Enjoying a long-distance love affair? We’ve got a few tips on how to keep the financial headaches out of it by saving on travel and other expenses.
Take It Slow
Establish how frequently you’ll plan to see one another, then stick to it. A spur-of-the moment American Airlines rendezvous from New York to Chicago on Friday (and returning Sunday) would cost about $440. However, booking two weeks in advance on the same airline would cost as little as $170 round trip. Savings: $270.
Meet Me In St. Louis
Pick a city that's not too expensive, located in between the two of you, and spend the weekend there. Cities that are more known for business than tourism offer cheaper accommodations on the weekends; they might also feature cheaper flights with a Saturday night stay-over. For example, staying at the Hilton San Francisco costs $127 per night for the weekend of the 27th. The Hilton St. Louis costs $96 for the same weekend. Go explore a new city and have a random adventure together. We're all for it.
One tactic is for one person to pay for his or her own travel, leaving the person with the home-field advantage to make dinner, movie, and social plans for the both of them – and pick up the tab for any unplanned extravagance. Alternatively, if one person tends to travel more than the other, we like the idea of splitting all of the travel costs (regardless of who's hosting).
Bide Your Time
If you can, be more flexible with travel schedules. Weekends tend to be more expensive than weekday mornings, so if you can, fly home on a Monday morning instead of Sunday midday. Priceline.com defines “off-peak times” as flights that start before 6 a.m. and after 10 p.m. For example, flying from Los Angeles to Miami on Sunday, February 21 would cost $198 on AirTran, whereas making the trip on Monday morning would cost $140 with the same air carrier. Savings: $58.
Atlanta publicist Mandy Nuwar is one LearnVester who has the long-distance relationship thing down pat. She uses her solo nights at home to get ahead on work between trips. That way, everything is tucked away, and she doesn't have to worry about leaving the office when it's time to visit her own significant other. Share your long-distance stories in the comments below!
Bon (budget) voyage!
*Savings if you fly from Los Angeles to Miami on Monday morning instead of Sunday midday.
**If you are 25 today and retire at age 65. We calculated that number here.