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How To Plan A Vacation For Cheap!

Now that it’s finally freezing outside (literally), it’s no wonder why people are planning trips to warm destinations to get away. Whether you’re trying to book your vacation soon or for spring break, this guide to planning a vacation for “cheap” (A.K.A. the broke college student budget) can be a great place to help you get started especially for students who don’t have a ton of money to spend on luxurious vacations.
1. Regularly Check Flight Prices/Gas Prices

If you’re looking to fly out somewhere, be sure to regularly check flight prices as they can vary daily (sometimes hourly as they can book up quickly). Even if you plan to drive to your destination, checking gas prices as often can give you a good idea of how much you’ll spend. A good side note to add is to make sure you’re factoring in other costs needed for maintenance on your vehicle beforehand and possibly during your trip.

2. Use Connecting Flights & Fly In-and-Out of the Same Airport
It’s always cheaper to book a round trip than a one-way. If possible, flying in and out of the same airports is always a good idea. Connecting flights can be a hassle, but are typically cheaper. Keep that in mind when choosing a flight to your destination. And if you have a rental car, returning a car to a different car rental place can have extra fees.

3. Be Flexible With Flight Times

The flights that are outside of ‘normal hours’ will be cheaper as not many people want them. Go figure! If you’re able to be flexible with flight times, this can save you some money.

4. Consider Not-as-Popular Destinations

When choosing a destination, consider the ones “off the beaten path” as they say. You’ll notice the popular tourist destinations will be dramatically more expensive than others is another thing to think about when you make your decision.

5.Travel During the Offseason

Understandably, there are good times to visit specific destinations during certain times of the year. Some locations during their offseason are much cheaper than you think! Not to mention, there will be fewer people (i.e. tourists) crowding the hotels, restaurants, etc.

6. Plan Ahead & Look for Packaged Deals

The farther you plan ahead, the better deals you are able to receive. Along with that, keep an eye out for package deals that include things like flight, hotel, and rental car (if necessary). If you cram to book your trip, the chances of finding these awesome deals are slim and hotels, flights and other things book up quickly if it’s a popular destination.

7. Eat Bigger Meals Early in the Day

By eating bigger meals earlier in the day, it allows you to feel fuller for longer; meaning you spend less on food and snacks. I suggest going to a nearby grocery store and purchasing a bunch of snacks to bring along when you’re out and about so you’re not constantly spending and tempted by food all the time.

8. Pack Light

If you’re flying to your destination, try to limit yourself to a carry-on. Checking in bags at the airport can add up in fees and extra costs that you could be using for other things on your trip.

9. Plan for Events That Don’t Cost Much Money or No Money at All

Many things to do nowadays cost a lot of money, so finding things that are low-cost or no cost at all are a huge bonus. If you’re traveling to warm destinations to get away I suggest things like: taking time to relax on the beach, going for a hike, touring and window shopping local stores. When planning your vacation, choose a location that has lots to offer and is nearby (walking distance if applicable) to where you will be staying.

10. Find Smaller Hotels – Rent Places Through Locals – House Swap.

Renting can be a great way to save a bunch of money as hotels can add up in costs quickly. The great thing about these types of rentals like Airbnb, for example, is that these places are owned by locals. They are much cheaper and you can choose from renting out a bedroom or two for a couple nights or the whole place. If you rent the whole place, many places include a full kitchen so you can cook your own meals which can help save money as well. Plus, you have your own privacy during your stay which can be nice.

11. Do Your Research & Create a Budget

This is a no-brainer. If you’re traveling to a destination that you’ve never been before, you should do your research of not only what hotel or apartment you’ll be staying, but also the culture, the food, and what’s around the place you’ll be staying for things to do and see while you’re there. Before you even begin planning your trip, make sure you set a budget, so you don’t go spending-happy. I also suggest creating a daily budget to keep costs down. This allows you to manage your money and not spend it all in one place.

The bottom line: plan your trip ahead and do your research. Create a budget and stick to it!  It’s so easy to want to crack out that credit card at every chance. Do your best to plan for every scenario including worst-case to have some cushion in your budget. For all of us stuck here in the cold, we’re so jealous. Have fun on your next vacation!

Hello! My name is Elizabeth Jacobson, but most people call me Liz for short. I am a sophomore this year at UW-Stout to get my Bachelors degree in Business Administration. I plan to have an emphasis in entrepreneurship so that after college I can pursue my dreams of owning my own store. I have a passion for writing. I love new ideas, meeting new people, and exploring different things in life. 
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