Today we’ll discuss some of great ways to keep within your budget on lodging and food while on vacation.
Finding the perfect place to stay when planning a vacation can be just as nerve-racking as figuring out how you’ll get to your destination. You want to be able to treat yourself, but you don’t want most of your vacation budget to just go to where you will lay your head at night. Here are a few ideas I’ve tried when planning our summer trips.
Open your big, frugal mouth
This is one of the easiest things to do when it comes to trying to keep things inexpensive; let people know your intentions. Friends and family members are always eager to help you out if you are generally looking for help, whether it’s to find a car, a crib for baby or a place to stay on vacation. Let them know that you are looking for recommendations for your destination and to pass on the word to their friends and family. Before you know it, you may have someone telling you that they’ve found you a great deal on a house rental during that time period or they have a buddy that manages one of the hotels in the city you are traveling to. It’s as simple as letting people know your intentions.
Timeshares and house rentals are the way to go
I posted yesterday about a great website that helps you find some of the cheapest Timeshare rentals at most of the biggest vacation spots. That is a great way to go if you want to keep things frugal but still have a luxurious vacation experience. You’ll be able to have full rooms for almost everyone on your trip, a full kitchen to cook meals if need be, and in some cases, you can use all of the amenities that are available where that timeshare is located. The same goes for house rentals. I think this is one of those biggest untapped resources for frugal travelers. Renting of a whole house is so convenient and will make the trip seem more like a home away from home. If you Google “house rentals” you’ll see a plethora of great resources to use to find a place. Feel weird about using someone’s house that you don’t know? Find out if a family member, friend or friend of a friend will be taking a vacation soon and wants a house-sitter. This way, they have someone to keep an eye on their place while they are jet-setting, and you have a actual home to sleep in while you are on vacation.
Traveling internationally? Try a hostel!
Liz, one of my readers, left a comment saying that hostels are also a great resource for lodging. She wasn’t sure if it was a family-friendly idea, but yes Liz, it is! I’ve done some research, and talked to a few friends of mine that vacation overseas quite a bit, and there are hostels that are family friendly. You are able to rent a “suite” which consists of a 2 room dormitory-type setup. These rooms usually go for about 20 to 40 dollars a night and are located all over Europe. Check out Hostel World for help on how to find and book these rooms.
Take advantage of a big group
If you are planning a big vacation with a good amount of friends or family, take advantage of your size. Contact hotels in the area you will be vacationing, and let them know that you are part of a large group of travelers. More often than not, they will be eager to give you an instant discounts on rooms. This may be in the form of a code to say or use when each family calls to make reservations, or maybe just a whole block of rooms reserved for your traveling party. If at all possible, try NOT to use the 1 800 numbers for hotel chains. By calling the actual hotel directly, you can rack up some deep savings.