Between lodging, gas, entertainment, and food, the cost of a family vacation can add up quickly. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that a fun getaway cannot be accomplished on a budget. When it comes to traveling, there are plenty of ways to prepare, plan, and conserve your cash so you can get more bang for your buck. Check out the following tips and tricks for saving money while on vacation.
Plan ahead! The more time you allow for preparations, the better chance you’ll have at snagging the absolute lowest prices on things like hotel rooms, rental cars, airline tickets and more. Book your trip during the off season. If flying is on the agenda, save money by opting for round trip flights that have connections. Although this might cut into your time and be slightly inconvenient, it will certainly save you time. Choose an airline company that does not charge a baggage fee. Have friends or relatives drop you off at the airport rather than paying to park for the duration of your trip.
Consider and compare prices on meal plan options or all-inclusive resorts. Depending on the destination, many families are able to save a ton of money by prepaying for their food and beverages.
If your vacation destination is not at a resort, consider meal planning instead. Choose accommodations that will allow you to cook in some, rather than eating all meals out. You might also consider packing frozen foods or preassembled meals in a cooler from home rather than full out grocery shopping upon arrival. After all, popular vacation spots often have a higher cost of living as compared to where you live.
Speaking of grocery stores, many retailers carry pamphlets and coupon brochures so be sure to check the racks on your way in or out the door. If you have questions about grocery stores in the area you will be visiting, send me an email. I will be glad to answer any questions you may have! The same goes for visitor centers. These establishments often have exclusive offers for visitors that will certainly save you money. When booking special activities like a dinner show or activity, be sure to ask if there are any coupons floating around in said booklets. Don’t forget to bring your regular coupons from home along for purchasing snacks and other essentials.
For extra-high priced vacation destinations (like Disney) some families have saved a lot of money on food by shipping a box of packaged items ahead of time. Luckily, most snack foods are lightweight, and shouldn’t cost much to ship.
Explore alternative vacation destinations like a nearby lake or campground. Try to keep your vacation as close to home as possible to avoid costly fuel and general travel expenses. Depending on where you live, a “staycation” might be just as fun as a getaway, if not more!
If space allows, pack your own equipment for fun and most importantly, FREE, activities like biking and fishing.
Before traveling, make a thorough packing list so you avoid purchasing overpriced necessities at your destination.
Check out deal websites like Living Social, Restaurant.com, and Groupon before traveling to see if there are any additional discounts available for things like restaurants and entertainment venues.
Allocate a definitive amount of cash for mindless spending. Avoid using credit or debit cards as these transactions can add up quickly without you realizing just how much money you’ve spent.
Finally, don’t be afraid to simply ask for any available discounts. Military personnel, AAA members, senior citizens, AARP members, first time guests, and even families with young children can benefit from a variety of vacation savings that aren’t always publicly advertised. There is absolutely no shame in scooping up every bit of savings possible, especially when it comes to vacationing! Lastly, enjoy your time with your family. Sometimes the best memories made while on vacation are the ones you can’t buy!