How to Book an Affordable Vacation This Summer
Ready for a summer escape? If you’re daydreaming about getting away this summer but are trying to avoid racking up a crazy travel bill, fear not. Whether you’re in the market for an affordable family vacation or want to see the world solo, here are some tips and tricks that could help you book an affordable vacation this year.
1. Signing Up for Flight Alerts
If you have a specific destination in mind, you could set up a flight alert. A variety of sites allow you to track airfare rates so you’ll be alerted when the price drops for your travel dates. Kayak , Skyscanner , or Airfarewatchdog might be good places to start so you can have a better idea of when to buy tickets.
If you have your crew in tow, it could be a great way to book an affordable fun family vacation.
2. Booking Flights in Advance
There is a lot of research on the right time to buy a flight. According to CheapAir, the prime booking window for the best price is anywhere from 21 to 115 days before your flight.
It might also be worth factoring your destination into the mix as you plan your flight purchase. The location could influence when you should look for deals. For example, if you want to head to Europe for the summer, you might consider booking six months in advance. Kayak’s annual travel hacker guide has the full list of the best times to book flights for each region.
3. Booking a “Rewarding” Flight
You could consider signing up for a travel rewards credit card and reap the benefits of points. There are a lot on the market, so you might want to do a bit of research. You could consider one that offers a signup bonus, as that might be a fast way to get a lot of points.
If you are thinking of getting a card tied to a specific airline, you might consider where you live and where you are heading. For example, if you live in Atlanta, it might make sense to get a card with points for Delta Airlines , as that is one of the carrier’s hubs.
While “travel hacking” sounds great, you might want to pay off your bill in full every month. Although the signup bonuses can equal a free or cheaper flight, if you don’t pay the cards off every month, the interest, fees, and penalties might outweigh the benefits.
4. Being Location Agnostic
Another cool tool on the internet is Skyscanner’s Everywhere search . It allows you to put in a price and your departure city and shows you all the places you can go for that price.
If you aren’t necessarily committed to a certain city, it could be a fun way to find new, affordable vacation spots.
5. Considering a House Swap
The cost of lodging can add up, especially if you plan on being away from home for more than a few nights. But if you have a nice house in a place where people might want to vacation, you could consider doing a house swap.
Arranging a home exchange involves some logistics, as your vacation schedule would have to match up with the potential host’s, so if this seems like an option for you, you might want to start looking into it early. You could sign up on sites like HomeExchange or LoveHomeSwap to see what options are out there.
6. Visiting Hot Spots in the Off-Season
Forget about Italy in July or the Caribbean in February . The best time to visit exotic locales and make them affordable vacation spots might be the so-called “shoulder season .” Not only might flights be cheaper, you can often find discounted rates on hotels.
7. Experiencing the Great Outdoors
If you’re looking for an affordable family vacation, camping might be an exciting way to travel at a lower cost. There are campgrounds scattered across the country, including many at national parks.
Campground fees vary by park, but the cost may sting less knowing that the money from the fees is for maintaining the parks. If you’re planning to visit multiple national parks in one year, the National Park Service (NPS) offers annual passes .
You could also consider using the site HipCamp , where private landowners list their own properties for camping. You can search by location, how much you want to pay, pets allowed, glamping, and several other options.
8. Volunteering as You Travel
For those into solo travel who have a lot of time, one potential way to snag an affordable vacation in a hot spot is to work at a hostel. If you work a certain number of hours a week, you could stay in a dream destination with no fees for your accommodations.
It might take some coordination and flexibility, but it could be a great way to see a new place for cheap. Sites like Workaway and Help Exchange list volunteer opportunities in exchange for room and board and sometimes other perks, like food or internet access.
9. Making the Most of Small Trips
In the age of Instagram, it might seem like adventure involves long flights to faraway locations. But as any real traveler knows, it’s not about how far the destination is or how different things are there.
You can take a short trip to the next county over and still experience new things. Even a staycation might be a relaxing reprieve from your hectic day-to-day life.
If you are planning on traveling, near or far, consider opening a SoFi Money® cash management account. It seamlessly allows you to spend, save, and earn all in one product.
And the biggest benefit for those with wanderlust?
With SoFi Money, you can use your card at over 55,000 ATMs worldwide and we’ll reimburse the fees (subject to change). This means you can easily access your money across the globe.
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