Vacation. It is a magical time for friends, couples, and families to relax, unwind, and connect with others rather than their favorite devices. However, it can also be a strain on your budget.
There are ways you can save money while on vacation, both while planning it and when on vacation.
The first key to saving money while on vacation involves maintaining a focus on costs with each budget line of your travel plans. You can do this while you are planning your vacation with a few simple steps.
Plan Your Meals
With so many hotels and condos offering fully stocked kitchens and kitchenettes or microwaves and mini-fridges, you can save quite a bit of money on meals by minimally eating out and preparing the remaining meals in your room.
If your hotel offers free breakfast, take advantage of that as well. If dining out once daily, lunch is often the best time to splurge. Many restaurants provide reduced prices on their lunch menu. You might even have enough leftovers to take back to your room for a snack later in the evening. Do not forget to look for 'early bird' dinner specials as well.
Book Your Hotel Wisely
Forbes recommends going to the hotel website directly to get the best price for hotel rooms. If you are a member of a specific hotel's loyalty program, you can save even more money. The same holds for senior discounts.
You may even find apartments available at much better costs than renting hotels for the duration of your vacation, while also providing you with more room to spread out and dine-in.
Whether you are flying or driving, the way you pack can have a significant toll on how much you spend on your vacation and how much you enjoy it. Pack lightly and try to get all your supplies and clothing in one carry-on sized bag per person if possible. That will help you avoid bag checking fees with the airlines.
While on Vacation
During your vacation, you have opportunities to save as well. The below tips can help you avoid unnecessary spending and may be instrumental in stretching your dollars, allowing you to add more activities or mementos to remind you of an extraordinary time together as a family.
Bring Snacks and Water Along
Pack a backpack for your outings and fill it with water and snacks. That will help you avoid hungry children (or parents) and the higher prices of similar items at convenience stores in touristy areas of town.
Seek out Free Entertainment and Attractions
Many museums offer reduced priced admissions on some days while others are entirely free. Same goes for National Parks.
Other free or low-cost attractions to consider include:
- State parks
- Walking tours
Check out local calendars for the city or area you are visiting to learn about community events, activities, and attractions that are free on given days. Also look for local movie houses that offer second-run movies at deep discounts or local theatre companies that can put on a good show. That gives your family something to do if your other plans for the day are rained out.
Buy City Tourism Cards
These cards give you access to many of the top attractions in the city for free or at a discount. There may even be free public transportation for the duration of your stay negating the need for car rentals and associated parking fees. In addition to providing free access to some of the city’s top attractions, they also offer discounts on restaurants and shops.
Look for Discounts and Deals Online
Browsing the Internet can help you locate great deals on popular tourist attractions in various cities across the country. That is not the only way to save; consider looking at chain restaurants and see if they offer discounts for new email subscribers or via downloadable apps. These discounts may be useful for free appetizers, reduced meal prices, buy-one get-one free, or half-off admission to attractions, and more.
Employing a few key savings pointers before and during your vacation can help you get more mileage and fun from your vacation while helping you stay within your budget. These tips will help you stretch your vacation dollars without sacrificing fun and festivities with your family.