Don't bust your vacation budget
Summer means vacation. It also means planning and budgeting. But there's no need to stress over those costs. With a few tricks you can save money on expensive things like hotel stays, food costs, and activities.
Be flexible with your travel dates
If you can stay in the off-season, you will save oodles of money
If your stay is less than a week, travel and vacation mid-week
Avoid holiday weekends (you'll avoid crowds and extra holiday charges)
If possible, book a last-minute stay (many discount websites have great last-minute deals)
Use Discount Websites
Discount websites for travel, hotels, and activities:
Look for package deals or savings on hotel stays. Before purchasing, click through Ebates first to save even more money.
Plan your Meals
Stay at a hotel that includes breakfast or a kitchenette (so you can bring your own food)
If you're eating out, eat your "big meal" at lunch
Eat twice a day with a lighter snack in between
Look for restaurants that offer "kids eat free" deals
Pack a case of water or other drinks
Here's what this looks like for us: Eat a later breakfast at the hotel and pack a snack and a small lunch bag of cold drinks to take with us when we're out. Eat dinner before 4 pm (eating off the lunch menu if possible) at a place where kids eat free (extra points if you use a coupon!). If we're doing something in the evening we might stop for a snack somewhere or have something back in the room. The only "expensive" part of the day is dinner.
Travel Binder Printables
Taking a family trip?
Keep your kids happy while you travel with a few fun activities!
Print these pages, slide them into page protectors and put them in a binder. Include a few dry-erase markers and you have a great surprise for your kids on travel day.
There are lots of websites that will save you a few bucks on entertainment, lodging, and food:
Restaurant.com (wait until you can find a coupon code to save even more money. We picked up a $25 coupon for a pizza place for $2 by waiting for a sale.)
Local coupon books while you're on the road
Act like a Local
Walk or use public transportation (look for local coupon books that offer travel coupons)
Look for "Free Days" at various attractions (a few of our local museums are free if you arrive within the last 3 hours of operation on certain days each week)
Those are some the things I do and websites I visit when we're planning for vacations. If you're looking for more travel tips, check out my 5 Money-Saving Road Trip Tips.