My husband and I are going on vacation next week. Expect blog delays 🙂
Last year my husband and I went to Vegas. It was a big trip. We had two weeks, toured the strip, stayed in a ritzy hotel, did all the touristy things, and then went on a road trip in a rented car to see all the nearby national parks, camping all the way. It was amazing.
This year, we’re going to the maritimes. Probably Vegas’s antithesis. We’ve substituted big hotels and camping, for bed & breakfasts, and our only planned expenditure beyond the rental car and food and board, is a whale-watching excursion.
Some tips for saving money while you travel:
- Whether it’s Vegas or Halifax, research where you’ll be spending the night. Use TripAdvisor to see what (hopefully) unbiased people have said and to see pictures taken by guests of the property. Every place has some negative reviews, but in general, I try to stay at the highest-rated places. I used TripAdvisor to chose my hotel in Vegas, and all the bed & breakfasts out East.
- Book ahead if you’re traveling during peak tourist season. I planned this trip in May. The first year we were married, my husband and I went camping up the coast of British Columbia – and hadn’t booked camping spots ahead of time. We ended up driving around, calling ahead to places on our cell-phone. There was usually 1 spot left. It was a bit nerve-wracking and we definitely ended up staying in at least one sketchy place because it was the only place with room. Lesson learned. If you know you want to travel soon, sign up to get alerts from kayak.com. It aggregates all the travel websites and shows you the best priced flights. Also check redflagdeals.com – we got our flights for 30% off because we were aware of a one day sale.
- “Camping” doesn’t necessitate “cheaper”. Camping equipment is not cheap. Buying everything you need for the first time can really add up. So can buying the fuel for your stove, the drinking water, and the millions of other things you can find at a MEC store. It can be cheaper in the long run – if you end up using it. Try renting or borrowing a tent, if you don’t know how often you’ll be camping in the future. Also, the cheaper camping stuff also tends to be heavier and bulkier – consider the costs of oversized luggage charges before you fly off somewhere.
- Eating out is probably one of the biggest costs on vacation (after travel and board), but also, at least to me, kinda the point. Whether it’s cooking rice over a fire, or eating at an all-you-can-eat Vegas buffet, I love new food experiences! At B&B’s, breakfast (the second “B”) is included. At first I thought we’d be saving all this money because we’d have one less meal to worry about, but when you think of how much it’d cost to feed yourself breakfast for a week… well, let’s just say that the included breakfast is a PERK, but not a real money-saver.
- Finally, figure out what’s important to you, then be flexible – that way, you’ll be happy with how you spend your money, and your time. For my husband and I, it was Anne of Green Gables, whale watching, and the road-trip itself. Driving was part of the adventure. At first, we had booked two days in PEI, but that pushed our driving for one day to seven hours – not fun! So we sacrificed some time in PEI, in order to keep our driving manageable, and I think we’ll be a lot happier with that over all.
This summer will mark my third vacation with my husband (not including our honeymoon!). We’re still learning and after every trip we talk about what we would’ve done differently.We love travel, and have made it a life goal to always take some sort of vacation together (even if it’s just to a rented cottage!) every year. Planning is a big part of easing stress and keeping the vacation fun!
What is the most important thing to you when you’re traveling? Where do you plan on going next?