When your going on vacation the last thing you want to worry about is “How much are we spending?” But it’s something that we HAVE to consider.
We make a budget for our Hotel, Cabin, etc first. Then we consider the location and create a budget. We allocate from that budget an amount that we will spend on traveling there..i.e gas or in some families cases airfare, taxi cabs, train, etc. The left over amount is our final budget to spend.
One way we save money is point saving sites like MyPoints & Swagbucks. They are great ways to earn gift cards all year. I save my points and redeem them for places like Subway, gas gift cards, and even hotel points. I generally use them solely on food for our traveling pit-stops. On our last vacation we ate at Subway going to our destination and coming home from our desintation for FREE!! It was quick, a healthier option, and the price was right.
I also use online hotel reservations sites like Hotels.com or Priceline to book my hotel. The only bad thing about that is that you must prepay in advance especially if your naming your own price. They do have insurance you can buy, but generally your out of luck if you have to cancel a trip.
If I am booking a hotel online and have never visited the establishment before, I go to sites like Trip Advisor and search previous guest’s reviews to get a general idea of what I want and don’t want. I also look to see if the hotel has Continental Breakfast & free parking because this will save your family money in the long run.
I also refer to Ebay and see if anyone is selling tickets or Gift Cards to a popular tourist location. For instance, if I am going to Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, I would see if anyone is listing their Dollywood tickets, or Wonderworks tickets that they were not able to use. Many visitors purchases tickets in advance and then don’t find the time to visit the destination. Or they may purchases Water-park tickets, only to see it rained the whole weekend they were visiting. I have purchased Aquarium tickets, Dollywood tickets, and even Ripley’s tickets for a fraction of the cost I would have spent if I purchased them via their website, or once in town.
Another thing I do is bring snack type foods, juice packs, soft drinks & water with us on our trips. not only is it good for traveling to and from your destination, but it’s great to tuck in your vacation backpack while visiting. A zip-lock storage bag of Goldfish or grapes can hold any child over until you leave for a less expensive venue.
Also, we always have 1 nice meal per day. Somewhere we don’t look at prices and just enjoy. In order to do that, we may have a light lunch. Or have an amazing Lunch somewhere, but eat a light dinner. Bypass paying $6 for a slice of cheesecake somewhere and take your kids to Baskin Robbins instead. You will be surprise how much 4 sundaes at a restaurant will cost you!
Also check Groupon in other states/cities and see what deals they may have in your vacation destination in the coming months. If you know your going to Houston this summer, see what they have to offer a few months in advance. You can save big $$$ by stocking up on restaurant gift certificates way in advance.
Either way you save money, just be smart about your vacation. No one wants to come home, broke & full of credit card debt!
How do you save money for your family while on vacation?