Do not delude yourself, vacations cost a lot of money. Even a weekend away to Boston (and we live only 2 1/2 hours away) cost us just over $500 for our family of 5. It may not be possible to know exactly what a vacation will cost before you take it, but it is possible to shave off spending here and there and that will lead to some significant savings by the end of the trip.
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Here are some ways to save money on your next vacation.
Create a Budget – The first step to keeping your costs down is to create a budget that shows exactly how much you will be paying for transportation, lodging, food, and fun. Being knowledgeable about how much things cost will help you keep things real. Just because your on vacation, there is no reason to be unreasonable.
Plan ahead/Do your Research – By doing the legwork from home, you might be able to shop around for the best deals. You could possibly discover that every Friday night is free at the museum. You just mind find that reserving for 5 nights gets you a free night. While spontaneity and flying-by-the-seat-of-your-pants has many charms, they will guarantee that you spend the most amount of money possible.
It’s the Little Things – Don’t underestimate a potential small savings while traveling. If you save $20 a day, that could be $100 or more for the trip. Think what $100 buys you at home. Put it in perspective. Have fun and let loose a bit, but don’t lose your sense.
Eat only 1 Meal “Out” – Decide what meal will be your big meal for the day and then plan accordingly. Maybe your family loves a big, restaurant breakfast. Then pack sandwiches for lunch and plan to eat a picnic on the beach for dinner. Maybe you want dinner to be in an elegant restaurant. Then make breakfast and lunch as casual and low-cost as possible.
Visit Friends/Family – Have family in Providence? Does your roommate from college live near the Grand Canyon? You might be able to get a few nights free lodging in exchange for a refrigerator/pantry filled with food. Everybody wins!
Vacation with Friends/Family – Built in entertainment, shared costs, and help with kitchen duties are just some of the benefits of traveling with good friends or family.
Stay in a House/Villa – People often automatically think of hotels when they consider vacationing. If you are going to stay in one place for very long, then it makes good sense to look into renting a house or a villa for a week or so. A kitchen makes preparing your own meals cost-effective.
Look for Ways to Qualify for Discounts – Whether you are military, have AAA, or some other type of membership, always ask if you qualify for a discount. It can’t hurt, but can often help save you some money.
Do you have any tips for saving money on vacation? Let’s hear ’em!