Traveling is seen as a luxury that can be afforded only by some and necessitates saving over several months in order to get the holiday that you want. This does not have to be the case. With a bit of careful thought and a lot of planning, it really is possible to travel on the budget.
Of course, the budget means different things to different people. Some might consider a budget holiday to involve backpacking and camping. This type of holiday or vacation can be done on a budget relatively easy; the real skill arises when you are trying to get a ‘luxury’ holiday for a budget price.
Interestingly, paying more does not necessarily guarantee you a better trip. Whenever you are on vacation, you will probably be surrounded by other families, some of which paid more than you for the vacation and others which have paid significantly less.
Planning your vacation on a budget
Planning is the key to success when it comes to a budget holiday. There are many things you can influence, like when you book, how you travel, whether you go package or build your own agenda. All of these things can have a significant impact on the price you pay.
Most people know exactly when they intend to take a vacation. This can be used to your advantage when it comes to planning. While many tour operators will offer cheaper prices in early booking discounts, you may find that last-minute deals are also available which will prove better financially.
Some things you may take into account when deciding on when to book for maximum financial gain:
- Are you flexible in terms of the days that you are prepared to travel?
- Are you flexible in terms of destinations that you are prepared to travel to?
- Will you be buying a package deal or will you be building your own package?
- Are you considering a popular destination where many tour operators or flight companies travel?
If you are flexible in terms of location and dates, you will almost certainly benefit from waiting until the last minute to book your vacation. Last-minute deals are, of course, something that you cannot rely upon if you are set on going to a certain destination on a certain date then last-minute is far too risky.
As a general rule, if you are looking to go on a specific vacation with a specific company or shoulder season or with a destination that is only offered by a few operators, you may find last-minute bargains are simply not available.
Cruising is a classic example of this. A cruise line will offer vacations for certain price. While they sometimes offer their holidays through different agents who may individually offer discounts, the actual price of the cruise is likely to remain similar no matter who you go to for your price.
Very few people ever pay full price for cruise, so getting a discount from the advertised prices should be relatively easy. One thing that visitors should consider with cruises: it is not like a package holiday where if where you just dislike the resort you can just simply leave. with cruises you are captive. If you love the ship this is wonderful. If you hate it, it is the holiday from hell.
Choosing Your Season And Destination
Shoulder season - between peak and off peak seasons for any location - is the perfect time to travel: there's less crowds, but your destination won't be a ghost town either. This is why most places will not tell you when the shoulder season is, they will tell you when peak and low seasons are.
Examples of shoulder season are Europe in the fall and the Caribbean during the late spring.
A wonderful destination for the winter months is Asia. Flights are losing popularity, however availability is still good, meaning there are still plenty of discounts to offer. Weather is variable in Asia during the winter which could mean that you are surrounded by snow one minute and then basking in glorious sunshine. This lack of dependability is something that puts a lot of visitors off and can mean there are some excellent bargains for those prepared to take the risk!
If you’re looking to travel to Europe, this is the time to do it! Flights are a lot cheaper during the spring months when temperatures are still relatively low.
Mexican beaches and the Caribbean islands start to see their prices drop from mid April as the weather becomes hotter. However, during the spring months, the water and air temperature are still pleasant and the resorts are less crowded.
Finding a bargain in summer is tricky. Americans, Japanese and Europeans are all on the move and this is also the time of the year that most weddings take place, so honeymoon destinations are in a great deal of demand.
During the early part of summer, through June and July, Caribbean destinations are still good to get a deal, provided you try to book before the Europeans start to flood in during their school holidays at the end of July.
Safari holidays are good option between June and September. High season ends in May, but the weather is still relatively dry.
Flights and hotels are still quite reasonable in southeast Asia during the summer months, but the temperatures can be quite hot, so if you can’t stand the heat avoid this destination during the summer months.
This is the time to head to Europe. Flights to most major European destinations will be cheaper from October onwards, mainly because the schools are no longer on holiday and families are not traveling as much. Temperatures are normally perfectly pleasant until mid-November, so grab yourself a fall bargain in Europe.