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“How can I save money on summer vacation”?
Follow a lot of the tips I shared in my Disney trip post!
Just like any part of your family financial plan, you need to create a budget – how much can you spend?
Let’s start with getting there:
Are you driving?
A big MUST is this site – where you enter what kind of car you have, the current gas prices and it tells you how much it’s going to cost you. I know, BRILLIANT!
Check it out HERE.
If you are NOT planning to drive, check out Deal Chicken!
Simply sign up for DealChicken weekly emails and receive discounts on travel from quaint bed and breakfasts to tropical escapes.
This can save up to 70% on Vacations, Cruises, Airfare and More.
Where are you going to stay?
First things first – check out www.Bedbugresistry.com . Sadly, these little critters are becoming an epidemic in this country and it’s not the kind of souvenir you want to bring home! This site lists where problems have occurred and what the hotels have done for the customer. Trust me – you do NOT want to stay at a hotel that they have been reported at, and the management refused to give you a new room OR your money back so you can stay somewhere else!
Then, I look for hotels that include a breakfast. Anything from a continental meal to hot buffet can keep you from making another stop along the road and can usually be a little healthier.
Are we going to be at that hotel a while? Make sure it has a fridge! It’s SUPER easy to hit a local grocery store and pick a few things up – when you have a place to keep it cold.
Do you plan to eat?
(I know, silly question!)
Meals on the road add up VERY fast so here are a few tips: pack food and bring gift certificates!
That first day on any car trip can go pretty smooth if you simply pack a picnic lunch and stash of snacks. It means less stops (one restaurant stop can cost you an hour of travel time!) at fast food places, healthier choices and a lot less money.
Don’t forget drinks! We take bottled water and juice boxes along with our cooler of sandwiches, fresh fruit, home made cookies and cut up veggies… having a separate cooler for the drinks.
If we plan a longer trip, I also pack a bag or two of simple dried goods: a box of cereal that I got FREE with coupons is a lot cheaper than $4 per person (or more!) for a stop at a breakfast joint. Think granola bars, packets to add to bottled water that flavor it, apple sauce cups, mixed nuts, trail mix, fish crackers, fruit chewies/roll ups, pretzels, etc
If you are on Swagbucks or Mypoints, you can easily earn points for restaurant gift cards. Plan on sticking with National Chains – they are easier to use when traveling.
You can also look for deals in the city you plan to vacation in on Restaurant.com. They often have sales where you can get $25 gift certificates for $2-4!
Are you going to one of these cities:
Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Miami, Milwaukee, Minneapolis-St. Paul, New York, Orange County,
Philadelphia, Portland, Richmond, Sacramento, San Antonio, San Diego, San Francisco,
San Jose, Seattle and Washington, D.C.
We also like to check out Groupon for that city and keep an eye out for tickets/events/deals! There are several offers a day so it pays to keep an eye out or get the daily email!
Now, let’s talk Souvenirs…
I try to plan accordingly like “activity” stuff for travel days (coloring books, word search puzzle books, DVDs, etc) and area appropriate items for actual vacation days – like I scored an almost new Tinkerbell Costume at a garage sale for $1 and she wore it at Disney instead of us buying one for over $50 there!
This really does help avoid the “I want…” whine fest that we can run into as they ALREADY HAVE gotten something and are usually very content to play with them.
I hope that helps you save money on your travel this summer — it’s a list of tried and true tips that worked for us! We had a 10 Day Disney trip for under $1,500 last year and will again this year!