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Lifestyle: How to Pull Off Thrifty Vacations

Ain’t nobody got time to stay in one place!

Ah, your twenties. Those magical years when you are finally independent and have your own money. Of course, having that money comes with spending more of it, especially on bills and paying off loans. Even with these budget constraints, these are the best years for you to travel!

Now, traveling can be expensive and we don’t always have a lot of vacation time to spare. That being said, there are definitely ways to pull-off long weekend vacations with limited funds (and suitcase space!). Here are my tips for quick getaways:

1. Sign up for every travel rewards program that you can.

There are definitely perks to being loyal. When you book travel and use mile or loyalty programs, the points add up to savings and even free flights or stays in the future. Sure, you may get a lot of emails, but that’s what folders are for. Have those emails go straight to a “Travel” folder, or opt out of promotional emails, if you’d like.

2. Save your change.

This may sound silly, but for every vacation that I go on, I have a change jar. I save all my change for the months leading up to my trip and try to use cash as much as possible so that I have extra spending money. Seems like it wouldn’t make a difference, but it does!

3. Book your travel for non-peak days that extends into a weekend.

If possible, book your travel using a site like Kayak that shows you different prices with various date combinations. This will help you to see what dates are within your budget. It’s also best to try to make the cheapest combination include a weekend so that you can save those precious vacation days!

4. Get hip to travel apps and sites.

I’m not talking about just your typical Orbitz or Expedia. Apps like Hotel Tonight are great for those spur of the moment overnight trips requiring a hotel stay and it even let’s you book up to a week in advance now. Airbnb is another alternative that let’s you rent rooms or homes from regular people instead of paying for a hotel. There are a ton of apps and sites that help you to make the most of your time and money; just search your app store!

5. Pack like a pro.

No one wants to pay for checking bags when you don’t have to. So, pack smart. The basic way to get the most out of your luggage space is to arrange your shoes at the bottom of the bag and to roll your clothes for most space. I say you take that a step further. Your shoes have space where you can tuck socks and underwear, and Space Bags can roll out air and save you SO much room. And if you’re a woman who carries handbags, use your personal item allowance to bring along a backpack that can fit more essentials AND your purse!

6. Research, research, research!

If you want to get low prices, you have to put in a little effort. If you have certain activities in mind, look up ways to find discounts. Can you use your AAA membership? Are there coupons online you can print? Is it on Groupon or Amazon Deals? Any discount you can get helps, so do your research.

7. Be local.

Don’t get sucked into tourist traps. Some of the best and most authentic experiences come from adventures off the beaten path. The best part? Doing things like a local is usually cheaper than doing things like a local. Find out the best dives and hidden gems where you’re traveling and save that money you would’ve spent on the tourist hot spot.

Image via Visit Meaford

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