Most of the time when people go on vacation, they naturally think of staying in a hotel. While that mindset has changed a bit with Airbnb’s emergence, hotels are still the norm. I’d like to show you that you have options when it comes to accommodations while traveling. There are a handful of reliable options when it comes to booking a place to stay. Staying in vacation condos or houses can be cheaper than a hotel, but that’s not the only benefit. You can have more space, more privacy, separate rooms, possibly laundry, and most important to me, a full kitchen. Vacation condo and house owners also often have useful items for their guests such as beach chairs, coolers, and recreational equipment.
VACATION CONDOS HAVE MORE SPACE & PRIVACY
Having a little more space than a hotel room is nice sometimes. For instance, If someone wants to take a nap, they can do it without occupying the whole space. Or, if someone wants to go to bed early, they’re able to go to their own room. Often, condos and houses will have much more privacy too. Everyone who occupies the housing next to you isn’t coming and going regularly as they would be at a hotel.
In a vacation condo or house, you have more ability to live like you would if you actually lived in the place you’re vacationing. With laundry available in many units, you can throw your clothes in the wash if you spill mustard on your brand new white shirt. You can dry that swimsuit before you stick it in your luggage. Just having the option to do laundry without any hassle is a nice amenity, especially if you’re on a longer vacation.
PREPARING MEALS ON VACATION SAVES MONEY
The biggest reason I love staying in condos or houses while on vacation, is for the kitchen. The ability to cook your own dinner, pack lunches for on the go, and have cold drinks readily available are so valuable. Think about how much money you could save by not eating out for every single meal! Food, drinks and tips can really add up after just a few days, even if you’re not going to the most expensive restaurants. When my wife and I go to Hawaii, we definitely still eat out some of the time, but most of our meals are prepared in our condo. We pack lunches to take to the beach in our cooler on most days, which also saves us from having to pack everything up in the middle of our day to go eat. Many of our dinners we prepare either in the kitchen or on a barbecue which are also usually included at condos.
VACATION CONDOS AREN’T FOR EVERYONE
For some people, traveling is all about the food, in which case this may not be the best option. For me, I don’t care too much about food on vacation, other than trying some of the local specialties. I am happy to eat out a few times, and prepare the rest of my meals. Not only does this save a lot of money, but it is usually much healthier. Besides travel hacking, this is one of the best ways to save money and make budget travel possible.
Next time you’re booking a vacation, think about whether you want to stay in a hotel or in a vacation condo or house. There are many options for finding vacation rentals that make it very easy to book. The one’s I’ve used are VRBO and Airbnb. I’d suggest checking out both when you’re searching for a place to stay because the variety differs between the two.
Adding Southwest flights to Hawaii is just about as good as it gets. Two of my favorite things in travel are joining forces. Southwest Airlines and Hawaii are getting together! Southwest just announced that they will soon be offering flights to the four main islands of Hawaii, starting in late 2018 or early 2019. I would guess it will be early 2019, but maybe I’ll be in for a good surprise. The destination airports that they will be adding are Kahului, Maui (OGG), Kona-Kailua, Hawaii (KOA), Lihui, Kauai (LIH), and of course Honolulu, Oahu (HNL). By far, these are the most frequently used airports in Hawaii so it makes sense why they chose them. Budget travel to Hawaii just became a little bit easier!
Finally! Southwest Flights to Hawaii are Announced
Now that the destinations are no longer a secret, it brings up a few new questions. First of all, where will the direct flights be departing from? Will they offer inter-island flights? And, how often will they fly these routes? If I had to take a guess on these three questions, I would say no on inter-island flights, one flight per day for each departure/destination pair, and as for departure airports they could be SEA, PDX, SFO and LAX. Along with these airports you could possibly throw the other Bay area airports and San Diego into the mix. Time will tell. I’m hoping for PDX as I live in Oregon.
Budget Hawaii just got easier
I’ve been waiting for this day for years, and absolutely love that there will be Southwest flights to Hawaii. I’ve been to the islands on average, at least once a year since I started travel hacking and I don’t plan on stopping. It’s a magical place, and my favorite on Earth. Having these new routes available to go along with a Southwest Companion Pass will allow for some extreme deals and savings! Just think, buy one get one free flights to Hawaii for two consecutive years! That’s incredible in my book. I might just have to bump that number up to two Hawaii trips per year.
