How to Save Money on Vacation

save money while on vacation

How to Save Money on Vacation

The start of the summer season is coming up, and for many people, that means vacation time. Vacations can take on many forms and don’t have to bust your budget. With some careful planning and searching, you can create the ultimate vacation that won’t stress you out financially.

Staying Local

  • Go Camping: Camping is a great way to get away on the cheap. Reserve campsites early, as they often get booked quickly. Opt to rough-it and bring your own tent, sleeping bag, and food. Tell stories by the campfire and make s’mores. Get back to nature and enjoy the beauty that surrounds you.
  • House Swap: Coordinate with a friend who also is planning a vacation and swap homes. Changing your environment is one of the best parts of vacation, and you’ll feel cozy staying at a local residence of a friend while exploring a new neighborhood or city.
  • The Do-Nothing Staycation: When is the last time you sat around and did nothing? When was the last time you were really relaxed? Taking some time off of work to lay around, read, relax, and do mostly nothing is great for recharging your batteries. It also eliminates any stressful logistics of planning for a vacation elsewhere, and saves you tons of money. Bonus: You’ll probably be a better worker, friend, and partner by taking the time to relax and rest.

Going Abroad

  • Travel Hack: Travel hacking is a way to see the world for free by signing up for credit card promotions. If you are a responsible borrower, and have good credit, you can acquire enough points for an international trip within a few months.
  • Stay in Hostels or Motels: Whenever I travel abroad, I always stay in hostels. I am not going abroad to hang out in a hotel, or sleep all day, so I really just need a place to lay my head. Hostels are great because you can meet people from all over the world. You can meet new friends, have local travel guides, and most of the time you have access to a kitchen to make your own meals.
  • Limit Meals Out: One of the most expensive things about traveling abroad is eating out. I try and find a place to stay that has a continental breakfast, or has a kitchen so I can make my own meals. I also make it a point to go grocery shopping for snacks and on-the-go meals. Generally speaking, I save up for a nice meal out at dinner. Going out for one meal a day while traveling, instead of three meals a day, saves a ton of money!
  • Walk Everywhere: Traveling abroad is great for exploring other cultures, learning about the history of a different country, or practicing a new language. To save money and find off-the-beaten path areas, walk everywhere. While taking public transportation in another country is a great skill to have, I find you learn more by walking. It’s also frugal and a great way to stay in shape while on vacation. I have been known to walk for hours and get lost when traveling. Just be sure to bring a map and know the areas you might want to stay away from.

What are some of your favorite ways to save money on vacation?

Melanie blogs about breaking up with debt at and invites others to write breakup letters to their debt as well. She’s accumulated a total of $81k in student loan debt between two degrees. Currently she puts more than 50% of her income towards debt, while living a frugal, fun life. Melanie enjoys travel, art, music, adventure, and of course, personal finance.