Summer is upon us. With summer comes the overwhelming desire to be anywhere but where you are. This can mean a short beach trip or a vacation out of state. However, paying for these escapes can quickly cripple any budget. Now that my summer anniversary trip is booked I feel better about sharing 10 tips with you to help you travel for less.
- Use Booking Sites – Sites like Orbitz, Cheaptickets, Trip Advisor and many other sites can get you the same vacation for a fraction of the price. For our anniversary trip we were able to save 35% on our hotel package. Make sure to check for promo codes before shopping though. Sometimes you can bring your prices down with a code that is active.
- .Watch for Amenities – Some hotels will offer free shuttles, continental breakfast, or free parking. Knowing these amenities can save you a great deal. It’s always great to have a free continental breakfast so that you can take one meal off of your budget each day. If you book at a Best Western plus some will have continental breakfast available all day.
- Watch for Hidden Fees – There are hotels that will charge you by the day to park there. They may also charge for equipment rental on site, carts to haul your luggage, or fees for if you even touch the safe. Knowing about these fees can save you money in the long run. We stayed in a hotel once that charged if you closed the safe. I bet you can guess what my five year old did two minutes into our stay.
- Avoid the mini bar- For the prices you would pay for those items you could bring in your own. Snacks and drinks are not as pricey when brought in as they would be when added to your tab at the end of the trip.
- Visit Free Parks & Attractions – Is there a national park or trail where you are going? Sometimes picking one free day where you visit attractions can let you have a lot of fun while cutting the cost of your trip drastically. This also works for road trips. Instead of stopping at a restaurant chart out the parks on your route and have a family picnic.
- Plan meals – Are you going to be on the road? Will a cooler full of food/drinks save you money on drive thrus and diners? Will you be staying in a hotel? Ask if a fridge, mini fridge, coffee maker, or stove will be available. These small amenities can save you big money.
- Save on your Entertainment and Food – Sites like Groupon, Living Social, and Amazon Local offer deep discounts on food and entertainment for a variety of places. Check here before heading out to dinner or booking a show. You may be able to get the same experience for a fraction of the cost.
- Pre-buy Souvenirs – If you are visiting a large attraction or a known landmark visit Amazon first. You can often find the same item your child will want to buy there for a fraction of the price. My friend Crystal over at Surviving a Teacher’s Salary does this every trip.
- Take Advantage of Reciprocal Benefits – Many programs offer reciprocal benefits. Some examples would include Science Museums that offer admission to another museum, AAA discounts, or Homeschool discounts. Ask the places you are going if they take part in any of these and you are sure to save some money.