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.
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.)
- Entertainment Book.com
- 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.