With salaries stagnating, cost of living increasing and student loans overflowing, it has become less common for people to enjoy that right of summer passage, a vacation.
“Growing up we would jump in the car and spend a couple of weeks on the road, normally in Southern California or Arizona and Zion National Park,” said Jeff Lyons, 43, who lives in Littleton with his wife and three children. “It’s really difficult to do that these days. It’s fun to plan for a vacation, but once we get back I find myself spending six months trying to recover from the cost. For us now, it’s mostly just weekend getaways, but the two-week vacation, I think, is a thing of the past.”
Lyons situation is not unique in America. In fact, a recent survey by Bankrate showed that nearly half of Americans (49 percent) don’t plan to take a vacation this summer and 1 in 4 say that reason is because they can’t afford it.
With that in mind La Vida Latina has researched how to vacation on a budget.
As with any budgetary process, money has to be taken from one thing in order to allocate it to something else. Vacationing is no different, so it is important, according to Chelsea Hudson, Senior Public Relations Officer at TopCashback.com, to find ways to cut spending.
“Take a hard look at your upcoming, monthly bills to see where you can trim expenses,” she said. “Do you pay for a subscription you don’t need or a gym membership you barely use? If so, consider putting those on a temporary hold or cancel them altogether to save some cash.”
Choose the right season to travel
“Outside of cost, it’s getting enough time off to really take a vacation,” Lyons said of his struggles to take his family of five on a trip. “The kids are off in the summer, but my wife and I both work and it can be tough for us to both get PTO at the same time and for long enough to really enjoy some time together away from work and out of the house.”
Peak travel season - which typically coincides with holiday breaks and national holidays - is by and large more expensive than off-season travel, Hudson said.
“More often than not, you will find special deals and steals on travel for off-season trips,” she said. “My best advice would be to plan your trip during the low season to give yourself cheaper options. You can also consider traveling during less-popular times such as midweek, early mornings or later in the evening to score a better deal.”
Opt for an Airbnb or pick a hotel off the beaten path
Of course for families like the Lyons, peak season may be the only optional time to travel between work and school, in that case Hudson recommends looking for places to stay that are not in the heart of the city or may be available through Airbnb.
“Often Airbnb will be more accommodating to last-minute bookings, offer lower rates than popular hotel chains and give you plenty of luxuries,” she said. “Whether you book an Airbnb in the heart of the city or in the country, alternative lodging is the best way to save money but still reside in style.”
For those not wanting to adventure outside of the comfort of a hotel room, Hudson added that hotels are inherently cheaper outside of the heart of a city.
“Similar to real estate, location greatly impacts hotel prices,” she said. “You can score an even better deal if you stay 15-20 minutes outside of the city.”