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The Average Cost of a Vacation

Photo by Amy Harris/The Travel Addict

Right now while we are staying at home I am sure some of us are trying to plan our next vacation. Due to the current economic client, any may also be short on funds so this is a great time to discuss budget travel options. We partnered with Jamie Johnson for a guest content post to discuss to discuss ways to cut back on your spending and still be able to take that vacation. Her post is below.

One of the most important aspects of personal finance is saving for things like a home, college education, and retirement. Many people also prioritize taking a vacation, either annually or as the opportunity arises. When it comes to paying for a vacation, though, how do you know what you should be spending and whether you’re getting the best deal for your money?

According to a recent survey, the average American expects to spend nearly $2,000 on vacation. For families, that can easily reach into the five figures. Unsurprisingly, the bulk of that money will go towards travel costs like airline tickets, with lodging being the second-largest expense.

There are several ways to cut back on your spending while still planning a trip you’ll enjoy. This article will break down the different components that make up the cost of your vacation and discuss ways you can save.

Vacation Costs: Lodging, Food, and Entertainment

Hotels and Lodging

Lodging costs can vary widely depending on where you stay. If you’re staying at a relative’s house for a couple of days, that will obviously be a low-budget expense. Spending a week at the Waldorf Astoria in New York City or renting an Airbnb property with its own private pool in Mexico? That will definitely cost you.

Throughout the United States, the average price of a hotel room is about $129 a night —  but if you stay in a more expensive city like New York, you should plan to pay more. Hotel prices in the “city that never sleeps” averaged about $262 per night in 2018, according to The New York Business Journal.

If you’re hoping to stay somewhere decent but don’t want to shell out a lot of money, look into non-seasonal lodging. You can often find good deals during the off-season when prices are lower. You could also plan a trip with multiple people and split the housing costs.

Travel

Unsurprisingly, travel costs can vary greatly depending on the method you choose. The price is determined by where you’re going and how you plan to get there.

For instance, traveling by car is more affordable than a plane trip but also more time-consuming. Let’s look at the three main ways you can travel during domestic trips and how to plan for each.

Plane

Although airline travel has become more affordable to many Americans in recent decades, flying by plane is still pricey enough to make some families think twice. As of 2018, the average round-trip domestic flight was around $350, according to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS). For a family of four, that amounts to $1,400.

The costs increase significantly if you plan to travel internationally. According to the U.S. Passport Service Guide, the average international round-trip ticket price is a whopping $1,368.

However, there are ways to save on plane tickets. Signing up for price alerts could help you book cheaper flights. Any rewards you accumulate thanks to travel credit cards can also help offset the costs of air travel. If that strategy doesn’t work, try buying your tickets at the “right time.” According to the CheapAir.com 2019 Annual Airfare Study, the magic number is 76 days before your departure date for domestic flights.

For international plane tickets, the best time to book varies based on region. If you’re heading to the Caribbean, you’ll want to purchase airfare 207 days in advance; for a trip to Asia, trying booking 120 days prior to takeoff.

Train

Traveling by train may be a good option to consider, especially if you’re taking a relatively short trip. City-to-city train tickets on Amtrak cost between $20 and $400 one way, depending on the distance traveled and when your tickets are booked.

However, you may be able to find discounts on Amtrak tickets. Children ages 2 through 12 qualify for half-priced tickets every day, while seniors can receive a 10% discount on most trains. Group discounts are also available, and if you belong to any professional organizations, some of your fringe benefits may include discounted train tickets.

See the full article here: The Average Cost of a Vacation

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