After a year of staying at home, a single post-COVID-vaccine vacation might not be enough to quench your travel lust –– but the cost of all those aspirational travel expenses may feel limiting. 💰
Enter: 5 ways to plan a budget-friendly vacation, with help from the budgeting pros at Greenville Federal Credit Union — whether you’re just back from spring break and ready to plan your next family getaway or starting to think about your first vaccinated adventure.
1. Make it a #RoadTrip. 🚙
- It’s both cheaper and more COVID-conscious to drive than it is to fly, especially if your destination is less than 8 hours away. (Read: When you don’t need to stop + stay in a hotel room.) This list of the 15 Best Cheap Summer Vacations includes Surfside Beach, SC, Williamsburg, VA + Daytona, FL – all under a 7-hour drive from GVL.
- #ProTip: Frequent travelers should consider signing up for a travel-specific credit card. The Visa Signature card offers triple points on travel expenses – not just on flights, but on gas and hotels for stops along the way.
2. To Airbnb or not to Airbnb? 🛏️
- Depending on your destination + the number of people you’re traveling with, renting a vacation home through Homeaway, Vrbo or Airbnb might be more affordable (and relaxing) than a hotel. And opting to stay in a home or condo means avoiding crowded lobbies, hallways + elevators.
- If you’re a frequent traveler (for work or play), consider becoming a member of a travel rewards program (like Expedia Rewards, which is free), which can get you access to deeply-discounted hotel rooms (and now some privately-owned homestays, similar to Airbnbs).
3. Plan ahead to find ways to save. 🎟️
- Take some time before your trip to budget — i.e. map out an approximate sum of money you plan to spend each day on meals, transportation (i.e. subway fare, cabs + Ubers/Lyfts) and planned activities.
- If you’re splurging on an expensive Airbnb but also paying down a car or personal loan, look into Skip-a-Pay, Greenville Federal Credit Union members’ service for skipping a loan payment on a select month when your budget may be strained.
- Look into prices for everywhere you plan on going to find deals and discounts in advance instead of paying more in the moment (#ProTip: museums offer free admission on certain days of the week). Bonus: Greenville Federal Credit Union offers discounted tickets to several nearby destinations exclusively for their members.
- Working remotely? Schedule a work sesh or two into your trip so you can use less PTO, which means more money in your paycheck.
4. Hit the grocery store. 🛒
- Meals in restaurants can be the highlights of a vacation, but you can seriously save – and make those special meals more special – by stocking up on items for easy (and healthy) breakfasts + lunches, like fruit, cereal + sandwich supplies.
- #ProTip: Grab snacks from the grocery store before hitting the road – you’ll likely find cheaper prices there than at a convenience store or vending machine.
5. Get campy. ⛺
- Planning a longer trip, but weary of flying? Consider renting an RV — a major trend right now. It’s comfier than a car and serves as a built-in place to sleep so you don’t have to stop at hotels along the way.
- By making the journey itself part of the fun of your trip, the destination isn’t as important. Map out a route with small-town stops, and worry less about paying big bucks when you get to wherever you’re going.
- Renting a space at a campground can be seriously cheaper than booking a room. If renting an RV, park it there. If traveling by car, pack your camping gear for an in-tents overnight stay.
Good news for those who want a little extra help with budgeting: Greenville Federal Credit Union offers My Budget Manager on its online + mobile banking platforms to make budgeting your trip a breeze. Learn more here. Ⓟ