If you love to travel and need a good vacation but money is tight, keep hope. There are many ways you can get the break you need and ways to save money on vacation. If you are willing to be flexible, you can have a great break from the daily grind. You can have a good time, relax, and enjoy!
My family recently got back from a vacation that cost $175 for our family of 4. That included food, travel, a hotel, and fees to get into the local attractions. It was a wonderful time, and exactly what we needed in the midst of cold, snowy, and flu season.
So, let’s get right to it. Let me share with you the ways my family is able to save hundreds, sometimes thousands, of dollars on vacations! Some of the links below are affiliate links that support us.
– Travel in the off season.
Deals are easier than ever to find when you avoid the summer months. A bonus is that you’ll avoid the crazy crowds, which will give you more time to do what you want to do and see what you want to see!
– Use deal sites for your hotel stays.
There are a lot of deal sites out there. My favorite include Groupon and KSL Deals. Looking through KSL Deals, I found a 1-night hotel stay at a hotel near one of the National Parks that my husband has wanted to visit. The deal was $45 for that hotel room, which included 2 king-sized beds, and more than enough space for my family. Currently, Groupon is offering $10 off your first deal to new members, so you can make it even more affordable! These places also offer a lot of activities to do in the area of your stay, so that you can capitalize on other deals while you’re in town.
– KISS (Keep it Short & Simple).
When you keep your vacations “mini”, you can save a lot. Keep your vacations to 2-3 days, and you’ll be able to afford more vacations that way. That means more breaks! When you are able to avoid crowds by going in the off season, you’ll find that you can get through more in the time you have, anyway.
– Stay close by.
Explore the beauty of the world near and around you! Enjoy the attractions that are available to you already! It can still feel like a vacation if it’s a few hours away, and this will help you to keep it short, since you’re not spending a ton of time on the road. You’ll save on having to buy airfare, and on gas money. My family has been blessed to live near SO many national parks. We’ve taken half a dozen mini vacations over the last few years, and never had to go to the same place twice. Learn what’s around you, and enjoy it!
– Pack your own food.
This is so easy to do, especially when you’re driving. Fill a cooler up with stuff, and pack a box with non-chilled snacks (homemade granola, beef jerky, chips, whatever you like). If you get a hotel with a microwave, you can bring microwavable stuff so that you’ll be able to feel like you’re not just snacking, but eating hot meals. If the hotel offers a free breakfast, bonus!
– Keep Souvenirs Affordable.
If you are going to a theme park, the souvenirs in the park are likely to be ridiculously expensive. You can buy a themed t-shirt in advance at a local store (pretty easy to do if you’re trying for Disney stuff). If you’re visiting nature-type places like my family often does, you can usually find small knick knacks for a good price at the location you’re at. My kids are fans of rock collecting, so we may purchase a small bag of rocks. My daughter bought a mini dream catcher at the gift shop for just $2.50, and she’ll always remember our trip because of that.
– Make a list of what to pack, and double check it as you pack.
It’s so frustrating to get to your destination, only to realize you forgot your toothbrush. So you then go to the gift shop and spend $$ on one. Even if it’s not a lot of money, it’s money you hadn’t budgeted for. So make a list in advance, go over it a few times to make sure you haven’t forgotten anything, and then as you’re packing, go through each item ONE by ONE and cross them off. Then if you’re paranoid like me, unpack everything and repack it again to double check, ha ha!
Now that you know how you can cut costs, it’s time to get planning….let’s go on vacation!! 🙂
What great ideas do you have to save money? What have I missed? Share in the comments below!
*This post originally appeared on Better on a Budget in March 2016.
Evelyn is the author at Better on a Budget, where she shares stuff about simplifying, saving, and self reliance. You can visit her at Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.