Vacations can be expensive. They often involve airfare, hotels, and lots of restaurant meals. But getting away doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg. Here are a few tips to make your next getaway more affordable, whether you’re traveling abroad or staying close to home.

  1. Do your research
    Plan in advance and compare prices on airfare and lodging. If you’re flexible with dates, consider flying out mid-week. It can be significantly cheaper than traveling during the weekend. And if you’re a member of a group such as AAA or AARP, you might be eligible for additional discounts, so remember to ask ahead of time.
  2. Pack light
    Airlines are starting to charge for everything, and if you are bringing two or more bags, expect to pay extra. So if possible, try to pack light and keep it to one piece of luggage per person. It won’t just save you money, it will save your back too.
  3. Go grocery shopping
    Plan out what you are going to eat before you leave for your trip. It’s fine to dine at a few local restaurants, but if you want to eat on the cheap, visit a grocery store for fast, easy snacks and meals. That way you’ll keep your hunger pangs at bay and keep more money in your wallet.
  4. Rent a home
    If you’re traveling with friends or family and don’t need daily housekeeping service or other hotel amenities, this can be a great option. Furnished home rentals have become popular in recent years because they’re easy to book and often cost less than hotels on a per-person basis.
  5. Know your transportation options
    Not every city has public transportation, and even if it does, it’s not always great. Do a little research before your trip to see if it makes more financial sense to rent a car, take a cab, hop on public transit, or use an alternative method of getting around.
  6. Download free travel apps
    Your smart phone can be a handy money-saving travel buddy. There are apps for everything including guides, maps, phrasebooks, and more. You can get some great ideas for inexpensive things to do, cheap eats, and how to get around affordably—right at your fingertips.
  7. Travel off-season
    If you want to save money, avoid going to your vacation spot during peak season. For example, if you’re heading to a beach destination, try to go in the late spring or early fall. The prices are lower, the weather is still nice, and there are fewer tourists around.
  8. Select a guided tour
    If you’re looking for a hassle-free vacation, this might be your best bet. Today’s tours cater to all travel styles, so don’t write off this option just yet. It’s important to do your research and find a tour that offers a balanced schedule and is good at getting you the best value for your money. When you find the right tour, you can worry less about logistics like transportation and directions, and spend more time soaking in the local culture.
  9. Take a road trip
    If you’re looking for a more affordable vacation option, consider skipping flights altogether and reach your destination by car. Pack some food and entertainment, and let the road lead you on your next adventure!
  10. Plan a day drip
    A getaway doesn’t have to include an overnight stay. You might find nearby attractions that you haven’t visited before. Whatever your interests are, you can still get some well-deserved rest and relaxation without having the additional expense of a hotel.

Even though it’s smart to be frugal, splurging on a restaurant meal or a fun activity can make your vacation extra memorable. Just be sure to check out your options in advance and save up for your trip. With a little bit of planning, you can enjoy an awesome vacation and still stay on budget.