vacation ideas for nursesYou're counting down the days!  The schedule was confirmed and approved: vacation time is coming! Yet you’re starting to worry about your budget. Don’t fret—planning a great vacation does not have to be luxurious and costly. You can enjoy a holiday for less with these cheap vacation ideas for nurses.

We work hard for our vacations. With the crazy hours we keep, the type of nursing job we work on, and the responsibilities we have, vacations are one of the things that keep us going. So, now that it’s time, don’t let finances stress you out and make a dent in your vacation plans. If we fret about money during a holiday, the whole idea of going away stops being fun.

Here are 11 money-saving tips that could help make your vacation more affordable:

  1. Get a hotel room with a fridge. When our family went to Disney World, we paid a small extra amount per day for a fridge in our room. We kept milk for cereal, essentials for making sandwiches, and so on. This cut down enormously on having to spend money on expensive on-site food.

  2. Buy groceries instead of restaurant meals. Even if you can’t or don’t have a fridge in your room, you can still enjoy a picnic lunch or take out breakfast by buying cheese and bread at a local grocery store. Many stores now offer prepackaged, meal-sized servings and ready-made sandwiches.

  3. Make lunch your big meal. In many places, lunches are less expensive than dinner. If you eat your big meal at lunch and have a lighter dinner, you may come out ahead.

  4. Trade or rent apartments, condos, or flats. Many travelers are trading their living space with others in their destination city instead of staying in hotels. If you can find a home to rent, you have access to kitchen facilities, greatly cutting down on eating out costs.

  5. Travel off-season. It costs much more to travel during peak times, such as the Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Spring Break. Going on a trip outside those times can save you a lot of money on travel and accommodations. Alternately, it seems that on the actual holiday (Thanksgiving and Christmas Day, for example), very few people are travelling as they traveled the day before or will be travelling the day after.

  6. Think outside the box. Always wanted to drive across the country? See if there’s a company or an individual that needs cars driven from one place to another and volunteer for the journey.

  7. Be flexible if you can. You don’t need to think of a crazy idea just to enjoy a cheap vacation for nurses. If you can take your trip from Tuesday to Tuesday, for example, airfares could be considerably lower than if you traveled from Saturday to Saturday.

  8. Watch your car rental fees. Read your car rental contracts carefully. You may not need that extra insurance they try to sell if your own personal car policy will cover you.

  9. Ask about discounts. Don’t be shy. Many places offer discounts but they aren’t advertised. Some "seniors" discounts start as young as 50. Whenever I stay in a place that has kitchen facilities, I check at the local grocery stores if they have membership cards for discounts.

  10. Check for on-line coupons. Someone I know recently saved over $500 on a rental car by checking for deals online. She searched the Internet for "coupon codes" and the name of the car rental company.

  11. Cross reference by directly phoning hotel/rental car/airline companies after checking rates online. The same person who checked for on-line coupons told me she would have saved $40 per night by calling instead of using websites. One clerk told her that you should always call because if the hotel isn't booked up you often save more by going the direct route.

Remember that in many cases, if you don’t ask, you won’t find out. Now, get out there and enjoy that well-deserved holiday! Cheap does not have to be boring. It's just a matter of getting the best deals and you can enjoy your free time without the stress.

Do you have other cheap vacation ideas for nurses? Post them in the comments!