Today's topic for Smart Money Monday is how to take a great vacation without breaking the bank. To give us some money-saving travel tips is Ann Banting from Bank of Hawaii.
Grace: So, Anne , is traveling on a budget really possible or just an urban myth?
Anne: It's possible. It does take more planning and more creativity, but in the end you can have a great trip and save a great deal.
Grace: OK, I'm ready to pack my bags. How do I do it for less?
Anne: For starters, don't just shop for airline tickets when you're ready to go. Check fares often for special offers that come up from time to time and be flexible about which dates you can leave. And look for non-U.S. airlines for international travel.
Grace: For starters, you should spend less getting there. What else?
Anne: Instead of staying and paying for a hotel, think about renting a house or condo. You get more space for less money, plus money saving amenities like a full kitchen so you don't have to eat out every meal.
Grace: I can feel the savings starting to add up.
Anne: Also, you might even want to swap houses. People from all over the world love Hawaii. Find someone with a home where you want to travel and swap.
Grace: OK, but where should you travel to to save money?
Anne: Great question. Be a little adventurous and go to places that are less expensive but every bit as fun and interesting. Places like Mexico, Canada, Hungary, Peru. Also, go in the off season.
grace: The road less traveled and less expensive.
Anne: Right! By picking secondary locations close to more expensive ones, like just outside Paris rather than inside, you can save a lot and still be close.
A little outside the main centers can save a lot. Also, look for fixed cost trips such as all-inclusive resorts and cruises where costs for food, rooms and some activities are already built into the price. That way, you'll be better able to plan your expenditures and have fewer surprises on your credit card bill when you get home! Well, with a little more planning, you and your money can go a lot farther.