Summer is coming up soon – and that means that most Americans are going to be going on vacation. 35% of families plan on taking a vacation this summer. Summer has always been a popular time for vacations because kids are out of school, and many businesses slow down during the warmer months.
But going on vacation can be pretty hard on your wallet. From booking hotels, to cars, cabs, food, activities and more – a vacation can easily cost you thousands of dollars, especially with a larger family. So how can you save money on your vacation, but still have a great time?
Find out with this guide from EJ Gift Cards! From tips on how to eat for less, to saving money by buying discounted gift cards, you can learn how to stretch your dollar – and have a great vacation while staying on-budget.
1. Start Planning At Least Several Months In Advance
This is the most important tip in our guide. Hotels, rental car agencies, and airline companies tend to have the lowest rates 2-3 months in advance of your trip.
For example, most airlines will have their lowest rates about 50 days before the departure date of a flight. By booking during this window, you may also be able to save quite a bit of money.
The same is often true of rental car agencies and hotels. The longer you wait to book a hotel, the more likely it is that the rooms have started to fill up – so the hotel may start to charge a premium based on the demand for their hotel rooms.
It’s a good idea to start planning several months in advance of your trip, and to use price monitoring tools like Google Flights and HotelsCombined to track the prices of hotels and airfare. You can monitor pricing trends and book your tickets at the ideal time – potentially saving hundreds of dollars.
2. Make Sure To Maximize Rewards Points When Booking Cars, Tickets, And Hotels
To make the most of your summer vacation, you should be paying for everything with a rewards credit card.
Most rewards credit cards from companies like Discover, Visa, and American Express allow you to earn multiple points per dollar when you spend money on airfare, hotels, restaurants, and rental cars. By using one of these cards to book everything, you can maximize your rewards points.
You could even consider signing up for a new rewards credit card that offers you points based on how much you spend.
For example, some American Express cards give you 50,000 extra points when you spend a certain amount within a few months of opening your account, which can be quite valuable. Just make sure that you don’t overspend – and pay off your credit cards responsibly!
In addition, you’ll want to make sure that you’re signed up for other loyalty programs for car rentals, hotels, and airlines. By using a rewards credit card and a loyalty program together, you can get even more rewards points.
3.Think About Going Somewhere That’s “Off Season”
Everybody wants to go to the beach when it’s the summer. But you can save quite a bit of money if you go to an “off-season” area, such as a ski resort, or a national park like The Grand Canyon or Yellowstone during the summer, instead.
Typically, flights and hotels at off-season vacation destinations will be quite a bit cheaper, compared to hot tourist destinations. If you don’t already have your heart set on a particular destination, you can browse flights to different vacation areas, and see which ones may be the cheapest.
And if you are already thinking about a specific travel destination, it may be worth delaying your trip – and waiting until most tourists have already left.
If you can wait until September to take your vacation, for example, most kids will be back in school – so going to a popular family vacation destination like Orlando will likely be quite a bit cheaper!
4. Schedule Flights For Odd Hours, Or In The Middle Of The Week
Booking airline travel is easily the most costly part of a vacation, if you’re choosing to go somewhere that’s out or driving distance. Tickets to domestic destinations can cost hundreds of dollars – and if you’re going international, you’re looking at a four-figure price tag, minimum.
How can you save money on airfare? As mentioned in tip #1, it’s a good idea to start looking for tickets several months before your vacation. But there’s another great way to find lower rates on airline tickets – by leaving at odd hours of the day, or in the middle of the week.
Most people tend to leave for vacations early in the morning or in the afternoon on Fridays, and they’ll usually also schedule their return trips for the weekend, so that they maximize their vacation days.
This means that, if you book flights from Tuesday-Thursday, you may be able to save quite a bit of money.
It may be a little more difficult to work your schedule around leaving in the middle of the week, but if you can pull it off, you could save hundreds of dollars on airline tickets. This may not work in every situation, but it’s worth a try!
5. Don’t Go Out For Every Meal – And Skip The Extras
Does your hotel, bed and breakfast, or Airbnb include a free breakfast? Good – eat there every morning! You’re already paying for the meal, so you might as well take advantage of it, even if you can only eat some yogurt, pastries, or cold cereal.
