How To Plan A Relaxing (And Affordable!) Vacation

Whether you’re planning a Labor Day weekend getaway, or a winter escape to the Bahamas, you’ll reduce a significant amount of financial stress by applying these six tips to your vacation planning:

• Be Flexible: Airfare and hotel rates tend to be cheaper during weekdays. Consider scheduling your trip for mid-week, or leaving for your weekend trip a day earlier.

• Become a Member: If you prefer a particular hotel chain, join its rewards program. Organizations like AAA also offer discounts for travel and dining.

• Rent Rather than Book: Vacation rentals can cost 50 to 80 percent less per square foot than hotel rooms. Try to rent directly from the owner, who may be able to give you a discount.

• To Host or Not to Host: Instead of traveling to visit friends, invite them to stay with you. Alternatively, inquire (politely) if you could come stay with them.

• Travel with a Group: While it might take more coordinating, consider traveling with friends or multiple families. Sharing the cost of dining and lodging could save you a lot of money.

• The Most Important Step: Save up. Many people spend hours searching for the ideal hotel and airfare deal: don’t forget to budget! Start saving as far in advance as possible for your trip. If you’re struggling to save, create a separate bank account and have automatic transfers made every paycheck.

With only a little extra effort to save and make smart travel decisions, you can ensure that your trip is financially stress free, during your vacation and after it’s over.

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