When planning a vacation, one of the biggest concerns is the potential cost. All too often, we embark on an exciting trip with a budget in mind only to find that we far exceed it in actuality. Regardless of where you and/or your family are planning on vacationing, there are several money saving tips to stay within your budget, and still have a phenomenal time.

Minimize Your Lodging Costs

One of the primary rules of booking your lodging is doing so during the area’s off season and completing all arrangements as far ahead of time as possible. Only do hotel walk-ins if absolutely necessary as the majority of hotels charge more for walk-in room reservations.

Although the idea of spending your vacation time in a four star hotel is tempting, there are many two star hotels that are certainly sufficient for your lodging needs. Chances are, you are only going to be spending your sleeping hours in the hotel room so there is no need to pay for amenities and luxuries that you won’t be taking full advantage of anyway. If you are traveling in Europe and are so inclined, hundreds of dollars can be saved by staying in a hostel as opposed to a hotel.

Many hotels also offer discounts to seniors, students, and members of the military. If any of these categories applies to you, make sure to ask whether or not they have a discount available.

Limit Meal Costs

If your hotel provides a free breakfast, take advantage of this during your trip. The hotel has worked in the breakfast into your room fee so not eating the breakfast means that you are losing money on your stay. Besides, why spend money on breakfast when you have a perfectly decent meal available to you!

When it comes to snacking, purchasing easy to carry items such as fruit, granola bars, and nuts at a grocery store can save you money when you are out and sightseeing.

For lunch, pack non-perishable sandwiches such as peanut butter or pick up something from a street vendor as opposed to sitting down in a restaurant. Street vendors are typically significantly cheaper and will also allow you to take part in some of the local culinary charm of the place you are visiting.

When you do decide to go to a restaurant, make sure to check out the menu and know what the prices will be like ahead of time. Doing your research before you leave for your trip can give you a great idea of which restaurants in the area are both tasty as well as reasonably priced.

Closely Budget Sightseeing and Shopping Costs

Instead of buying souvenir items when you first see them, wait a while until you find a place that is the most reasonably priced. The best place to look for mementos are in local stores outside of the center of the city or town. The majority of large stores in busy locations are tourist traps that charge significantly more for their products since the tourists are more likely to pay larger amounts of money.

As is the case with lodging, many tourist attractions have discounts for seniors, the military, or students. This is particularly true of sites such as museums and other larger institutions.

Whether you are planning on going on an extended vacation to another country or you are only going a short while away from home, the above tips are sure to provide you with a great vacation for a much more reasonable price. When planning your trip, there is certainly no reason to sacrifice your savings.