In addition, consider avoiding going out for every meal. If you can book a hotel with a kitchen or a kitchenette, or book an Airbnb with a full kitchen, you’ll be able to save a ton of money on meals – particularly if you have a larger family.
Obviously, you should still try to sample local cuisine as much as possible, and enjoy your vacation. But if you can eat a free breakfast, and have simple, easy-to-prepare meals like like sandwiches for lunch, you’ll be able to save money, and still go out to dinner every night.
Then, when it is time to go out for dinner, you won’t have to feel bad about spending money on expensive restaurants – or accidentally going over your vacation budget!
You should also consider skipping “extras” during your nights out on the town. Those glasses of wine, appetizers, and desserts can add quite a bit of money to your meal – especially when you factor in a generous tip.
6. Look For Free Entertainment Options
You don’t always have to pay for entertainment at your vacation destination. Most places have a lot of choices for fun, free activities. Here are some ideas on how to have a great time on vacation – for free!
- Look for free local museums and historic areas
- Visit local, state, or national parks
- Check with local tourist boards and visitor resources to learn about upcoming public events
- Visit local municipal websites to check their calendar for public events such as concerts, festivals, and other free-to-attend events
- Go on a self-guided walking tour of your vacation destination
- Have a picnic at the park, or on the beach
There are dozens of options, depending on where you’re staying. So don’t stress about spending too much money on recreational activities. If you take the time to sit down and look through the available local resources, you’re sure to find plenty of fun things you can do for free.
7. Think About Driving Instead Of Flying – Especially With A Larger Family
If you can drive to your vacation destination within a day, you should consider simply driving instead of flying – especially if you have kids.
While it may make sense for 2 people to fly to a vacation destination, due to the cost of gas and how long it takes to drive to you destination, the cost starts to increase quite a bit when you’re taking 3, 4, or 5+ people on a flight.
In addition, it’s usually easier to deal with your kids when you’re on a road trip, compared to on a plane, and you don’t have to worry about missing your flights, or the added expense of getting a rental car.
However, this is usually only a good idea if your destination is within a 1-day drive of your home. If you have to pay to stay in a hotel before you get to your vacation destination, the cost of driving may start to rise considerably. In addition, your kids may start to get irritated and unruly if they have to spend too much time in the car.
8. Save On Your Vacation Essentials With Discounted Gift Cards
Wondering how you can save money on all of the things you’ll need to buy before your vacation? With discounted gift cards from a gift card reseller like EJ Gift Cards!
We sell discounted gift cards to hundreds of different merchants, restaurants, and retailers. From Target to Wal-Mart, Nordstrom, and more. By shopping with us for gift cards, and using our discounted gift cards to buy supplies for your vacation, you can save quite a bit of money.
Need to pick up a new swimsuit for you or one of your kids before your beach vacation? We sell GAP gift cards for a discount, so you can save some money, and still get whatever you need!
Worried that you’ll need essentials like sunblock, shampoo, and other basics once you get to your vacation destination? You can buy a gift card to a nationwide pharmacy like CVS or WalGreens, and save money on your purchase!
If you take the time to think about everything you’ll need to buy before – and during – your vacation, you can buy cheap gift cards from EJ Gift Cards, and stack up your savings!
How can we sell gift cards directly to our customers for less than face value? It’s simple! EJ Gift Cards allows you to sell unwanted gift cards directly to us. Anyone who wants to can sell us a gift card they don’t want, and we’ll pay them for a percentage of its value through PayPal.
Then, we resell these gift cards after confirming their authenticity, for a slight markup! That way, you can enjoy huge discounts on gift cards to top retailers. It’s just that simple!
Follow These Tips – And Start Saving Money On Your Vacation!
You don’t have to let your next vacation break the bank. With these simple tips from EJ Gift Cards, you’ll be able to save money on every part of your vacation – from stocking up on vacation essentials, to booking flights, hotels car rentals, and even going out to eat!
Interested in buying cheap gift cards from us for your next vacation? Take a look at what we have to offer! You’re sure to find great discounts on useful gift cards, and you’ll be able to stretch your vacation budget even further.
Got questions about what we do? Take a look at our FAQs now, or feel free to reach out to one of our customer service representatives. We’d be happy to hear from you, and tell you more about our services.