How to Save Money on Your Next Vacation

Taking a vacation is not cheap, especially when one considers air travel and hotel lodging. Americans in 2009 spent over 10% of their income on travel, according to Forbes Magazine, spending upwards of 100 billion dollars on vacation. Vacations should be affordable fun for the entire family, and should not drain one’s savings dry. Here is how to save money on your next vacation.

1)     Timeshare

Buying a timeshare is a great way to reduce costs when it comes to travel. Timesharing allows buyers to “chip in” on a vacation home with other people interested in traveling to the same destination. Usually, owners work off a 52 week rotation schedule, pay a maintenance fee for the property, and have a consistent place to stay for a vacation. Some timeshare arrangements allow owners to swap weeks and even vacation spots. This can save money on hotels, and since these are condominiums and homes with full amenities, it can save money on food and other living expenses as well.

2)     Credit Cards

Nearly everyone has credit cards, and the competition between these cards can get pretty fierce. Nearly every credit card company has a travel card, which invites cardholders to use their cards in return for rewards, like airline miles, hotel discounts, and even restaurant discounts. Do some research first when looking for an affinity credit card, because some of them offer some pretty severe restrictions when it comes to booking a vacation. Needless to say, the better credit rating one has the better rewards that are on offer.

3)     Book It Together

The internet is a great place to book travel, because there is plenty of information for airlines, hotels, and car rental. Many sites even offer discounts on vacations when all three are booked together. This “bundling” allows vacationers to see how much they are going to be spending on travel in advance, giving them an opportunity to save up, and see how going at a different time can save them money. Just make sure when comparing trips from different websites, that they are offering the same arrangements. In addition to the internet, travel agencies are also a great place to book a vacation, and will be able to give patrons a personalized glimpse of the itinerary. They can also do the research, making vacation planning much simpler.

4)     Vacation Discounts are Everywhere

There are a ton of discounts available if one does a bit of research. Employers often give discounts on vacations, either through an affinity program or directly through their travel department. All inclusive vacations that include travel, entertainment, and food are also known for giving deep discounts, especially during the off seasons. Last minute vacation plans can also save money as airlines and hotels struggle to fill spaces during the slow time. Ask around, and you might be surprised on what kinds of discounts are available.

Vacations are great ways to get away from it all, and as shown, a little research and pre-planning go a long way to saving money on your next vacation. Of course, once on vacation, show some financial self restraint; not everyone in your family needs or wants a bikini bobble head doll to remind them of the fun in the sun you had.

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