Planning for a vacation can be one of the most exciting experiences of the year. But paying for your trip does not offer the same thrill.
Saving for a vacation ahead of time is one key to staying out of debt. Here are some additional tips to keep your next vacation within budget.
1. Cash out rewards points and memberships
Many of us have discounts or freebies we rarely use. Perhaps you are a member of an auto club. Or, maybe you are a student, retiree or a regular blood donor. In all of these cases, there might be perks to your membership.
Additionally, don't let any airline miles go to waste. Also, see if there are any discounts you can use by booking travel packages with certain credit cards.
2. Use social media to find deals
Many of us have travel-savvy friends who have strong opinions on how to save money on travel. If you're on Facebook or Twitter, ask for advice from anyone who has traveled where you want to go. Your friends may recommend deal sites or hard-to-find coupon codes that will get you the most bang for your buck.
3. Ask for discounts
Have you ever tried emailing a hotel, vacation site or airline to offer feedback or ask for discounts? Simply sending a message and asking for a deal might get you a discount. It's one way a business can thank you for interacting with them and being a loyal customer.
4. Swap your house, or try booking locally
House swapping allows people to trade homes for short periods of time. This cuts vacation costs. You may worry about the dangers of house swapping, but many websites screen swappers and guarantee safety. Additionally, sites such as Airbnb allow you to book a local resident's spare room or temporarily vacant apartment for a much cheaper price than you'd find elsewhere.
When staying in Portland last year, my friend and I booked a room for half the price of a hotel. We had a great apartment to ourselves from a nice local who was staying with his friend for the weekend.