When it comes to vacation, many people think they can't afford or make the time for one. A vacation doesn't have to be a globetrotting international trip or an extravagant Instagram worthy getaway. It can be time off enjoying your own city. (Or if you are like some on our team, having time off to lounge around is considered a great vacation.) So what do you do when you only have a small amount of money, or you’re short on time?
Be a local tourist.
Take some time and enjoy the local attractions. How many times have you experienced the local tourist attractions that bring people to your city? When's the last time you visited your local zoo, museums, or art galleries? If you purchase a tourism pass, you can visit many of the sites at a discounted price, if not free. For more ideas on local attractions, check out your local chamber of commerce or tourism center. We find that ColaToday is a great source for finding local events too.
When you think of traveling, you often think of some big overseas adventure. But, you don’t have to travel far to experience a great vacation. Here in South Carolina, there’s a lot to do, plus our neighboring states offer plenty to see and do, often at low cost. We have terrific vacation destinations within driving distance such as Asheville, Charlotte, Charleston, and the Smoky Mountains. If you can't afford or don't want to travel, there are many options for you - even when you're on a budget. (Did you know we offer discounts to the Biltmore and Six Flags Over Georgia?)
Visit national or state parks.
National and state parks offer an inexpensive and fun way to vacation. You can drive to your destination and often camp at the park for dollars compared to staying in a hotel. You can also pack a picnic, saving even more on costs. If you need to have modern amenities and 'tent life' is not for you, most parks have cabins available to rent as well. Some local parks to consider right here in our backyard are the Congaree National Park, Poinsett State Park, Dreher Island State Park, and Sesquicentennial State Park, to name a few.
Book a last minute cruise.
Make procrastination work for you. Many cruises average about $600 - $700 for two people in a small interior room. However, if you wait until the last minute, cruise liners will often have amazing deals available due to the need to fill the rooms. They may throw in some perks and upgrades as well. We found one site you can use to help with this: cruisesheet.com. They seem to have the best deals.
Think outside the box.
Try visiting less popular places. Forget the main tourist attractions, and take the path less traveled. Save money and enjoy the trip more with fewer crowds. For example, instead of Miami try Fort Lauderdale, instead of New York go to Philadelphia. Plus, many destinations have a vacation or tourist season. If you travel during the off season, you could possibly save even more money.
Take a cheap flight.
If you are traveling a longer distance, airfare, and traveling to your destination can consume a sizable portion of your funds and vacation time. Planning your destination based on airfare and flight availability might help keep the cost of vacationing down (and save you some time). There are a lot of trip and travel sites that offer low-cost and convenient travel booking. Check out some of the sites we’ve gathered.
Travelocity: has every aspect of your vacation handled. Flights, hotels, car rentals, whole vacation packages, cruises, and even activities for you to plan.
Skyscanner: finds cheap flights to and from your destination, also has the opened search function to find a destination for you.
AirTreks: if you're planning multiple flights to different cities in one trip, AirTreks allows you to plan all at once and finds you the best deal.
TravelZoo: want to get away but don't want to go through the trouble of planning it? Let Travelzoo plan your whole trip.
Kayak: one way, round trip, or multiple city stops Kayak has you covered. It also provides helpful articles about traveling and deals based on the season or month.
You don’t have to travel far to have a great vacation. And a vacation doesn’t have to break the bank. With a little bit of planning and savings, you can start preparing for your next great vacation – no matter where you choose to travel.