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5 Tips for Bringing Down the Cost of Your Vacation

Dreaming of a relaxing getaway this spring or summer? We’ve found some smart ways to help you create the perfect budget-friendly trip.

A vacation offers much-needed relaxation and fun, but if you’re not careful, your travel budget can spiral out of control. Thankfully, you can find ways to save in your vacation budget by being smart about flight and hotel discounts, meal costs and more. These easy tips can help you plan an affordable vacation.

When to fly

Whether you’re flying international or domestic, you can score a deal by flying Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday instead of Friday or Sunday

Source: The New York Times, 2018.

When to fly

When to book

Save 15-25% by booking on Tuesday, after airlines release sale prices and competitors match. Just remember, other variables often derail that rule of thumb, so it’s a good idea to comparison shop. How far in advance you should book usually depends on when you’re traveling and where.

Source: SkyScanner, 2018.

When to book

How to book


Average amount customers saved bundling airfare and hotel rooms through sites like Travelocity.

Source: USA Today, 2017.

Signing up for a loyalty program and booking directly with the hotel could save you 10–20% versus an online travel agency.

Source: Phocuswright.

How to book

Once you’re there

Seek out free attractions

Parks, national landmarks and beaches can be free (or cheap) activities for you and your family. Your hotel’s pool is also free.

Use the 1-2 rule for meals

For every fine dining experience, plan to have two economical meals.

Once you are there

Plan your next trip

Using a credit card travel rewards program can help your budget, too. Travel rewards cards allow you to earn points you can redeem toward things like flights, hotel rooms or rental cars on your next vacation—though specifics vary by card.

Plan your next trip

3 Questions to Ask Your Advisor

  1. Can I afford to take a trip and still keep my savings and investments on track?
  2. What’s a reasonable annual travel budget for me?
  3. Can Merrill Lynch’s and Bank of America’s mobile apps help me track expenses on vacation?

This article was adapted from Better Money Habits®. Visit for more practical financial information.

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