Vacating with friends seem fun until you check your bank account and realize that it is close to being impossible. Hanging out with the best people in your life is one of the things many people look forward to, but unfortunately, their hopes and dreams are cut short. It gets even more frustrating when your social media feed is filled with people vacating and hanging out with loved ones, and you can only but wish to do the same.
The good news, however, is that you don't have to break the bank to have a vacation with your friends. Below are seven tips to help you plan a budget-friendly vacation with faraway friends:
1. Set your budget
The first thing to do while planning a vacation, whether alone or with a group, is to have a budget to work with. While vacations might seem like the best thing, it can also get costly, adding up lodging, airfare, feeding, maintenance, and miscellaneous. Know how much you can spend and list out everything you will need to make the vacation happen. The budget will help keep you in check as you plan, so you know when not to cross the line and when to compromise.
Simple steps to get a budget include:
Calculate your expenses
Determine your income
Set savings and debt payoff goals
Record spending and track progress
Setting up a realistic budget helps you make your financial goals a reality, including planning a dream vacation.
2. Find a Middle Ground — Literally
If you and your friends are coming from different locations, you can choose a central point to have the vacation, where each one of you won't have to spend more than a particular amount on flight tickets. You need to be flexible with your plans, such that you are able to change destination venues to suit everyone's pockets. This might include last-minute decisions, as long as everyone is happy about it. It might be impossible if you tie yourself to a particular location and time of travel. Keep your options open and be flexible, and you just might find yourself on the perfect vacation that aligns with your budget.
You can also look out for busy cities with interesting centers of attraction that will make you enjoy your vacation. Most often than not, busy airports with lots of people visiting tend to have a cheaper flight so you might want to look into that.
3. Compare Prices
This also follows being flexible. Don't just stop at one airline or website; try other websites, and compare the prices to see which suits you best. Compare prices ranging from the airline to the hotels, trips, and meal options. You can also use a travel advisor itinerary. At the end of the day, the goal is to get the best price and service that suits your budget.
4. Mix and Match Using Different Airports
This is also another way to save on your flight tickets. You just have to be smart about it. Simply check out flight movements and see if you can get one with a stopover, which could likely get you a discount. You could also use a neighboring airport if it is cheaper to take off from there, and then, you can cover the distance with a cab or a bus.
5. Use a VPN to Find the Cheapest Deals
Prices often differ based on where you are booking from. To avoid this, it's best to use a VPN which blocks your location and could make it seem like you are booking from somewhere else. You could get the best deals with this, after checking different flights.
6. Take Turns
This is also another simple way to travel on a budget. Simply alternate and go to the home city of one friend at a time. By doing this, you could all crash at the host's residence and split the expenses throughout the stay. You can also all split the costs of travel, to ensure that everyone pays the same amount regardless of where they are traveling from. One simply compensates for the other by putting the money together and splitting equally to each person.
7. Maximize outdoor photography
Getting an outdoor photographer could save you more money on photography. You could use your smartphones to take a great picture, and if you need someone to help take a group picture, you could ask a random passerby to help out. This will help cut some cost off photography, and you would end up spending little or nothing for photography.
You could also alternate among yourself and your friends to take pictures of your activities. Here are a few tips to help you take great photos while on vacation:
Tilt your camera for a more appealing angle
Incorporate the surroundings; look for side attractions
Look for lines and patterns to make your picture more dynamic
The quality of light also matters
Always remember details. Zoom in where necessary to capture the most important figures.
Planning a vacation with a low budget might not come easy, but it is possible if you try the above tips. A low budget shouldn't automatically erase the idea of a dream vacation.