1. Plan. If your vacation is well-planned you will definitely save more money. Can you bring items to help relive the cost of staying away from home? Are you traveling on an airplane, plan to travel when flights are the cheapest. The last trip I booked varied over $500 depending on the day I flew.
2. Location, Location, Location. Choose a vacation spot that is nice, but less expensive. If you can, keep your destination open, until you find a great deal on a great place. There are many lower cost great trips available. East coast folks will pay a lot to travel to Hawaii, but the Caribbean is less expensive.
3. Book hotels, flights, and rental cars through Ebates or Shop at Home. You can also call hotels directly to negotiate better prices. When hubby and I when to St. Thomas a few years ago, we booked a great deal with Expedia through Ebates. We earned 1% cash back on our trip cost! Sometimes it has been cheaper to book directly, so of course we do that.
4. Pack snacks and drinks for traveling. This can saving you literally hundreds of dollars, depending on where you are going. If you can bring free snacks or drinks, you won’t be tempted to spend money at the gas station on that $2 soda and $1 candy bar.
5. Eat your big meal at lunch and take advantage of continental breakfast (usually free). Many times lunch specials can be almost half the price of dinners. If you order a big lunch and have a refrigerator, you can skip dinner altogether with leftovers. At our favorite restaurant at Ocean Isle beach, we always order an extra pizza to go to eat throughout the week. That $15 usually saves us from going out to eat 2 or 3 more times, and the pizza is delicious. If your hotel doesn’t have continental breakfast, consider bringing some cereal and getting some milk for a week on cheap breakfasts.
4. Plan activities ahead and research discounts/coupons. Many places have coupons to print, if you do a little research early. If you are driving, stop by the Visitor’s Center in that state. Many times they will have coupon books and extra discounts.
7. Make sure you take advantage of your credit card rewards. The reality is that most of us use credit cards, at least for travel. My favorite card earns points for every dollar spent, and some even earn extra rewards for gas purchases or hotels. Just make sure you don’t overspend, and you pay it off immediately!!!
What other great tips do you have for the summer vacation/travel season?