How to organize a thrifty yet fun vacation

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Going on a vacation can often be a double-edged sword. While this is probably your favorite time of the year (no work and all play!), it can drain your savings and leave you with an empty bank account. However, fun vacations do not always have to break the bank. In fact, with some clever tips, you can organize an amazing trip and save money along the way. Here are several ways you can plan a thrifty vacation.

Search incognito

Have you noticed that every time you check the price of airplane tickets they go up, even if you checked them just an hour ago? This is not a coincidence! Most airlines use browser cookies and increase ticket prices based on how many times you’ve searched for a flight.  It is a clever strategy because they easily scare you into booking a ticket before the prices rise again. If you are traveling by plane, browse the tickets in “incognito” mode in your browser to get the best price.

Prep your car

If you have decided to drive to your destination, make sure to do a maintenance checkup on your car before you hit the road. This way you will be able to minimize fuel usage and maximize your safety. For example, low tire pressure can increase fuel consumption so make a stop at the local gas station and check your tires. Keep in mind that harsh braking, constant gear changes, and harsh acceleration can also lead to fuel wastage. Apart from checking your tires, make sure that your headlights, brakes, interior, and exterior lights and wipers are all working properly because fixing a broken car away from home can cost you quite a bit. 

Opt for a hotel away from the city center

Since hotels at the centers of major cities are close to all the attractions, they often charge more for their rooms. A train ticket or an Uber ride plus a room in a hotel that is away from the city center will cost you much less than a fancy room in the center, so you can save a significant amount of money on your hotel bill. If you wish to save even more, consider looking at smaller towns or villages outside the city. 

The fun doesn’t always mean expensive

If you are a fan of winter sports, be prepared and get the ski gear earlier and avoid reckless shopping … besides skiing and other sports, there are also so many fun things to do in a ski town that does not cost a lot. During the season most towns have festivals and museums that offer free admission. To save on your bar bill, you should avoid expensive import liquors and opt for local microbrews. Many ski towns have great breweries and distilleries that are worth checking out.

Check out social platforms 

Most hotels have social media accounts where they often offer special deals. If you already have a Facebook or a Twitter account, follow your favorite hotel chain and who knows, maybe you will be one of the lucky ones who manage to snatch up a great deal. 

Consider staying in a hostel

Hostels offer fewer luxuries but they also cost far less than hotels. If you are not very keen on your privacy and you don’t mind sharing a room with a couple of strangers, booking a room in a hostel might be perfect for you. In case you are traveling with a group of friends, even better. You can all share that one large room with ten beds and save some money. 

Do your own shopping and cooking

In case you will be staying in a vacation apartment or your hotel room has a kitchen, you can save a lot of money by doing your own grocery shopping and cooking at home. Even if you just prepare one meal a day you can significantly cut your costs, and by buying snacks at the supermarket and staying away from the minibar you can take an even bigger load off your budget. 

Take the leftovers

In case you have a fridge in your room, do not hesitate to ask the waiter to wrap up your leftovers so you can take them with you. Today’s leftovers might become tomorrow’s free lunch.

Ask locals for recommendations

Locals surely know the best places where you can have a good meal that doesn’t cost a lot so ask them to recommend restaurants and bars. In case you don’t speak the same language, simply download a translator app before you leave your room.

Check out the college campus

If the city you are visiting has a college campus, be sure to check its restaurants, bars, and stores. Students often have no money which is why these places are most likely to offer great deals. 

Don’t buy a travel guide

In this day and age when every possible information you might need is online, there is really no need to spend your money on local maps and travel guides. Instead, download some travel apps and you will be good to go.

Choose your souvenirs carefully

Do you really want to buy that seashell bracelet that you will never wear or that colorful scarf that doesn’t really go with anything you own? When you are looking for souvenirs, make sure you will get something you really love or an item you will actually use. These keepsakes can be pricey, so make sure you have made the right choice before you take out your wallet. 

These are just some of the tricks you can use to plan a thrifty vacation. With good organization and clever strategies, your holiday trip won’t leave you broke.