The Secret to an Affordable Vacation

With these thrifty moves, an affordable vacation can be yours. Guest author Daniel Abrahams explains the secret to an affordable vacation.

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Whether you're sitting around the pool, swooshing on the ski slopes, or enjoying the great outdoors, wouldn't it be great to to be the smug holiday saver?  You know, the one who boasts about how much less your vacation cost than everyone else's?

Even if you don’t want to boast openly about your savings, it would still be great to know that you found the best deal, wouldn’t it?  Well there are a few ways you can find that cheaper deal before anybody else and save yourself a small fortune on your next holiday:

Choose a Location Off the Beaten Track

A great way to save money is to choose a holiday destination that is not so popular, but which still offers excellent activities and accommodation. Ask friends and family for recommendations or run a few Google searches for alternative holiday destinations. Whether you want a beach vacation, a skiing trip, or an outdoor adventure, you will be amazed at some of the options available.

For example, if you live in the Northeastern United States, an alternative destination that few Americans consider is Portugal. It's just 5 hours from New York; it's beautiful, inexpensive, and full of amazing food, lovely architecture, and kind people.

Additionally, holiday review websites like TripAdvisor and LonelyPlanet are also very insightful when you want something a little different, but not too risky.

A great way to save money is to choose a holiday destination that is not so popular but which still offers excellent activities and accommodation.

Be a Clever Currency Converter

Unless you choose an all-inclusive holiday (a great option for saving money by the way!) you will need to factor in holiday spending money. If you are traveling to foreign climes, there is a good chance you will need to convert this money into the local currency. 

Golden rule #1 is to ditch the airport bureau. Expect to pay a mark-up of up to 10% from the real exchange rate.  Online currency suppliers will let you book for home delivery or airport pickup at hugely preferential rates.

Opt for the Last Minute Deal

If you are one of the lucky people who can book time off from work without giving your boss months of notice in advance, the last minute deal could be for you. The beauty of these deals is that you can literally book your vacation, pack your bags, and get going. Many last minute deals depart the next day or within 48 hours and offer a very exciting (and cheap) way to do a spur of the moment getaway.

Another great thing about last minute bookings is that they can take you somewhere you never would have considered traveling to before. You can look out for last minute deals on many established travel company websites or look up last minute deals on one of the many holiday comparison sites, such as Expedia, Orbitz, or CheapTickets.

Travel During Off Peak Hours and Dates

Traveling to your vacation destination outside of public holidays and school holidays can save you a great deal of money. Taking night flights and weekday flights is also a great way to save. The difference in flight costs on different days and at different times can be amazing. Check web sites like Kayak which let you see the price difference in real time. Or give your airline of choice a call to ask them when they offer their cheapest flights.

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Daniel Abrahams is a personal finance blogger, startup mentor at ABC Startup and co-founder at MyCurrencyTransfer.com. On February 12, Daniel will be debuting the company’s new B2B product, CurrencyTransfer at Finovate, the world’s largest conference showcasing the future of financial and banking technology.