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How to Plan an Affordable Vacation

Traveling is a common desire of us all but it can sometimes feel financially unattainable. If your pockets are stretched tightly but still crave a luxurious getaway, there are plenty of vacation options for you. Do you love the ocean or are you more of a hiker? Do you enjoy the cold weather or like it humid? Nonetheless, there are many hidden treasures to discover that prove just as cost effective as they are satisfying! Here are a few steps in the right direction that will help you choose the perfect vacation spot for you and your family.


1. Set a Budget


Decide on a budget and stick to it. You will need to set aside enough money for your flight, a place to stay and all the necessary amenities. Be savvy when it comes to finding deals on flights and hotels. Look into different travel sites and weigh your options in order to find the cheapest services. Play around with dates, times and airlines. Scout every hotel near your destination and remember that there are Airbnbs, bed and breakfasts to consider as well. You can sometimes find a steal just outside of town from your vacation spot for much cheaper. Secure your flight and rooming plan before moving forward with the process of planning a vacation.


Once you have the practical aspects taken care of, you can start budgeting for the rest of your vacation. Many spots include their own package deals of amenities, but do not limit yourself to the recommended activities they offer. Feel free to explore the area and discover new places. You should have a designated budget for extras. This may include trying new restaurants and shops to get the full experience of your vacation spot. Trying new things can end up being the highlight of your vacation so it is important to set aside enough money to allow yourself to embrace the opportunities around you.


Everybody wants to bring home a few keepsakes from their vacations so you may wish to bring some extra spending money for those unpredictable mementos you will come across just can’t pass up. Knick knacks, clothing and souvenirs add up- especially when you have loved ones at home waiting for you to bring them back a gift. Make no mistake; you will stumble across a gift shop and you will want to be prepared to shop them!


Activities tend to add up so setting aside an amount of money for them allows you the freedom to decide to try new things while you are on vacation. Beach spots may include fun water activities, surfing lessons or board walks. Winter locations often include skiing or snow tubing. Regardless of your chosen vacation spot, you will be happy to have allotted yourself the financial means ahead of time to secure the chance to have the most amount of fun.


2. Choose Your Vacation Style


It is very important to decide which type of vacation spot you are looking for. This may depend on the time of year and weather where you live. It is a good idea to choose your spot based on what you are missing out on. For example, if you are experiencing a chilly winter, you may be longing for an island getaway. If you are having a hot summer at home, you may enjoy a trip to the mountains. Personal preference is going to be the deciding factor in choosing a vacation. It will also depend on how many people will be staying with you. If you have children, it is important to choose a child family destination. Maybe you would like to try a new culture and learn a new way of life for a week or so. Do you want it to be a long vacation or would you prefer a long weekend stay? Are you staying within the country or planning to travel abroad? Beach destinations, cozy villages and cultural experiences are three common themes to factor in when making a decision on the type of vacation you plan. It will all come down to your desired climate and the experience you know you will enjoy the most.


3. Pick Your Spot!


Here are some examples of vacation spots that prove to be cost effective and enjoyable.

  • Bali, Indonesia

Infinity pool overlooking the rich nature.
Infinity pool overlooking the rich nature. Image by bali-indonesia.com

Lush jungles, clear water beaches and awe-inspiring cliffs are just a few of the attractions you will find in Bali. You can score hotel rooms for as low as $50 per night! Meals within their resorts can be found for under $5. The beautiful, still waters of Bali are a complimentary luxury of your stay and you will never regret using your vacation budget for the view from the island.


  • New Orleans, Louisiana

New Orleans is the perfect vacation spot for somebody who wants all the soul without spending all the money. You can stay in the heart of NOLA for just $30 per night at The Atlas House. Hotel rooms can be found for less than $50 on average and you can’t beat the southern style restaurants that NOLA prides itself on. NOLA offers free attractions all over the city. You can party it up without spending a dime for your entire vacation activities if you choose to. See a parade, visit the New Orleans Museum of Art, spend a day in City Park, view the Cities of the Dead or walk down Bourbon St., experience live music at Lafeyette Square… or simply walk the streets and enjoy the street performers. Experiencing New Orleans is an unforgettable opportunity and luckily, you can do so on a budget.


  • Southport, North Carolina

Dockside at Southport.
Dockside at Southport. Image by southport-nc.com

Southport genuinely defines the term “hidden gem.” It is a picturesque beach town that offers a quaint, community oriented vibe which truly allows you to set your troubles aside to relax. It is home to numerous famous movie sets including Nicholas Sparks films like Safe Haven and A Walk to Remember. It will feel like a small town when you experience the low prices of the attractions. The Southport Inn Bed and Breakfast is raved about by its visitors and provides unparalleled warmth in its services. Spend the day taking in the peaceful Oceanside Riverwalk for free or let the local ferry take you for a scenic ride. You will be blown away by the reasonably priced sea food spots that might leave you wanting to stay permanently. (And good news! The cost of living in Southport is one of the lowest in the country.)


  • Big Sky, Montana

Running rivers create a tranquil atmosphere at a cozy cabin lodge.
Running rivers create a tranquil atmosphere at a cozy cabin lodge. Image by National Geographic Lodges

There is a reason that Big Sky is a popular wedding destination with its lovely cottages and evergreen forests that go on for miles. Enjoy wildlife and nature. Partake in outdoor activities such as skiing and horseback riding for very little cost. Visit local ranches like Lone Mountain and stay overnight in a completely furnished, cozy cabin! Depending on which season you travel to Montana, you will either discover rolling, green pastures or a winter wonderland complete with snow dusted pines. Utilize the raw beauty of Montana and reset your stress levels to zero.


  • Province of Laguna, Philippines

Gorgeous blue waters spilling into rolling, green mountains.
Gorgeous blue waters spilling into rolling, green mountains. Image by interestingthingabouthephilippines.blogspot.com

Located southeast of Manila and Laguna de Bay, Laguna is a historic gem complete with mountainous views and hiking trails. This destination is fit for someone who loves exploring the outdoors and learning about the history of the Philippines. There are limitless outdoor activities that will not drain your wallet and the best part about this location is that the beautiful views of nature are free.


When considering the perfect vacation spot for you and your family, you must ask yourself what is most important to you. Make sure that you choose a location that satisfies your traveling preferences and makes you feel at ease. Always remember, when there is a will- there is a way. Traveling is not limited to those with heavy pockets! You can experience some of the world’s greatest attractions at a low cost. Happy traveling!

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