When money is no object, those decisions are fairly low stakes. But when you’re working within a budget, most, or even all, of your vacation decisions come down to ranking priorities and costs.
First, decide where you want to go
Book travel in advance—but not too far in advance
Compare your travel booking options
Online travel sites
If you know where you’re traveling to, many online travel sites allow you to compare travel dates, airlines, and hotels yourself. When comparing prices be sure to also look at the ratings, amenities (like breakfast and parking), fees, and incidental charges to make sure you’re comparing the full cost of your choice—and to help determine if you’re getting a good deal or not.
It’s also helpful to know prices on these sites can change based on availability and other travel factors, checking a few different sites and a few times before you book could be a helpful strategy to save money.
On the other hand, travel agents often have access to promotions or travel deals that might not be visible to you through an online search—and many travel agents offer their services for free. If you’re a bit more flexible on where and when you want to travel, using a travel agent could help you save money.
You may also have the option to pay for your vacation in installments when using a travel agent. They generally require you to put down a deposit, but then allow you to pay the remaining balance over time before your trip. Ask your travel agent if this is an option, it could give you time to save and budget for your vacation.
Check to see if your employer offers a concierge service, they may be able to help with your planning and reservations, which could save you money.
Consider all-inclusive vacations
All-inclusive vacations have grown in popularity. Whether it’s a cruise, a guided tour, or a stay at a resort, the all-inclusive vacation options have grown—and gotten more luxurious.1 If you want to just take a vacation without the stress of figuring out what to do, an all-inclusive vacation could be for you.
Take advantage of credit card reward points
Credit card rewards can help you save money on your trip, or they can help upgrade your travel and accommodations. Every travel reward program works a little bit differently and it can pay to thoroughly research the terms and conditions to make sure you understand how your card’s program works.