Let's face it. Vacation is not fun when you're inwardly
wincing at entree prices or sweating the cab fare as the meter numbers
climb. After all, you're supposed to be relaxing and getting away
from it all.
Fortunately, frugality and fun aren't mutually exclusive.
“Fortunately, frugality and fun aren't mutually exclusive.”
Spend money carefully on items less important to you
so you can spend it on the things you truly value, such as side
excursions, tours and souvenirs. Better still, you won't be whining
about cab fare and menu choices, because you'll know more reasonable
ways to eat and get around.
To discover ways to cut costs, we turned to our cheaply
traveling Bankrate readers. Polling them for a week in our newsletters,
we compiled their most useful tips so that all vacationers may benefit
from them. From pen pals to supermarkets to scoping out your hotel
room, these tips will surely get you packing.
Research your destination
Buying the first deal you come across, traveling during prime season,
sticking with one Web site you've heard of -- all make for perfect
ways to burn a lot of dough. Instead, set aside some time to make
price comparisons, read hotel reviews and consider where you can
cut corners on flights and hotel rooms.
Our frugal readers share how they zero in on the best
1. "Budget enough
money to purchase tickets or hotel reservations ahead of time
to get the greatest deals."
2. "Go to the
library before your trip and find some travel books. Research
your destination and prepare an itinerary that includes good,
reasonable places to eat and visit."
3. "Search Web
sites that are known for discount travel, and get on their e-mail
alert mailing lists."
4. "Always compare
your 'deal' with prices directly from the hotel or airline."
5. "Being flexible
and spontaneous will save you tons of bucks."
6. "Be organized
-- prepare a folder of coupons, destination information (things
to do, places to eat, etc.) and keep it with you."
7. "If you pay
in advance at some rental car places, they'll give you a huge
8. "We have been
traveling to Italy for the past 30 years. In order to save on
your vacation simply travel in the off-season -- never in July
or August. The weather is always very pleasant in Italy along
the coast in the spring and fall. I suggest traveling in the south
of Italy, since during fall and spring, you will not encounter
masses of tourists and all the traffic. Besides, August is the
month when Europeans take their month-long vacation and most of
the shops are closed. If renting a car, always rent in town in
order to avoid airport taxes and other fees. Remember to only
rent diesel-powered cars to get good gas mileage."
9. "Consider travel
tour groups, such as Club ABC Tours, that offer great deals to
almost everywhere. The itinerary is organized yet flexible (you
may opt in or opt out of excursions)."
10. "Look online
for coupons to print prior to your trip. Popular destinations
like Florida and Las Vegas have many sites available that provide
deals. For instance, go to www.google.com and search for 'Disney World coupons.'"
11. "Try doing
most of the groundwork yourself by looking online, then call a
travel agent with your exact specifications and see what their
price is to compare. In addition, AAA members can often find good
deals on AAA's Web site."