Eight ways to save on vacation

May 5, 2015

WASHINGTON (5/5/15)--One reason to cut costs during your next vacation: You can relax knowing that you’ll have funds left over when you get home (Kiplinger’s April 29).

Plan ahead to ensure that you get the most vacation for your money without sacrificing a good time:

  1. Airfare. Book flights on Tingo or Yapta and be eligible for a voucher if the airfare goes down after you’ve purchased your tickets. Sign up for alerts from Airfarewatchdog; follow other travel sites on social media as well. Call your airline agent and ask for a deal. Use a regional airport--low-cost airlines often don’t service the large international airports;
  2. Lodging. If you book by phone, ask the desk agent to beat the online rate. Consider an apartment or home rental instead of a hotel--you’ll save even more by cooking your own meals. Consider booking a place to stay through;
  3. Food. Make lunch your main meal. Lunches often are 30% cheaper than the same entrées on a dinner menu and you’ll be less likely to splurge on expensive alcoholic beverages. Stock up on snack foods before you leave home and replenish your supply at local grocery stores rather than convenience marts;
  4. Search for vacation package deals. Package deals often give great discounts. Find them on Expedia and Priceline, or daily deal sites like Groupon Getaways and LivingSocial Escapes;
  5. Use a travel rewards card. Look for a card with no foreign transaction fee, a microchip and generous rewards. Credit union credit cards often offer freedom of choice for airlines;
  6. Book by your budget. If budget is more important than destination, search “explore” on or “flights” on Select your departure city, season of travel, price and get ready to be inspired;
  7. Add a free destination. Find deals under “special offers” or by searching “stopover” on your airline’s website. You might be able to squeeze in an extra destination at little or even no cost; and
  8. Travel off-season. If you’re flexible, travel in the shoulder seasons--just before or after peak season depending on your destination. Prices are low, the weather could be really nice, shops and restaurants are open and there are fewer tourists.

For related information, listen to the podcast “Travel Like an Expert” in the Home & Family Finance Resource Center.

Other Resources

Home & Family Finance Resource Center

Plan It Retire Ready Toolkit

Home Equity Makes It Happen Drive-up envelope

Build a Basic Budget--The 5-Step Spending Plan electronic member seminar kit

Guide to Money--Get Ahead of the Game handbook