4 Tips to an Affordable Vacation

Image: dan / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Planning is always a good start to your vacation, and it never hurts to get more for less right?

1. Budget
Having a limit or idea of your budget gives you boundaries and ideas when searching for that ideal vacation spot and activities that you can do without burning a hole in your pocket when you come back. The budget should not only include accommodation, but flight fees, food, shopping and any other miscellaneous spending (e.g. shopping, water sports, admission fees etc…) you may incur. Setting a budget also helps you to maximize your dollar and most probably get more out of it.

2. DIY vs Tour Groups
With the many options available for traveling these days from tour agencies which already have an itinerary in place for you (saving you the effort and time) to DIY holidays. Even DIY holidays have further options for you to choose from, there are 3rd party websites (Zuji, Expedia etc…) that offer the option to bundle your flight booking, and accommodation at a special rate, or you could book your flight and accommodation directly. There are also 3rd party websites, such as Hotellook and HotelsCombined, which offer discounts and special rates (for credit cards, or seasonal) on accommodation that the actual website may or may not have.

Tour packages from agencies do save you the hassle out of booking and making arrangements for at one price for accommodation, transport and food. However, there might be some hidden fees that are added on at the later part of the tour, and you might end up paying more than you expected. One downside to such packages is that you are restrained by the schedule as tour packages are usually made of a group of tourists and have a fixed schedule on sightseeing and other activities. Such packages are usually cheaper than if you were to DIY, but you might not get to go to places you want to.

DIY on the other hand is more flexible and can be customized by yourself based on your budget and preferences for accommodation and activities. With its flexibility comes the inconvenience of managing your flight and hotel bookings separately and arranging for your own transport. Such an option may end up being cheaper than joining a tour package.

So depending on your preference, budget and needs, either one might suit you just fine, it boils down to your planning ultimately.

3. Destination and Season
If you are not particular on traveling on a particular date, being flexible with dates, especially during the off-peak season does save you money as both flight and accommodation would be cheaper during this period, and there might even be special promotions.

Once you have decided on your destination, you need to decide the season that you want to go in, particularly for temperate climates (summer, autumn, winter, spring) and tropical climates (wet or monsoon season, or really hot and humid weather). Checking out weather reports would give you a rough gauge on when would be the better season to travel to the destination of your choice.

People travel for various reasons, some travel for a break from the city, others look for an adventure, and there are those that are in-between. If you get stuck on where you want to go and what you want to do, looking through some holiday brochures or browsing travel websites can give you an idea.

Once you have decided on your destination and season you want to travel, you could always read the reviews of other who have gone down your selected path on websites such as Trip Advisor or Holiday Watchdog. Do note that reviews should be taken with a pinch of salt and the ultimate decision lies with you. The reviews are to just give you an idea of what to expect and decide of the hotel or activity is worth the cost and/or your time; minimizing but not eliminating your ‘risk’ of an unpleasant vacation.

4. Quotes and Decisions
To get the most for the price you are paying, you can start looking around quotes and/or compare the prices offered on 3rd party websites (Zuji, Expedia, HotelsCombined and Hotellook etc…) as well as from the hotels’ website. There might be special promotions from travel companies during events such as the NATAS Fair.

Once you have gotten your quotes (you can stop when you are satisfied with the price) it is worth looking at exactly what is included with each. For example, from Zuji, the flight and basic accommodation combination is likely to be the cheapest but chances are you would have to top up for certain add-ons. It may be cheaper to book flights with the airline itself.

One of the biggest differences in cost would most likely the value of half-board or all inclusive deals. So you should research the cost of eating out and the type of food you want to eat (street food, fast food, restaurant food, or a combination).

You will have more accurate quotes to compare and consider when you have added all of these extra costs onto your short listed basic booking options
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When travel collides with a byte, a unit of information made up of bits, TravelBytez is formed: snippets of ramblings on travel, food, shopping, living and anything else that comes to mind.


  1. I stopped using agents years ago when I discovered that I could put together my own package for a much lower cost. If you have the time and can do your research properly online, you can save hundreds!

  2. The internet has certainly expanded the ways in which we are able to save money. Being able to create your own itinerary and experience with the click of a button is wonderful.

  3. I have always preferred finding deals on my own. Travel agents are great if they can find you a great discount and save you a lot of time and hassle. However, there are times when they are finding deals that anyone can find, or the deals that they find might not completely appeal to you. For example, I returned from a trip to Niagara Falls a few days ago, and all of the tours offered the opportunity to see a site that I didn't want to visit. It would have been more costly for me to pay for the tour through an agent than personally purchase discounted tickets online.

  4. One of the easiest ways to save is to go off-season compared to everyone else. The really nice part of this is that it is often more enjoyable that way because it's not as noisy or crowded with other tourists.

    1. Unfortunately what it can't save is the number of days we can take off work, but that is a totally different issue. :p

  5. I've tried the cheap deal websites but often the flights are taking off or landing at really inconvenient times. These days I prefer to pay a little more and have some choice.

    1. Hi Turner, I guess the inconvenient times make it cheaper. So it really depends on what you want and your budget.