Thanks to the great folks at Kimberly-Clark for making this post about tips for helping stretch the budget possible. My comments and opinions are my own.
If you are on a budget, like me, the thought of traveling during your vacation might seem out of reach. But that isn’t necessarily the case. In the last year, we have traveled quite a bit more than usual, and, while I don’t pretend to be an expert, here are a few tips drawn from my experience.
Traveling without Breaking the Bank
The Beauty of the Backyard
It’s interesting how sometimes we turn a blind eye to the wonderful resources we have nearby. Mark my words, you will be amazed by the wonderful places you can visit that you never thought of, heard of, or considered before by just looking closer to home.
Look for a city, county, state and national parks, quaint towns, rivers, lakes, beaches, resorts, amusement parks and spas all within 10, 20 or 50 miles. If you do find someplace nearby, you are likely to save on both transportation and time, and if you come back home at night, the cost of lodging, too.
Leverage the Internet
Incredible! That’s the word I would use to describe the explosion of resources available to travelers on the internet, especially through smartphone apps.
Probably the one I rely on most is Kayak.com, which brings together information from lots of different sites about flights, hotels, and cars, and can quickly give you a broad picture of the range of prices for a particular trip.
For airline tickets, (I have not used the hotel or car features) the iPhone app is easy to use, yet still flexible, and allows you to filter and sort for price, number of stops, airline, date, time, etc. I also like their “Buzz” feature that shows ticket price trends.
Be aware that Kayak does not appear to include flights on Southwest Airlines, believe me, I've tried and if you know differently please let me know. They are one of the great budget airlines, so for their fares go straight to Southwest.com.
Also, make sure to check out Volaris.com if you are traveling to Mexico. We have gotten some truly amazing round-trip tickets through their website. In fact, we just scored some more great tickets at the beginning of October. (Full disclosure: I have worked with Volaris in the past)
Another site I wanted to mention is Yapta.com, which I just discovered in July. If you go to Yapta.com, you can get them to send you an email if the fare on a particular flight you are tracking goes down. They also have an iPhone app that gives real-time iPhone alerts. Very useful for busy parents.
Fly with the Birds, Not with the People
Whenever possible we try to fly at odd times, which can mean significantly lower prices. For example, before and after Spring Break and again after Labor Day in the fall. To Mexico, after Christmas break. I like to think of it as migrating with the birds. Also, the day of the week can make a huge difference. In my experience, Tuesdays and Wednesdays are the best, and sometimes you can score a good deal on a Saturday afternoon, presumably because everyone else has already gotten to where they are going.
Do Like We Do in Mexico
You may know that in Mexico we eat our big meal of the day in the afternoon, not the evening. It turns out that if you adopt the same custom while traveling you are likely to save money. Lunch menus tend to be less expensive than dinner menus, even for the same dishes. So when traveling, try “la dulce vida,” and eat like the Mexicans.
Want to share some of your best ideas for saving on traveling, too. Why not leave a comment below. I would love to hear your tips.
Have fun (even if on a budget!)