Budget travel hacks: 7 tips to make your vacation affordable.

New York Life | April 17, 2023

A man and woman taking a photograph in nature

For many American families, ongoing financial challenges have pushed annual vacation plans down the priority list. With high inflation rates, the rising cost of living, and a generally volatile economy, many have been left wondering whether it’s possible to plan a vacation on a much smaller budget. Here are seven tips to help you take a trip without breaking the bank — or sacrificing fun along the way!

1. Plan a staycation

Choosing to vacation close to home means you’ll likely save on travel costs by swapping long flights or road trips with shorter journeys. Perhaps there’s a beach, lake, or interesting town nearby? Often, even picking up a guidebook to your own city can kick-start some great new ideas for a staycation. 

2. Visit family and friends

Travel and accommodation are the two main vacation expenses. So, if you are lucky enough to have family or friends you can visit and stay with, then you eliminate a huge cost. Go where there’s a guest room available and you’ll spend less money while spending some quality time with loved ones.

3. Explore home exchange options, camping or hostels

Don’t be afraid to explore new accommodation options when planning a vacation on a budget. Home-swap or house-sitting websites can be a great way to stay somewhere new for free. Or, why not consider a camping trip to cut costs? Finally, it’s worth checking out the available rooms at hostels in the area. Nowadays, lots of hostels offer private rooms — sometimes with private bathrooms — for a cheaper price than hotels. 

4. Go where the dollar stretches further

If you’re trying to decide on the right destination for your vacation on a budget, it might make sense to compare the exchange rate in different countries. Opting for a country where the dollar is strong will make your money go a lot further while you’re there. Examples include European countries such as Portugal and Spain, some Asian countries including Vietnam, or Mexico, for those who want to stay closer to home. 

5. Opt for outdoor activities and free attractions

While you’re away, prioritize free attractions like museums and art galleries — or outdoor activities, such as hikes or walks. Entrance fees add up, especially for a family. But there’s lots of fun to be had by choosing low-cost activities. Planning some games to play with the kids can help make the most of a day at the beach or an adventure in the woods. 

6. Get off the beaten track

When it comes to everyday costs, being in the middle of a tourist hot spot is going to be a drain on the wallet. The price of everything—from soda to ice cream—will be higher near a big tourist attraction. To travel on a budget, consider staying a bit off the beaten track. Prices will be lower, and you might discover a hidden gem along the way.

7. Get to know the locals

Likewise, getting to know the locals can be the perfect way to gain insider information — from least-expensive quality restaurants to the best places to stay. Embracing the local community will help you avoid tourist traps, and likely enrich your vacation overall.

For more help on planning your financial future, contact a financial professional near you.


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Media contact

Kevin Maher
New York Life Insurance Company
(212) 576-7937