10 Best Ideas to Vacation on A Budget

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Are you planning a vacation on a budget?

Vacation should be a time to relax and help you escape the stresses of everyday life. Place yourself in a new environment and experiencing new things are also good for your well-being.

But some people said there is no time and money for vacation. Yes, vacations can be expensive. You may need to take time off work.

However, a good vacation doesn’t have to be weeklong or expensive. Vacations can be as little as 2-3 days and on budget.

There are many ways you can take vacations on a budget, spend less, and not go into debt. In this post, you’ll get 10 ideas for vacation on a budget! I hope this post will make you rethink the way you travel (:

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#1 Find more affordable travel destinations

Some travel destinations will be much cheaper than others!

For example, we went to Buckhead Atlanta to explore a new travel destination beginning of May. We didn’t want to go to a place where we had to park on the street. So, we looked for a place where we could play in the suburbs. And we found Buckhead Atlanta! The city was a mixture of modern and historical atmosphere and not crazy expensive.

We really enjoyed the Swan House, located at Atlanta History Center. Atlanta History Center offers more than 33 acres of exhibits, historic houses, and gardens. The Swan House was used as a set location for The Hunger Games. If you like history, you’ll learn a lot from this place! The house is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

We also enjoyed Swan Woods. Beautiful woods, fresh air, and a nice trail. The admission fee was $46.66 for two adults.

#2 Search for free things to do

Before you travel, do a little research to find free things to do at your chosen destination. There may be free concerts, festivals, museums, sightseeing, and more.

Here is a free museum in the United States:

  • National Infantry Museum & Soldier Center – Columbus, GA
  • National Museum of Mexican Art – Chicago, IL
  • Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art – Kansas City, MO
  • Wagner Free Institute of Science – Philadelphia, PA
  • The Museum at FIT – New York, NY
  • Smithsonian Institution – Washington, DC
  • Baltimore Museum of Art – Baltimore, MD
  • Cincinnati Art Museum – Cincinnati, OH
  • The Walters Art Museum – Baltimore, MD
  • Cleveland Museum of Art – Cleveland, OH

#3 Travel off-season

Traveling in the off-season is usually less crowded and cheaper.

We went to Universal Studio beginning of May and it was not crowded at all. It was cheaper airfare when we traveled to Europe in winter. We also traveled to Japan in February, and it was much cheaper airfare compared to other months.

To find the best budget travel deals, looking at off-season travel could be the best idea.

#4 Fly On an Off-Peak Day or Time

For many airports, the busiest time is between 8 am and 5 pm. Flying earlier or later is generally cheaper. We usually fly at 7-8 am or 8 pm-9 pm to save money on airfare.

#5 Use credit card benefits to stay at hotels

Some credit cards offer an annual free night. For instance, Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card comes with a free night at Waldorf Astoria Hotels and Resorts once a year. We used the benefit to stay at Waldorf Astoria Atlanta Buckhead hotel for a free night.

#6 Stay in an Airbnb

If you’re traveling with family or a big group, Airbnb may be a better idea. With Airbnb, you can rent a house with a yard or a house with a kitchen. If you have a kitchen, you can cook and save money on food too.

#7 Use airport lounges to save food expenses

Some credit cards come with a Priority Pass Select airport lounge membership which gets you unlimited access to 1,200+ airport lounges around the world. We saved some food expenses at an airport lounge. (Free food & drinks)

#8 Sign up for a hotel’s loyalty program

Hotels loyalty programs are typically 100% free. You can accrue points with your membership card and maybe your credit card too. I have earned free hotel stays with Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card. Most of the time, these points made our stay for free.

In addition, Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card comes with Hilton Diamond status for as long as you hold the card. The Hilton diamond member gave us a $50 travel credit which can be used for breakfast at Waldorf Astoria. Some savings here too!

There are also other benefits to signing up for these cards or hotels’ loyalty programs. Sometimes you can score free hotel room upgrades, early check-ins, late checkouts, additional discounts, and more.

#9 Avoid downtown

In some touristy areas like downtown Chicago, parking and hotel are expensive. We often take a train to get to downtown Chicago and stay outside of downtown. When we went to Barcelona, we also stay at outside of downtown and took a train to get downtown. In that way, we saved a lot of money on a hotel and parking fees.

#10 Pack light

Extra bag, extra cost. If you’re flying, packing light can help you save money as well as time. Checking a bag can sometimes cost more than $30 for the first bag. Also, if your stuff can fit in carry-on luggage, you don’t have to wait for your luggage at baggage claim.

Wrapping Up

As you can see, there are ways to take a vacation on a budget! Even if you have a tight budget, you may be able to find a way to make it work for sure.

Now, it’s your turn! What are your tips to save money on your vacation?