Travel Inexpensively by Planning Ahead

Travel is one of the most rewarding experiences a person can have, making lifetime memories for your entire family. A trip can easily turn stressful, however, if expenses get out of control. It is wise to plan ahead for not only the known costs, but also for the inevitable unexpected expenses that occur. Read on for some tips for managing the financial aspect of your journey.

Before deciding on a destination, make sure that you know the costs involved for traveling in that area. Choose a place that fits into your budget and will give you plenty of room to splurge on the things that you want to do. Then, make a budget and know ahead of time how much you want to spend. Nothing can ruin a trip more quickly than realizing that you cannot afford the activities and events that you have the opportunity to experience. Know your destination as well as possible before leaving home. Use the Internet to become familiar with all the things to do there, and which things to avoid. Reserve enough money to enjoy the things that are the most important to you, while putting aside enough to splurge on unexpected activities that will be revealed only after arrival.

Shop around for the best fares if you are traveling by air. Search on popular travel sites, as well as the airline's own website. Know the rules for change fees or cancellations, which will generally be more favorable when booking directly with the carrier itself. If your plans are set in stone, you may even want to consider using bargain travel sites or ones in which you can negotiate the fares. Remember also that airfares are generally less expensive on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturdays. Book well in advance for the lowest fares, and don't be afraid to ask for refunds if the fare drops before your departure date. Search for the best hotel rates in the same way that you do for airline tickets. Rates will vary, sometimes greatly, depending on where and when you book them. If booking directly with the hotel, always ask if the rate quoted is the "best rate available." Use discounts that you are entitled to, such as AAA or AA discounts. If you know that you will not need to make changes, consider using websites that require you to pay in full at the time of booking. Be aware, however, that these rates are usually nonrefundable.

Eating out can put a huge drain on your vacation budget, so think ahead about how to avoid some of these costs. If dining in restaurants is a big part of what you enjoy about traveling, then include it in your budget, by all means. Consider, however, booking hotel rooms with refrigerators, so that you can at least save money by eating breakfast or snacks in your room. Pack things like bread and crackers, or purchase them at a local grocery store after arrival. The time spent at the beginning of your trip can more than pay off, with less expensive and more nutritious options for meals in the off times. Bring along a backpack and throw in some snacks for when you are out enjoying activities, so that you can avoid paying for expensive drinks and fast food at venues.

Time spent planning for expenses can make your trip more enjoyable and less stressful on every level. Try some of these ideas to get you on your way in a prudent and responsible manner.

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