Expert Advice on Why Planning Travel in Advance Saves Big Money

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If there ever was a time to plan a budget vacation, it’s now, with inflation running at its highest rate since 1981. Travel prices are up across the board, from air fares and lodging to gasoline and rental cars.

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One of the best ways to save on travel costs is to plan ahead, according to a new survey of 1,000-plus budget travelers conducted by VacationRenter, a platform that uses automation and artificial intelligence to help travelers find rentals.

The survey found that on average, travelers who took four months or longer to plan a trip spent significantly less on accommodations and travel ($370) than those who planned for less than a month ($446).

More than half of respondents (55%) took at least one month to plan ahead for their vacations, including 14% who took four months or longer.

Advance vacation planning saves money in several ways. One of the biggest is that you can find cheaper advance air fares by booking your flight well ahead of time. Similarly, you have extra time to compare hotel rates and destinations.

Make Your Money Work for You

Even planning as little as a month in advance is beneficial because it gives you time to create a vacation budget. As noted on the Ally Bank website, advance budgeting can help you avoid surprise expenses. The key is to build a budget and stick to it when you book and while you’re away. Here are the costs to consider:

  • Airfare
  • Lodging
  • Transportation (taxis, rental cars, trains, buses)
  • Food and drink
  • Entertainment (museums, tours, live shows)
  • Shopping

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For the purposes of the VacationRenter survey, budget travelers are those who spend $1,500 or less per vacation. Among respondents, the average spending on a budget-friendly vacation was $957, with individual costs broken down as follows:

  • Transportation: $204
  • Accommodations: $236
  • Food: $200
  • Activities: $154
  • Entertainment: $163

Gen Z respondents had the cheapest average spending, at $754. They were followed by millennials ($953) and baby boomers ($1,010). Gen X respondents spent the most at an average of $1,023.

More than half (57%) of budget travelers went out of state, while 32% stayed in-state and 11% visited another country. 

Make Your Money Work for You

In terms of saving money on vacation, here are the top three strategies budget travelers use:

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About the Author

Vance Cariaga is a London-based writer, editor and journalist who previously held staff positions at Investor’s Business Daily, The Charlotte Business Journal and The Charlotte Observer. His work also appeared in Charlotte Magazine, Street & Smith’s Sports Business Journal and Business North Carolina magazine. He holds a B.A. in English from Appalachian State University and studied journalism at the University of South Carolina. His reporting earned awards from the North Carolina Press Association, the Green Eyeshade Awards and AlterNet. In addition to journalism, he has worked in banking, accounting and restaurant management. A native of North Carolina who also writes fiction, Vance’s short story, “Saint Christopher,” placed second in the 2019 Writer’s Digest Short Short Story Competition. Two of his short stories appear in With One Eye on the Cows, an anthology published by Ad Hoc Fiction in 2019. His debut novel, Voodoo Hideaway, was published in 2021 by Atmosphere Press.
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