4 Budget-Stretching Hacks for Your Next Vacation

Until scientists work out all the kinks in teleportation technology, flying remains your best bet to see the world. And all that globe-hopping can add up fast.

Check out these four budget-stretching hacks before you book your next vacation. Your bank account will thank you.

1. Book a wallet-friendly flight

Our 2017 Travel Hacker Guide list for wallet-friendly flights outlines the top 10 destinations that saw the lowest median airfare – the perfect resource for budget-conscious travelers.

Cartagena, Colombia tops the list, with median airfare from the U.S. and Canada hovering at or below the $500 mark for 11 out of 12 months of the year. Best of all, you can count on warm temperatures no matter when you book. The average temp never falls below 81 degrees Fahrenheit.

Travelers who book at least two months in advance are set to save the most.

2. Explore hostel life

Hostels aren’t just for college students. They’re an ideal solution for travelers on a budget looking to meet new people and fully immerse themselves in the local culture.

If you don’t mind a bit less privacy and a generally younger clientele, there are hostels around the world offering affordable accommodations and unique extras.

Take Rock Solid Backpackers in New Zealand. After visiting Auckland (#3 on our Travel Hacker Guide list of trending destinations), head on over to Rotorua to check out this hostel’s giant indoor climbing wall. Once you’re done unleashing your inner Edmund Hillary, take a dip in nearby Lake Rotorua (seriously, it’s two blocks away).

3. Travel in the off-season

Travel to the beat of your own drum by visiting different locales during their off-seasons.

As you might imagine, cities like London (which took home the  #4 spot on our Travel Hacker Guide list of most popular family destinations) are in higher demand during the summer months. That said, nothing’s stopping you from taking your family to the capital of the U.K. for an autumn vacation.

While median airfare from the U.S. and Canada to London is $1,021 in July, it’s only $591 in November.

Be sure to check out our When to Book tool for general guidelines regarding how far in advance you should book a flight, as well as specific calculations based on city-to-city travel.

It also pays to stay off the beaten path when planning a vacation. Our Travel Hacker Guide also highlights  2017’s most popular destinations. The more travelers heading to a locale, the more expensive prices are bound to be.

4. Luxuriate in local ingredients

Traveling typically means eating out, but there’s no law against cooking for yourself on vacation. In fact, acting as your own chef gives you a great chance to test out your host city’s unique culture and cuisine.

Many cities feature modern hotels and hostels with kitchens, and vacation rentals are all-but-guaranteed to feature stoves, ovens, refrigerators and cooking utensils.

Immerse yourself in the local culinary scene by cooking dishes using fresh local ingredients associated with where you’re staying.

We’re not saying you should forego pasta at a restaurant in Milan, but you can also save some dough whipping up your own risotto during your stay.

Traveling isn’t cheap, but with a little strategy, the right tools and the occasional home-cooked meal, you can see the world without breaking the bank.

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