Did you know a vacation has the potential to be lifesaving? Okay, maybe that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but a study conducted by the State University of New York at Oswego did determine that a man’s risk of “soon death” was reduced by 20 percent if he took an annual vacation. The benefits of a vacation aren’t specific to men either, everyone who regularly vacations is treated to decreased depression, less stress, and improved productivity. Unfortunately, it can be difficult to partake in these benefits if you can’t afford to.
The following lists a few ways you can save money on your next vacation so you can take vacations more often and take advantage of these health benefits.
All-Inclusive is Budget-Friendly
All-inclusive get-aways will get you more bang for your buck because your food and beverages are included in the flat fee, including alcohol. Oftentimes, the cost of an all-inclusive resort is comparable to what a standard hotel would charge, but a standard hotel doesn’t come bundled with all your dietary needs. Choosing this sort of resort ensures that even if you’re cash poor, you can still enjoy a relaxing vacation, and eat and drink as much as you want.
Although all-inclusive is a great way to save, not all resorts are created equal. Sometimes resorts claim to be all-inclusive, but in reality they are limited in what they offer. Look for a resort that includes everything in the package, including on-site activities.
Guarantee the Same Cost Year after Year
Also, it may be wise to choose a destination that you want to return to again and again and purchase a timeshare. Property ownership ensures you’re not dealing with the rising cost of lodging, but also that you’re treated to some of the finest amenities available. For example, if you visit welkresorts.com, you’ll see their timeshares include the standard resort fare, but also a number of activities, such as waterslides, rec centers, and on-site theaters.
Eat What the Locals Eat
Do yourself a favor and ignore Zagat, Frommer’s, and Lonely Planet. Once these guides recommend a restaurant, prices go up and portions go down. Instead, ask a local what they’re eating. Oftentimes, the local fare is cheaper than what you’ll find on the menu at home. As the saying goes, “When in Rome…”
Local markets also offer lots of delicious foods at cheaper-than-restaurant prices. If you do go the timeshare route, your room will most likely include a stove and refrigerator. Stock up on cheap essentials, such as bread, lunch meat, cheese, and more.
Join Free Rewards Programs
Hotels, airlines, and restaurants sometimes offer loyalty cards to consumers. Whenever it’s economical, sign up for these programs and start earning points toward free stuff on your next vacation. Never purchase a hotel stay simply because the hotel offers a rewards card unless the hotel is truly budget-friendly.
Credit cards also offer travel rewards, and these are often more lucrative than the free rewards programs you can join. Travel hackers sign up for credit cards that offer frequent flyer miles, and the most valuable cards include enough bonus miles (just for signing up) to take a flight. Forbes says the key is to “find cards that offer 2 percent or more on purchases when redeemed for travel.”
A luxury vacation doesn’t have to break the bank; in fact, you can take the vacation of a lifetime after saving for just a few months. The secret is knowing where to spend and where to cut corners. A vacation is supposed to be relaxing, so don’t bother with all extra costs. Take advantage of what’s free and local, or just lay in the sun and soak up the vitamin D.