of us, they can also lead to justifying outrageous spending in the name of memories.

Before you book that big, expensive trip, consider these tricks and tips to reduce costs and get even more value from your next vacation.

“Once in a lifetime trip” is often a self-fulfilling prophecy: Guess what? When you believe you only have one chance to take a trip, you give yourself permission to spend carelessly. And when you spend carelessly, you can’t afford to take more trips like that. Instead, remember that this vacation is just one of many memory-making adventures in your life. If you budget right you’ll actually be able to afford more!

Off-peak keeps you on-budget: Fly mid-week. Do Disneyland in the fall instead of the summer. Stay close to home on big holiday weekends. In general, traveling on shoulder seasons and other times the crowds aren’t excessive can dramatically reduce the costs of airfare, hotels and more.

Book airfare first: If you’re traveling with more than two people, your airfares will likely be the single largest variable in your vacation budget. Often it pays to find good airfare deals first, then book your lodging. While lodging may fluctuate a few dollars night to night, airfares can fluctuate by hundreds of dollars.

Be alert: Sign-up for alerts from, and others to be alerted when airfares to your destinations drop drastically.

Watch exchange rates: If you’re traveling overseas, currency exchange rates matter. Look for opportunities to travel when the dollar is strong compared to your destination’s currency. On a related note, there is no need to pay high money exchange fees if your ATM card works overseas. If it does, take a little local currency with you, then withdraw the local currency from the ATM for great exchange rates.

Eat in: Dining out can take a bite out of your travel budget. Consider renting an apartment or condo with a kitchen so you can prepare some meals and save big. Even when staying at a hotel, getting breakfast or sandwich fixings can save you a bundle.

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