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Five Tips for a Budget-Friendly Vacation

Posted on Friday, July 5, 2024
by AMAC, D.J. Wilson

Vacation costs

Taking a vacation during summertime is a dream for many families. Perhaps they hope to explore wonderous places such as Utah’s Zion National Park, see special monuments like the celebrated Statue of Liberty, travel internationally, or play frisbee barefoot on the beach. Vacationing is all about having fun. Unfortunately, going on holiday can be expensive. Not only are travel prices up, but workers can potentially lose earnings from time away from work. That can be a double whammy. Per Pacaso, it’s estimated that the average vacation for one person in the United States costs about $1,986 per week. This is concerning for travelers on budgets and for those with large families. Don’t lose hope as there’s a silver lining. It is still possible to enjoy a vacation as long as it’s budget-friendly!

Here are five tips for a budget-friendly vacation:

  1. Book early and avoid peak season travel. Nerdwallet shares that you can get discounts on flights by traveling in the off season and by booking your trip at the right time. A few years back, analyzed close to a billion airfares across global regions to figure out how far in advance one should book a flight to gain the cheapest deal. Their result? International flights vary by destination. However, for a European trip, ideally 79 days from departure is optimal for booking. It’s also cheapest to travel to Europe in October and November. Avoid May and June months which tend to be the most expensive. Domestic travelers are also encouraged to book flights at least one month before traveling to save approximately 10 percent. Booking at short notice provides fewer options as prices increase with demand.  
  2. Take advantage of discounts. AMAC, for example, offers member benefits to include travel and lodging discounts. One may compare hundreds of hotels through AMAC Explore (Please add internal link) or book vacations with a valued partner of AMAC. Thinking of going on a cruise? AMAC members have access to exclusive discounts on a variety of river and ocean cruises – all planned with the help of a vacation specialist. Other member benefits include emergency medical assistance for travel, entertainment benefits, food and dining discounts – and more. Folks who travel by air regularly may wish to book flights with credit cards that earn rewards or offer reward transfers or flight upgrades to save money.  
  3. Vacation close to home. Staying closer to home has many benefits. Mainly, it reduces travel expenses since flights and rental cars are generally not required. Travelers will use less gas and toll money on short versus long distance trips.  Additionally, folks are more likely to be familiar with regions and areas near their home, so they will have better knowledge of economical places to explore and stay. If going away is too costly, consider a “staycation” or “holistay,” where families vacation at home and participate in inexpensive leisure activities such as backyard volleyball games or campfires at dusk. Families may also opt for short day trips such as visiting local zoos or museums, playing mini golf, going out for ice cream, bowling, or to the movies as examples.
  4. Stay with extended family. Visiting relatives is not only an awesome way to stay connected, but it’s also a way to save money on hotels. However, it’s important to agree on arrival times and departure, set boundaries, follow house rules, and reciprocate the offer. Be clear that your family will be doing some activities on your own and avoid “being in the way.” Never expect relatives to entertain you or pay for your meals. Do your best to be grateful, polite, clean, quiet and respectful guests.
  5. Dial down the plans. Rather than vacation for a week or two, or stay at a super fancy and expensive hotel, opt for a long-weekend getaway at an affordable yet lovely destination. Additionally, plan activities with your budget in mind. That may mean skipping meals out and opting to eat-in or spending one full day at the amusement park rather than three. Understand that great times can still be had even when staying at a 3-star hotel instead of a 5-star facility. Kids don’t care about staying at upscale fancy hotels offering fine dining. Rather, they seek fun, and time well spent together.

It can be done!

We hope you find these five tips for a budget-friendly vacation helpful. Don’t miss out on the family fun because of money. Making memories is always doable no matter the size of the vacation funds. Discover clever ways to enjoy dedicated time with loved ones, whether it be taking short budget-friendly vacations, doing single day trips, or staying home and camping in the backyard. Know that you can save a lot when you plan well and in advance, take advantage of travel discounts, vacation close to home or with relatives, or scale back the plans to spend your time and money sensibly and still have fun!

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John Shipway
John Shipway
8 days ago

“Budget friendly vacation”? This “great nation” has led people like me, who lost their retirement savings on seeing to the healthcare needs of a terminally ill spouse, eating hydrated spaghetti noodles with a dollop of cheap margarine during the last 7-10 days of each month while watching an 11 year old television show images of wetbacks eating off our nations welfare dime and living in four and five star hotels, again on our nations dime.
So, budget friendly vacation for folks like me is the monthly trip to the local food pantry hoping that this month they have more than rock hard french bread and bagged “beef stew product”, whatever that crap is.
Have a great vacation America.

1 day ago

Funny, I tried to use my AMAC discount on hotel stays, several nights, and there is no way to apply for the discount online while making reservations. Pretty worthless.

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