Monday, June 24, 2024

6 Ways To Keep Costs Low on Long-Distance Vacations

As travel has become more and more accessible, there is a myth that keeps getting perpetuated. This myth is the idea that long-distance vacations must come with a hefty price tag, but that simply isn’t true. With a bit of flexibility and planning, there are many ways that you can keep your costs low on your next travel adventure.

#1: Timing is Everything

The time you choose to travel can significantly impact your budget. The period between peak and off-peak seasons is called the shoulder season, and this period is generally a great opportunity for cost savings. During this time, many destinations experience fewer tourists, which often leads to reduced prices for flights, accommodations, and even attractions.

When you book flights and hotels, you’ll notice the prices fluctuate throughout the year. Europe is flooded with tourists during the summer, but there are smaller crowds in the months that follow. Those few months between summer and winter are a great time to visit Europe, and it’s usually much cheaper to do so.

You don’t have to visit popular destinations during their peak periods to have a great experience. In fact, many would argue that traveling to popular destinations outside of their peak periods is the best way to do so. While tourists flock to Japan for cherry blossom season in the spring, why not visit later in the year with fewer people around instead? 

Keeping an eye on weather patterns can lead to pricing that works in your favor, too. One example of this is the hurricane season in the Caribbean from June through November, where travel costs are often much lower. Although this does place a little bit more risk on your trip, traveling near the beginning or end of this season can minimize that risk, all while keeping the same low prices.

6 Ways To Keep Costs Low on Long-Distance Vacations
Photo Credit: Aleksander Pasaric/Pexels

#2: Flight and Hotel Bundles

Flights and accommodation will likely be your biggest travel expenses, especially when traveling long distances. One way that you can lower these expenses is by purchasing a package that includes both your flight and hotel, something frequently offered by travel booking companies. If you choose to travel with eDreams, you’ll find cheap package deals from many different locations. The ease and flexibility of being able to search and book through a portal are extremely useful, too.

Another benefit of bundled bookings is that they may also come with additional perks. Don’t be surprised to find that room upgrades, free breakfasts at the hotel, late checkouts, or airport transfers are included in the price. What types of amenities your package includes can be highly variable, so make sure to read both the reviews and the fine print.

#3: Choosing Alternative Destinations

Instead of just choosing the most popular destinations in a country without much thought, spend some time really thinking about what you want to get out of your trip. Traveling to less popular destinations is a great way to either trim your travel expenses significantly or keep your budget stretched for a longer adventure.

If you chose Valencia over Barcelona, how different would your experience be? What about Brno instead of Prague or Split instead of Dubrovnik? Places that attract fewer tourists are more likely to feature unique attractions and authentic cultural experiences than their counterparts, all at a fraction of the cost.

There might even be places that are perfect for you, that you’ve never considered. Some, you may have never even heard of. Start following travel influencers on social media and watching travelers on YouTube. You’ll quickly start to see references to all sorts of different locations offering very different experiences.

#4: Make the Most of Loyalty Programs

Loyalty and rewards programs are incredibly powerful tools in the travel industry. These programs are designed to reward frequent customers, but they offer much more than just points for flights or stays. By understanding exactly how these reward systems work, you can unlock extra savings and enjoy added perks.

Firstly, dive into what airline loyalty programs have to offer beyond free tickets. Many provide tiered membership levels that come with benefits like priority boarding and access to exclusive lounges. Hotel chains have similar loyalty programs. Members may receive room upgrades, late checkout times, or even free breakfasts during their stay. Even if you don’t travel that much and you can’t accumulate points that way, many of these programs have partnerships with credit card companies like American Express and Mastercard. You can often earn travel-related points simply through your everyday spending. Imagine if by simply using the right credit card for your weekly grocery shopping, you ended up saving a huge amount on flight costs.

6 Ways To Keep Costs Low on Long-Distance Vacations
Photo Credit: Ignat Arapov/Pexels

#5: Embrace Different Types of Accommodations

While hotels can be great, long gone are the days of them being the only choice. The travel world has shifted, with vacation rentals, hostels, and even homestays becoming increasingly popular. Not only can these be cheaper options, but they also have the potential to give you a richer travel experience.

To illustrate this, think about a major hotel chain. Where are they usually located? They’re usually in the city center or another non-residential area. Contrast that to short-term vacation rentals that can be found on many platforms online, where you’re typically renting someone’s actual home. Instead of being based in business districts or where all the other tourists are, you’re now right in a suburban area, living amongst the locals. It’s easy to see how those two situations could lead to very different travel experiences.

While it’s not for everyone, a homestay can make this even more special. This is where you stay directly with locals, and it gives you a chance to both forge genuine connections and receive invaluable local knowledge that would be otherwise hard to obtain.

#6: Eating Well on a Budget

To round out the list, let’s talk about food. If you’re not careful, this can very quickly become a huge expense on a long-distance trip, but it doesn’t need to be. In fact, one of the joys of traveling is discovering local street food and budget restaurants that offer authentic meals, as opposed to eating at fast food that you can find back home.

Whether it’s freshly made tacos from a street vendor in Mexico or a bowl of pho from a stall in a busy market in Vietnam, these places are not that hard to find. Just like the earlier recommendation, read articles and watch videos from travelers who’ve recently been to the location you’re traveling to. Chances are they’ll have done the research for you.

Another way to save on food, particularly if you’re traveling in a big group like a family, is to go down the home-cooked meal route. This doesn’t mean that you have to spend all your nights in the kitchen. After all, you’re on vacation. Instead, prepare easy breakfasts and pack lunches for when you go out exploring for the day. Do what the locals do and head to grocers and markets to pick up fresh produce. Even if you were to still buy dinner every night, not having to spend much on breakfast and lunch can lead to big savings.As you plan your next long-distance vacation, remember that it doesn’t have to be exorbitantly expensive. With some good planning, you can have an unforgettable trip that’s every bit as good as a much more expensive one. Start researching today. Your adventure awaits.


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Amy Harris
Amy Harris is a writer and photographer who has been traveling for 20 years and flown over 2 million miles to visit over 80 countries on 6 continents. She is a freelance photographer for Invision by Associated Press, AP Images and Rex/Shutterstock. Her work can be seen in various publications and websites including: Rolling Stone, AP Images, National Geographic Books, Fodor’s Travel Guides,, Lonely Planet Travel Guides, JetStar magazine, and Delta Sky Magazine.

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