If you’ve ever been lucky enough to take a gap year or a sabbatical year to travel, you’ll no doubt have noticed how much cheaper the “unit cost” of, say, a week is than when you take a week’s normal vacation. The reasons for this are obvious; there are probably no flights to factor in as you’re staying somewhere for a long time and you may be staying in cheaper, longer-term, accommodation. You also get to know the local customs, places to eat cheaply – and where to buy the best food if you’re self-catering.
But when you have to work full-time for a living, you still want to travel, right? If so, you’re not alone; according to a report by Couponbox, travel is one of the top New Year’s resolutions made by Americans for 2017, i.e. we all want to do more of it. So how do you make the most of your annual vacation days without breaking the bank?
According to American Express research, Americans spend somewhere between $1,145 and $4,580 per person on their entire summer vacation. So clearly, making sure we get our two weeks’ special time is a high priority for us – particularly when you think that the average American household’s income is around $75k per year (the U.S. Census Bureau reported average household income of $73,298 back in 2014, the most recent year for which data are available). So that’s a big percentage of what’s left after tax and all life’s necessities.
Well first off, try not to take the standard vacation if you can avoid it. Taking a whole chunk of time is far more cost effective. If you can leverage some time off between jobs, take a sabbatical, or you’re simply confident that you’ll find something new because you’re really well qualified, then “Carpe Diem”; seize the day. We only pass this way once and you never know what life will throw at you. So grasp the opportunity to travel – truly travel that is – while you can, as you never know when you’ll have the chance again. Oh yeah – and it’s a lot cheaper, pro-rata, to see the world this way than in 26 different vacations!
But if that’s just not an option for you – then maybe try a house swap deal? This can be a cheap way of vacationing for lots of people.
Also, do all the research you can on a place before you go there. This will open your eyes to the local culture and the right ways of doing things to avoid getting really ripped off.
Another way to make your dollar go further is to look in your local area. Remember that, wherever you live, there are lots of places you haven’t been to and while they may not seem all that exciting to you, they’re fascinating for people from further-flung destinations. So try to see your local world through their eyes and save yourself a fortune into the bargain.