Vacationing on a budget

Vacations can be expensive. According to American Express, the average vacation expense per person in the U.S. is $1,145— that’s $4,580 for a family of four!

Here are a few ways to plan for a vacation that won’t break the bank:

Do your research

People in the digital age expect that their first Google search result will tell them what they need to know. Be sure to do some research by reading travel blogs, checking reputable sites and asking well-traveled people for their insights. Don’t grab the first deal you see—it might not necessarily be the best.

Time it right

Timing can make a huge difference when it comes to planning your vacation. Planning a trip can be expensive if you go during school vacations, winter months or around particular events. If you can, try to travel off-season when rates are generally lower. You may also benefit from planning a last minute trip. and are entirely dedicated to last minute travelers, while other sites such as Orbitz and Expedia offer last-minute listings as well.

Eat smart

Eating out is expensive, especially when you’re dining in a major tourist area. Opt to dine at spots that are less costly than high-end restaurants. Do some research on Yelp or Urbanspoon and choose your price range to find local dining at prices you can afford. You can also stop at a local grocery store to stock up on food for your trip. Picnics are a great alternative to eating out while still taking in the local sites.

Go all-inclusive

All-inclusive packages may look expensive up front, but the initial extra cost may be well worth it in the long-run. When you book an all-inclusive, you’re generally paying all your food and beverage fees up front. That means you won’t be surprised with any extras upon checkout and can enjoy your trip guilt-free. Many all-inclusives will offer occasional deals, so if you know the date you’re traveling you can keep an eye on the site in advance for deals and promotions before booking.

Travel light

Some airlines won’t charge for partial luggage, while others charge $25 per bag and will increase the price as you add on two or three bags. Research multiple airline policies to learn about their baggage fees. Save space by leaving out amenities that are often included in hotels such as shampoo, soap, towels and hairdryers. Bring versatile clothing that can be matched with other pieces for extra use and don’t pack heavy, bulky items or wear them to save space in your luggage.

Skip the luxury hotels

Chances are you aren’t spending much time in your room while you’re on vacation. If you’re only using your room to crash at night, opt for a cheaper room or look into a hostel. Opting for cheaper accommodations can really add up in savings.

Looking for other ways to finance your vacation? Consider a credit card or personal loan from Northwest and let us take you where you want to go. Visit our Personal Loans page to learn more.