Expert Advice

Your Guide To Traveling On A Budget — And How Hilton Grand Vacations Can Help Save Money

Affordable adventures await

Raeanne V
A Hilton Grand Vacations Member posing at a canal in Amsterdam, Netherlands

Hey there, budget-friendly travelers. Are you a solo traveler looking to maximize spending? Or do you need to stretch your dollar for a family reunion with the extended family?

Your next vacation doesn’t have to drain your bank account. This guide will dive into my tips and and help you plan the perfect budget-friendly vacation.

A Hilton Grand Vacations Member looking out of a train window onto a snowy destination 


When the world is your oyster, it can be hard to know where to begin. Start by researching destinations. Look for locations with affordable flights or where your currency goes further. If you have a specific destination in mind, visit during shoulder seasons to avoid price surcharges. For example, I like to lay low during Christmas and New Year’s Eve or avoid vacation hot spots like Hawaii during the summer rush.

Flights And Packing

Flexibility can be your greatest asset when vacationing on a budget. My favorite way to find affordable airline tickets is through Google Flights. Select your origin and arrival airports, and Google Flight’s calendar will auto-populate prices for each date. This gives you an overview of the cheapest days to fly.

A Hilton Grand Vacations Member posing by stone windows looking out on a city 

If this doesn’t work for you, there are two alternative options to consider.

First, look at prices from nearby airports. I live in New Jersey, where four airports are within a ninety-minute drive. Sometimes it’s cheaper to fly out of Newark, but other times Philadelphia is the way to go.

Alternatively, check one-way flights from one airport and return flights to another. My parents once saved $300 by flying out of LaGuardia Airport but back into JFK.

If this isn’t possible, consider booking separate layovers. I’ve also saved money by paying for separate flights from Newark to Los Angeles then LA to Oahu — rather than a direct flight from Newark to Oahu. It may take some finesse to make sure that flights line up, but it’s worth it.

Then try to pack light so you don’t have to pay to check luggage. Even if I’m gone for a month, all I ever need is a carry-on suitcase and a personal item — especially since Hilton Grand Vacations properties have on-site laundry.

View of Oahu from a balcony  


As a Hilton Grand Vacations Member, I have plenty of options to pay for accommodations. Consider using HGV ClubPoints between Monday and Thursday since those days usually have the best Point value. ClubPoints also tend to go further during the off-season.

Or wait to book during Black Friday. Hilton Grand Vacations offers great Black Friday discounts on the Member Portal.

If youre an HGV Max Member, check out the Explore By Promotions” page and see which resorts have Points discounts.

One of my favorite perks of Hilton Grand Vacations is Open Season. Here, you can pay out of pocket for rooms at Hilton Grand Vacations’ properties for a discounted rate. The only catch is that these rooms aren’t available until a month before your trip, so Open Season is great for last-minute reservations and spontaneous travel.

Getting Around

Car rentals and rideshares can get very expensive. So I consider walkable destinations or places with public transportation when traveling on a tighter budget.

A Hilton Grand Vacations Member and friend posing 

When planning my month-long vacation in Hawaii, I originally looked at the Big Island after an incredible stay with my family at Ocean Tower, a Hilton Grand Vacations Club. However, you need a car to get around the Big Island, and a rental would cost me over $100 per day.

This wasn’t feasible with my budget, so I switched gears to Oahu instead. Waikiki is walkable, has bus routes all over the island and is just as beautiful. I saved me thousands of dollars simply by not renting a car for 42 days. 


Although I love fine dining, local cuisine is the way to go. Don’t get sucked into tourist traps that overcharge you for an entree.

Instead, ask locals — such as baristas, store owners or taxi drivers — for their recommendations. These hole-in-the-wall spots may end up surprising you.

Many Hilton Grand Vacations Suites offer a full kitchen, so I also enjoy buying fresh and local ingredients and cooking meals in my room.

Free And Low-Cost Things To Do

A Hilton Grand Vacations Member on a paddle board in Hawaii 

I’m an adrenaline seeker, so although I enjoy a fun jet ski or ATV experience, they can get quite pricey. If you’re an outdoor adventurer like me, save money by checking out nearby hikes for incredible views. Or do your research for activities you’d enjoy within your budget.

For example, surfing is a must when I travel to a beach town. However, board rentals can get expensive. In Oahu, most places charge up to $30 an hour for a board. After a lot of research, I found Moku Surf Shop in Oahu, a local gem offering 2-hour board rentals for $10.

If you’re a culture or history enthusiast, opt for European destinations with walkable architectural sites and historical museums for enriching and budget-friendly activities. Sometimes local walking tours can be a cheap and easy way to immerse you in the history of your destination and see all the sites in a short amount of time.

Read “How To Plan A Perfect Vacation, According To The Experts” for more travel tips.

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Hilton Grand Vacations Owner Raeanne surfing while on vacation in Hawaii

Raeanne V

Raeanne’s been an Owner since 2019. One of her highlights of ownership was using her ClubPoints to WFH (work from Hawaii) for three nonconsecutive months. Follow Raeanne to satiate your travel bug for adventurous vacations.

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