Want to travel without breaking the bank? I do to! Welcome my travelfrugalnista (Yes, I totally made up that name), it’s simply means a person with first class luxury on a coach travel budget!
It’s possible to enjoy a fabulous vacation- you’ve just gotta be on your travel hustle if you plan to save. To help get you there, here are some tips on how I (well my spouse and I) were able to explore Colorado for under $1,400 (this includes: flight, hotel, and a rental car) for 6 days.
We invested in creative ways to save for oour vacation. How? I’m glad you asked, by opening a dedicated savings account with automatic transfers and a trusty savings jar for change. It helps you keep an eye on your money and vacation on your mind!
I’m sure you’ve heard this before but it’s true. My friend Fitzhugh Dodson said it best- without goals, and plans to reach them, you are like a ship that has set sail with no destination.
The power of the checklist equals communication power. If you are in a relationship or traveling solo a checklist simply reminds you of what’s most important. I highly recommend planning at least 3-6 months in advance before your trip. This gives you time to save, plan, and prepare.
Here are some things to include in your checklist: Your purpose (why are you traveling), ideal destinations, cost associated with each ideal location, needs and wants while traveling, and important additional notes from your research.
Our purpose: Rekindle time together
Ideal location: Cruise (Eastern Trip) or Colorado
Estimated Cost: $2,000 or $1400
Total Amount Saved: $1,500
Needs: Non-stop flight, hotel amenities must include free parking and continental breakfast, minimum 3.5 stars
Wants: Heated pool, jacuzzi, fitness center
Additional Notes: Altitude adjustment and climate change
The vacation winner was Colorado (in case you were wondering)!
Join a Facebook Group or Follow Travel Savvy Sites
Joining a group will help alert you to any travel deals. The benefits of connecting with a group or travel site creates a community of support and shared wisdom. Two groups, I personally joined were Part-Time Travelers Talk and The Ultimate Travel Group.
Think off-peak seasons, the Huffington Post listed Denver as one of the top off peak destinations to travel to between November and March. During the low peak season, airlines, hotels, and travel companies are eager to attract paying customers with low rates. Additional, being flexible with our travel dates allowed us to take advantage of the lowest rate.
Its typically cheaper to book a bundle package to save huge bucks. I did test this theory out, just in case you were wondering. I tested several sites- which included Priceline, Expedia, and Travelocity for a bundle package deals for two for 6 days/5night to Colorado. The winner in that category was Priceline at $1,380.
For comparison, I shopped for airlines, rental car, and hotel separately. The price for the flights were around the same price starting at about $280 roundtrip, not including baggage fees. Hotel pricing can range quite a bit depending on the location, and your personal needs and wants. When booking consider surrounding cities outside of the metropolitan area. We booked a hotel outside of Denver which helped lower our bundle deal.
Alternative Search Engines
Of course, I had to extend my research options. If your just in need of transportation deals check out a few of my favorite sites:
Rome 2 Rio
The Flight Deal
Ask for a gift card or cash to use towards your traveling plans for your birthday, graduation, or any other special occasion. Since, my birthday was close in range it helped to secure a gift donation of $150 for luggage fees (ka-ching). If you’re going to receive a gift anyway, you might as well be specific and ask for something you can use that is travel related.
Use a Travel Guide App
I am a huge fan of Tripadvsior! It’s my online personal travel advisor with unbiased options of the best restaurants, activities to add to your to-do list, and trip ideas. This how we spotted Voodoo Donuts, The Denver Biscuit Company, and the local museum.
Check Out Discount Sites
Who not loving Groupon or Livingsocial? Both sites offer daily deals to consumer at a deep discount. What’s not appealing to save half price or more on your purchase? Before leaving we needed a park and fly location, solution Groupon. The original price was $60 for 6 days with Groupon we paid $33.
Think Before You Eat
Bring your own snacks. Since the hotel offered complimentary breakfast, we complimentary packed snacks that were portable for traveling helping to save us significant bucks over a 6 day period. It also helped to avoid over ordering when we did eat out.