How to Plan a Dream Vacation with Limited Money or Time

Most families have to plan a vacation with a limited budget. There seems to be this feeling among travel fans that, unless you have a huge bank account and unlimited time on your hands, you cannot experience amazing vacations to your dream getaways and locations. And so, more times than not, families end up putting their vacation off. 


Here’s some great news, though: This way of thinking is a little outdated. If you have a ton of travel plans on your bucket list but are not exactly swimming in cash or time, no worries at all — with some careful planning and other tips, you can still make your travel dreams a reality. 


Check out the following ideas.


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You Actually Can Plan a Vacation With a Limited Budget


And you don’t have to go without as much as you may think by doing so. I’ve learned a lot about spending money on vacations. And my biggest takeaway has been that you can do the same exact trip for one price, but change the date or add just a couple of extras, and you’ve doubled your travel expenses. So follow these tips and you’ll see just how you can have an incredible family vacation that fits your budget.


Go to Less Expensive Places with the Same Features as Spendy Locations


You may want to spend a blissful week on a beach, watching the sunset with an adult beverage in your hand and your sweetie by your side. But after researching some popular tropical vacation destinations, you might be discouraged after seeing the price tag.


Anna Maria Island

There I am goofing off! Just poking around Anna Maria Island in Bradenton, Florida.


In these cases, look into lesser-known locations that offer a similar vibe or atmosphere. For instance, instead of jetting halfway across the world to the Maldives or parts of the Caribbean, you can find plenty of nice resorts in less expensive areas of the world, like Panama and parts of Mexico. Don’t have enough for the Caribbean? Head to one of the beautiful coastal cities in Florida. Like Bradenton or Sarasota. You can save on flights, meals and a whole lot more just by staying domestic. 


Spend time doing some research, try to steer clear of the hottest and most hyped-up luxury locations, and focus on finding less popular and more affordable gems.


Book a Shorter Trip — You’ll Still Have an Amazing Time


You don’t have to take off two or three weeks from work to have a memorable dream vacation. Indeed, you can still have an incredible time during a week-long vacation or even a three-day weekend getaway. If you’ve ever wanted to experience the sights in your own state, plan a fun road trip that lets you experience the beauty in your proverbial backyard while still being back at work by Monday.


If you prefer to go farther away from home, there are plenty of week-long options that won’t require you to use up all of your vacation time. For instance, Princess offers a number of Alaskan cruises — some excursions are as short as seven days — that are surely part of just about anyone’s bucket list.


Cruise to alaska, vacation with a limited budget


For instance, book a week-long cruise that includes a glacier viewing experience and four ports of call. This will definitely allow you to see plenty of the gorgeous Alaskan scenery without being away from home or work for days on end.


Consider a Budget-Friendly Vacation


Yes, there are plenty of incredible resorts around the world that you would undoubtedly like to experience at least once in your lifetime. They usually are a destination all on their own and can be found in some of the most beautiful parts of the globe. 


But to experience different corners of the planet — and not max out your credit cards or drain your savings — experts suggest skipping the pricey hotels and tours and consider backpacking through your desired location. Or, at the very least, choose smaller hotels that come with a kitchenette so you can make your own meals. Boutique hotels are especially perfect for sticking to a budget while getting all the luxury extras. 


Pannier Convertible Backpack, kidfriendly, Pannier Backpack, Christa Thompson, Anna Ruby Falls, Georgia, Things to do near Helen Georgia, Georgia waterfalls.


You can also choose a destination where the great outdoors is the attraction. Hike to amazing waterfalls, vistas, and through enchanted forests for a free experience that will be unforgettable. 


Another option is to travel during the off season, which will help you to save on flights, rooms and attractions. While you might not experience the warm nights on the beach if you travel in the winter versus the summer, you can throw on a sweatshirt and pants and still enjoy the scenery while knowing you’ve saved bookoo bucks. In fact, that thought alone should help to keep you warm. This is especially true when you’re visiting an all inclusive resort where your meals and beverages are included in your rate.


Have a Wonderful and Budget-Friendly Time


It must be reassuring to know that you can plan a vacation with a limited budget. You don’t have to put off your travel dreams just because you don’t have thousands upon thousands of dollars saved up. Indeed, you can certainly find more budget- and calendar-friendly options that will still allow you to see some of the most beautiful scenery this world has to offer, as well as experience some much-needed relaxation. All it takes is a little extra planning and foresight to make your dreams become reality.


About Christa Thompson

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Christa Thompson is the Founder and Chief Editor of The Fairytale Traveler. She started traveling the world in 2003 when she attended a summer abroad study at the University of Cambridge in England. Since then, her wanderlust has been fierce. Her three passions in life are her son, traveling, and being creative. The Fairytale Traveler brand gives Christa the opportunity to do all of these things and to live intentionally every day. "It's never too late to believe in what you love and to pursue your dreams." -Christa Thompson

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