KENTUCKY — Going on vacation often means throwing a little caution to the wind and indulging here and there on purchases or experiences a person wouldn't normally make at home.
According to a 2015 CBS News poll, the average American is entitled to 16 days of paid leave each year, and the average Canadian worker 19 days. Such time off is an opportunity to fit lots of fun into a relatively short period of time.
Frugal travelers may want to be sure they're spending their hard-earned money in the smartest ways. Traveling without breaking the bank enables the average person to take more vacations and continue to make invaluable memories.
Here are some suggestions on making a getaway, whether it involves lots of traveling or staying close to home, more affordable.
Be flexible. Travelers who are flexible in their departure dates and times can usually find great rates because they have the ability to shop price instead of date. Various airline websites and travel discount services show the average flight prices across several days. Frugal fliers can select the lowest price. The same can be true when booking hotels and other vacation components.
Pack light. Many airlines now charge extra for baggage fees - especially for suitcases that exceed the weight limit - so don't bring along unnecessary items. Hotels typically provide toiletries for free, so save space and money by removing such items from your luggage. Chances are if you didn't pack an item, you can still find an affordable alternative at your destination.
Use coupons. Coupons aren't only for getting cents off your favorite brand of tissue at the supermarket. Coupons and discount codes are available for just about any purchase - even vacations. Check all travel websites to see if there are any deals to be had. Don't overlook discounts related to your membership in clubs such as AAA or AARP or those linked to your alumni or military organization. According to RetailMeNot, having a social media account can help, too. Travel deal sites and airlines may post about flash sales.
Plan meals. Look into economical restaurants before departing. Know where you'll be eating and when, including packing a lunch or enjoying a hotel-provided breakfast. Enjoying a big lunch can be more frugal than indulging on dinner.
Rent small. If renting a car, choose the smallest model that will fit your needs. In addition, there's no need to pay for a large room that you don't plan to spend much time in, so resist the temptation to book large hotel rooms.
Consider public transportation. Investigate the public transportation options at your destination. Such options may not be as convenient as taxis, but they may be more economical.
Book based on currency. Stay abreast of currency exchange rates. Such rates can make a big difference in choosing a destination, particularly if your money will be worth more internationally. Also, try booking a vacation through the local country's version of the same travel site.
Skip tourist hotspots. Talk to the locals to find out where to get the best deals. Try local foods, brews and more for a cost savings.
Travel can be expensive, but savings are possible when travelers know where to look.
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