There are numerous ways to save money on travel expenses. While I talk about them a lot and it’s the main topic of Travel Freedom, points and miles are not the only way to save massive amounts of money while on vacation. In fact, points and miles can’t always be used, so it pays to understand where you can save money on paid travel as well. There are six valuable ways to decrease your costs and save money on travel, without downgrading. I’ll explain each of them to you.
RENTING A CONDO OR HOUSE
Most people only think of staying in hotels when they book their vacation. What if I were to tell you that by instead booking a condo or house, you could save money and have more amenities. You won’t have a buffet breakfast, and you won’t have a concierge desk, but do those things actually bring you any value? What’s great about having your condo or house while on vacation is that it feels more like a home. From my experience, it usually also saves you money compared to a hotel. The best part of having a condo is that the condo has both laundry and a kitchen.
There are many resources for booking condos and homes to rent, but I’ve used both airbnb and vrbo with nothing but success. They are both very easy and have many options, everywhere that I’ve taken advantage of them. I also try to find a property that waives their cleaning fee for a week or more stay to save even more money.
PREPARE YOUR OWN MEALS
If you’re staying at a hotel with a kitchenette, or a condo with a full kitchen, you can save a bunch of money by preparing some or all of your meals. Eating meals out, really adds to the travel bill. Let’s just imagine a week vacation for two where you eat out for every meal. If the average bill is $40, that ends up being $120 a day and $840 a week. The way I like to save on food is to prepare most of our breakfasts and lunches, and prepare one or two dinners each week. This alone can save you and your family hundreds of dollars, plus you’ll probably be eating healthier if you make it yourself.
BE FLEXIBLE WITH YOUR TRAVEL DATES
Can you fly on Friday instead of Saturday? Can you take your vacation the week after popular spring break dates? Being just a little bit flexible in the dates you travel can save you quite a bit of money. If you’re paying for your flights, many of the travel search engines like Sky Scanner, will tell you if it is cheaper to fly the day before or the day after. Also, hotel room prices fluctuate depending on the dates you want to book, so one day may be half the price of the next. It’s not always possible to be flexible on your dates, but when you can be, there is an opportunity to save money on travel.
FIND FREE ACTIVITIES
There are so many fun activities and beautiful sites to be seen in any city or region that don’t cost a penny. Just go search on google “Things to do in (vacation destination)” and you will find an abundance of places to visit that either cost nothing or are very affordable. Often times these places are the most memorable activities from your vacation too! Hikes, snorkeling destinations, architecture, museums, parks… There are so many possibilities for your vacation. Don’t only stick to the touristy activities. Venture out and I can guarantee you’ll have a lot of fun.
USE PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION
Depending on your travel destination, public transportation may be a viable option to get around. It doesn’t work everywhere, but a lot of larger cities have very good public transportation. You can take light rails, subways, trains, buses. Uber or Lyft are other options to save money if you won’t be driving enough to warrant a rental car. It’s available almost every now and continues to grow rapidly. Rental cars can be very expensive depending on the location and dates of your travel, so it makes sense to look into alternative options.
USE MILES INSTEAD OF MONEY
The biggest way of saving money while traveling, and the whole reason I started Travel Freedom, is the use of miles and points instead of your hard earned money. As shown in almost every blog post of Travel Freedom, you can earn miles and points without actually traveling to earn them. Banks are willing to give out huge signup bonuses for having one of their branded credit cards, which can lead to thousands upon thousands of dollars saved for you.
Imagine using 50,000 points instead of $1,600 for your honeymoon flights, or staying for free with credited nights at a five-star resort for 3 nights instead of paying their typical cost of $500 per night… You can absolutely travel abundantly without having to spend much money at all. Points and miles are the number one way to achieve this.
Now that you know of these six ways to save some money on travel, get started on booking your next trip. You know you need it! If you have any tips on how to save money on travel, please share with everyone in the comments!