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Ways to Save Money on Vacation

Ways to Save Money on Vacation

Did you ever think to ask how much you actually spend on your vacation? Does your budget account for travel and do you really stick to it? Traveling doesn’t have to be expensive but most people don’t consider the expenses they rack up while on vacation until they get home and the credit card bills start coming in. Eating out, seeing the sights, attractions and souvenirs can add up quickly.

Here are some ways to save money on vacation.

Save up for it and only use what you saved

Pay cash to avoid the bills later. If you’d rather use your credit card, set you money aside to pay your statement in full when the bills come in. Remember, using a credit card takes a lot of discipline, if you don’t have self-control and discipline, DON’T USE YOUR CREDIT CARD. Its so easy to over spend.

Get plane tickets in advance

Depending on whether or not you’re traveling around the holidays, booking your flights as early as possible can help you pay a cheaper price. Compare prices online with reputable sights like Expedia or Travelocity.

Travel during the off-season

During the off-season, flights and vacation homes are cheaper and it also means fewer crowds to deal with and more opportunities to explore certain destinations. Check the area you plan to travel; sometimes certain attractions are closed off season. You’ll have to decide if saving the money is worth missing some attractions.

Use Apps Like Gas Buddy and Gas Guru

CNN named these two as the best apps to help find cheap gas near you. You can count on them for the lowest, up to date prices.

Plan out meals and eating expenses

Set aside how much you’d like to spend on food while on vacation. Plan to split meal, (yes, kids can partner up and split meals too), this way you can still have some local cuisine without paying a lot. Skip the drinks and order water, add lemon and you can have a free lemonade. Pass on the dessert and go out for Ice cream later.

Find an Airbnb or rental with a kitchen

Make most of your own meals. Spending $50 to stock a refrigerator rather than spend it on a one-night dinner out will go along way.

Check out restaurant prices before going

Eight of us piled into a hibachi grill once and after we were seated and they brought out water and bread, we saw their meals were $50 a plate. As the guy on the bar belted out Sweet Caroline, we slowly slipped out of our booth and headed somewhere else. A little planning would have saved us, time, gas and embarrassment.

Don’t tip on top of the tip

Some restaurants charge an automatic service fee or added gratuity for groups over six people. If you’re not careful, you could be tipping twice unless you want to be overly generous. Always check your bill. Also, if you use credit cards, (which you plan to pay off as soon as you get your statement), check your statement over carefully. I had a friend whose waiter decided to add his own tip to her credit card charge.

Bring a reusable water bottle

Buying drinks can add up quickly, and buying water is no different. Pack water bottles for your family and fill up at your hotel or drinking fountains.

Book a hotel room with breakfast included

Most hotels offer a free breakfast, sometimes, continental, in the mornings. This checks off one less meal you have to pay for during the day.

Consider your destination

If you love the outdoors, Camping is one of the cheapest ways to travel.

Pitch a tent, rent an RV or cabin at a campground.

Stay with family and friends

You can save alot by staying with a friend or family member during your vacation, especially if you’re just looking to explore a new city. Plus, they would know all the best sights to see and you’ll make some extra great memories with your friends and family.

Check rental car and hotel packages

For those of you who have to be mobile on vacation, check for packages that will allow you to bundle your rental car with your flight for a cheaper rate. Also, keep an eye out for discounts and coupon codes for car rentals.

Check out sites like Expedia and, you can purchase your flight, hotel, and a rental car under a bundled deal for hundreds of dollars less than what you’d spend booking individually.

Check exchange rates

Do your research and plan ahead for the exchange rate in various locations. Some countries have a fixed currency, while others fluctuate depending on the day. Order your foreign currency from your bank the week before or exchange it at a currency kiosk in the airport, before you board your flight.

Always keep some cash

Always keep some cash on you. It will help cut the cost of fees of having to get money out later

Purchase gifts or souvenirs at the local stores 

Save money by hitting up local flea markets or shops for all of your souvenirs and unique gifts. You’ll still get a great keepsake for a lot less.

Get a Multi-Attraction Pass or Discount Card

Get passes or discount cards and bundle your attractions. You’ll always find great deals online. is a great site to find them.

Check community calendars for free or discounted events

Check the local community Facebook page or calendars to see if they have free events going on in the area.

Pack as light as possible

Avoid baggage fees and pack light with a good carry-on bag or combine bags in one larger suitcase.

Hit the local store   

Grab snacks, drinks, or other small items you may have forgotten at home at local grocery store. It will save you from overspending when you get hungry when all that is available are overpriced items.

Save on your phone bill 

Apps like WhatsApp, Skype and Hangouts are essential when traveling abroad. All you need is WIFI to chat with your friends, family, and loved ones.

Bring your military ID

There are lots of restaurants and stores that offer military discounts. You’ll never know unless you ask.

With old age comes wisdom….and discounts!

There are a lot of places that offer senior discounts, some as young as 55. Ask every place you go if they offer any.

Discover cash back

I love Discover card, yes, I use credit cards, only when I can pay the balance off easily in full when the bill comes in.  Their cash back gives you extra money and there are gift cards available for restaurants, stores and attractions.

Use your reward points

Redeeming your travel points with your credit card company could get you discounted/free flights or other rewards like double points on future flights, discounts at hotels, restaurants, and free checked bags.

Talk with the locals

It always helps to spark up a conversation with a local. You’ll find out the best places to visit or restaurants to eat at or where to get anything you need at the best price.

Shop with a purpose 

Don’t buy anything you can get at home, unless it’s a bargain. I love shopping, I always hit the clearance racks and bargain bins also cloths or household items can double as a souvenir. Once we rented a house in the Poconos and I was at the lake, drinking tea in one of the mugs from the well-stocked kitchen, I set my mug in one of the strollers and the ball just happen to hit it and broke it. We bought a replacement set and I kept the rest as a souvenir. Every time I use it, I remember that vacation.

Alert the bank of your travel plans

See if you credit card or bank flag your account when you travel to a new destination, in fear of fraud or stolen identity. Give your banks a heads up the week before you travel. You might get stranded when away from home with no way to access your money.

Consider a staycation

No money for vacation? Take a week and just stay home and do things at home and in your area you wouldn’t normally do. You can do free or maybe afford to splurge a little since you won’t have travel expenses to pay for.


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