Money 308: Big Decisions – Vacations

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Money 307: Big Decisions – Holidays

Enjoy for less

  • Organize your own tour and look for free or discounted days for monuments and museums
  • Keep the whole experience unplanned
  • Be courageous in haggling on literally everything, especially when you’re not in the West
  • Don’t fixate on collecting souvenirs, since they often go into a box to be forgotten once you go home
  • Track your spending in a small notebook to avoid going over budget

Make it a bold adventure (but don’t get taken advantage of)

  • Go organic farming through WWOOF
  • Crew a yacht or cruise ship
  • Work at a hostel

Save on shelter

  • Conventionally
    • Rent a hostel or local guesthouse instead of a hotel
    • If you’re going to a hotel, price shop with a discount room-filling service like Priceline or Hotwire
    • Consider getting a timeshare only if you plan on making vacationing a yearly experience and have lots of extra money for it
  • Unconventionally
    • Rent out your home
    • House-sit for someone needing it online
    • House-swap with someone in the classified ads for where you want to stay
    • Pack a tent and/or camp in a garden
    • Couch-surf through an internet posting
    • Rent an apartment if you’ll be there for more than 2 days, especially with a big group
    • Try renting from a local host through a site like airbnb

Travel more affordably

  • When flying with kids
    • Buy the infant-on-lap ticket
    • Get a bassinet seat
    • Ask for a courtesy bag for car seats
    • Carry your luggage in a stroller
    • Ask for children’s snack packs
  • Research on the internet about the cheapest way to get anywhere, and be open-minded
    • Traveling at night is usually less popular and therefore cheaper
    • It’s more affordable to sleep on a sleeper train than get a hotel
  • Walk and/or hitchhike, depending on the region
  • Rent a car if train tickets are expensive
    • Keep track of all of your receipts, and be ready to contest any strange fees
  • Look into if a country has a weekly or monthly rail pass for tourists
  • Use a ride sharing service like Uber instead of a cab service
  • Try an alternative method like getting a motorbike and touring overland

Save on eating

  • Eat the biggest meal at lunch, since that’s when the most specials run
  • Eat at local places instead of familiar places in foreign countries, be bold and ask around
  • Visit anywhere that serves alcohol during happy hour (which varies in time based on the country)
  • Depending on the country, you may be able to rent out a kitchen

Secure funding in an unconventional way

  • Raise funds for a worthy cause
  • Get a travel scholarship
  • Take up a challenge and get sponsored for something intense
  • Enter a contest
Next: Money 309: Big Decisions – Family Deaths