Save money on vacation by following these brilliant tips!
As you get ready to plan your family’s summer vacation, there are some simple things you can do to ensure you save money — but can still have a lot of fun! Here are ten tips, which my husband and I followed ourselves in planning our own trip. They are simple and don’t require much effort on your part. However, they can really make a difference.
SAVE MONEY ON VACATION
1. Take a look at your budget
First and foremost, you have to look at your budget to determine how much you can afford to spend. That will help you determine if you can fly or need to drive. It can also help you learn how long you can stay away from home. Of course, you will be saving on everything (via the tips below), but this is step #1 – and the most important of all.
Read More: How to Create a Budget That Works
2. Book airfare at the right time
Believe it or not, there is a right and wrong time to check flights and book them. If you can book your flight within 45 – 50 days before you fly, you can often find the best deals. It may seem scary to not book it months in advance, but as the day gets closer, airlines will drop the prices to help make sure the plane is sold out -which means you can save.
You can also save money if you don’t opt for the direct flight (this may not be an option if you have smaller children, as that can be a bit too stressful). However, if you are willing to have a lay over or two, you can knock a bit off of your airline costs.
Read More: Five Tips to Save Money on Airfare
3. Don’t dine out every meal
Find a location that offers a free breakfast with your stay. You’ve already saved by getting one fee meal a day!
Another option is to ask for a refrigerator in your hotel room. Then, visit the local store and pick up breakfast and even lunch items so you can make inexpensive meals in your room. Some sandwiches will slide into your backpack, so you can stop and eat while out on your adventures.
If available, you might even see if you can find a location with kitchenette. We did this one year and were able to have all of our meals there. It was definitely a simple way for us to save a bit of money.
Always try to always eat breakfast where you stay. And, remember sack lunches always work too!
4. Skip paying for snacks and water
This is another easy way to save money on vacation. We take along our own bottled water (with our own bottles from home). We even bring along snacks such as granola bars, oranges and other items. Then, when our kids get hungry, we have something there, without spending $10 on a bottle of water or something to eat. This not only saves us money, it helps us all have an option for something healthy to eat (since many locales only have junk food options for snacks).
We keep our snacks in a backpack where we also keep changes of clothes for the kids, sunscreen, first aid kit and other things we might end up needing while we are out (I love not dragging along my purse to all of the venues too)!
Read More: How to Save Money When Visiting Disney
5. Do your research
Once you decide where you want to go, visit Living Social or GroupOn (or another deal site you love). Sign up for alerts and check out the deals for the city you will visit. You can often find voucher deals for events, venues, dining — and more! Just make sure that you read the fine print for possible exclusions including travel dates or even days of the week.
You can also visit the local travel bureau for your destination. We do this for all of our vacations. In fact, we always find coupons to use to save on admission to different venues. Even $5 saved is $5 in your pocket!
6. Save on your accommodations
As mentioned above, we were able to find a cabin for our family. This was a simple way for us to save money on vacation. In fact, it ended up being less expensive to go this route vs. having to book two hotel rooms. Not only that, but we will have a living space AND a small kitchen, where we can cook our meals! e!
7. Travel Off Season
Everyone wants to visit locations when the kids are out of school. That makes it peak travel season – and often more expensive!
If possible, delay your trip until the time of the year when fewer people will visit. We checked on a trip for our family and a one month delay will save us more than $500!
8. Pack for the road trip
If you ever drive anywhere with kids, you have heard “I’m hungry!” or “I’m Thirsty!” Rather than making multiple stops along the way and paying for food and beverages, pack a small cooler or travel pack. You can bring along snacks (which are often much healthier) as well as drinks. This not only saves money, but also time, as you won’t be stopping all of the time. (Sorry – I don’t have a way to cut down on potty breaks.)
9. Opt to stay with family or friends — or host them at your place
If you want to head to the mountains and you have friends or family living close, maybe you could ask to stay with them. Or, if you live near a beach, you could host someone too. In fact, you could actually SWAP hosting for one another and both families save!
If you are a guest in someone’s home, make sure you don’t take over. Meaning, don’t leave your stuff lying around the house. Offer to sleep on the sofa or floor (you don’t want to put anyone out by stealing a bed). Clean up when it is time to leave – including stripping any linens and picking towels and placing them in the laundry hamper or laundry area. You should also get your hosts a small thank you gift, be it a bottle of wine, dinner out or something for their home.
If you are hosting, keep in mind that there will be additional people in your home. Determine where everyone can sleep comfortably. Ask if there are any dietary restrictions before your guests arrive (such as peanut allergies, etc). Try to be accommodating to them too as this is their vacation and you want them to enjoy themselves. Heck – you could even offer to be a tour guide one day and drive them around to show them different attractions and things they can do while they stay. You could even offer them a key to your home, so they can come and go as they need to – so you don’t have to leave your home unlocked or worry about someone having to be there if you are away.
10. Stay home and do a Staycation
The simplest way to save money on vacation is to opt for a staycation instead! You can become a hometown tourist and hit the museums, parks and other venues people come to YOUR town to see! You can go camping in your backyard. You can set up your own water park and invite over friends.
There is no rule that says a vacation has to take you away from home. Not at all! The idea is that you get to do something fun with your family without the worry of work or school.
You can find a few other staycation ideas here.
What other tips do you have to help save money on YOUR vacation?