Apparently, Americans are not good at vacationing. According to the U.S. Travel Association, more than half of Americans did not use all their vacation time in 2018. Every year, more and more vacation days go unused. As we begin a new year and venture into a new decade, how can we change our priorities to include using those hard-earned vacation days?
Let’s dig a little deeper into the problem. Why are we not taking vacations? For some, leaving work is just plain hard. There is often a lot of preparation that goes into taking time off work and sometimes, it is easier to just stay put. But, for many Americans, it comes down to money. Vacation is just not in the budget. Travel, accommodations, entertainment, and food – the costs can add up quickly.
Nonetheless, there are things we can do to make vacations more feasible – and easy on the wallet. This will help you not only to unwind and relax, but also, to preserve and further your financial plans and your path toward debt freedom. You can learn more about topics surrounding debt freedom and the best debt consolidation programs. But for now, get started with these five apps that will help you save money on your next trip.
1. Rakuten Hotels (formerly known as Ebates)
Booking through this app is a great way to save money. It requires signing up with Rakuten, which is free and earns you up to five percent cashback on your hotel.
This user-friendly app provides the TripAdvisor Traveler Rating for each hotel with a link to the reviews. Just like other hotel booking providers out there, you can set your search parameters to find hotels near a specific landmark or neighborhood, by amenities, and by star-rating.
2. Hotel Tonight
If you can stand to wait until the last minute to book your hotel, Hotel Tonight is the perfect resource to save you money on your hotel stay. This provider works with hotels to give you discounted prices on vacant hotel rooms. To make money, hotels need to fill their rooms.
So, about a week out, if hotels still have rooms available, Hotel Tonight can get you booked at sometimes massive savings! For instance, hotel rooms in the often expensive Times Square in New York City often show up at nearly fifty-percent off for day-of reservations through Hotel Tonight.
This app is great for international vacationing as well. In addition to hotels in the U.S., Hotel Tonight also partners with hotels in Central and South America, Europe, the Middle East, Asia Pacific, and Africa.
For many vacationers, food is often the forgotten expense that eats into the vacation budget. Whether it is road trip snacks, over-priced beverages at an amusement park, or just your basic three meals a day, food costs can add up quickly.
Save money by creating a budget and relying on gift cards to stick to it. Raise sells gift cards to all your favorite restaurants – at a discount! So, if you plan to spend $50 at Starbucks during your vacation, purchase a gift card for that amount from Raise and it will save you a little over five percent. This means you will pay about $47 for a $50 gift card.
Raise has gift cards for all your favorite chains, as well as some of the local staples. Planning for your meals and purchasing these discount gift cards to cover the expense is an easy way to eat what you want, but still enjoy the savings!
Whether you are at the beginning of your vacation planning or you are looking for things to do once you get there, Groupon is a great tool. Groupon offers hotel and travel deals with everything from nightly stays at a local waterpark hotel to an all-inclusive dream vacation to destinations literally all over the world.
If you are looking for a way to keep your kids entertained once you get to your destination or a way to get the most out of your relaxing escape, check out the Things to Do tab. Groupon offers daily deals on all kinds of local attractions, food, and entertainment. You can find everything from spa services and concert tickets to amusement park admission and more!
Groupon is free to use and super user-friendly. You can search by city, price, ratings, or view things close by with the map view feature.
Planning to visit multiple attractions in a large city? CityPASS is the way to do it. CityPASS has deals for Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Houston, New York City, Orlando, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Seattle, Southern California, and Tampa Bay. If your vacation is taking you out of the country, CityPASS also has deals in Toronto.
CityPASS helps you save money by offering discount admission packages to popular attractions. For example, a CityPASS in Orlando can save you money on admission to Walt Disney World, Universal Orlando Resort, Seaworld, and Legoland. If you are traveling to New York City, CityPASS offers an admission booklet that allows you to choose which sites you see without having to plan ahead.
For instance, one ticket in the booklet lets you choose if you want to visit Top of the Rock Observation Deck or the Guggenheim Museum. Whenever you’re ready, you just cash in your ticket at the entrance.
It is a great option if you want to have the flexibility to site-see on impulse. Every city has different CityPASS deals, but most will save you around thirty-percent. If you plan on visiting one of these major cities on vacation this year, check out CityPASS to find out what deals are available in your destination.
This year, take that vacation. You work hard and vacation days are important! Even if it is just a few long weekends throughout the year, create that budget, schedule the time off, and take that trip. In addition to enjoying the sites in a new city, you can also recharge, reconnect, and clear your mind.
So, spend some time researching the best deals and take advantage of the savings available through these apps. It will make the cost of vacation a little more attainable which will make your vacation more enjoyable. You can worry less about money, relax, and build memories to last a lifetime.