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Five Ways to Save Money on Summer Vacation

| April 27, 2017

Spring break has come and gone.  If you were to say that you aren’t looking forward to summer break, you’d probably be telling a little white lie.  Am I right?  If I was a betting woman, I’d venture to say that most teachers and parents have even begun the “countdown”. 

Many families enjoy taking summer vacations while their children are out of school.  But you know what?  Tourist towns, water parks and hotels also know that you like to travel during that time of year.  And they are in business to make money.  So what do they do?  Jack their prices up, sometimes to the point of things becoming unaffordable. 

Here are a few tips to save money while on summer vacation:

1). Rent a condo or hotel room with a kitchen.  This will allow your family to eat meals at your “home away from home”.  Try eating cereal for breakfast and then slapping together a quick sandwich for lunch.  If you have a couple of kids, this will save a ton of money in the long run.  The money you save by eating in for the first two meals of the day can be spent on a nice dinner out on the town.  Don’t know where to find good deals on condos?  Try HomeAway, Airbnb or VRBO.  Want to stay in a hotel?  Priceline, Expedia and Kayak always offer pretty good deals. 

2). Fill up on gas before you leave town.  I realize this seems pretty obvious, but when you are trying to get out of town in the wee hours of the morn, it’s easy to forget the “obvious” things.  There are a couple of reasons why this one is a good idea.  For one, you won’t have to stop to fill up the car.  We all know that when you are headed to your destination, you want to get there as fast as possible.  And the money saving factor?  Well, a lot of the time, gas stations that are on the way to popular vacation destinations will have higher gas prices than your local gas stations.  I’d much rather get that task done before we leave town and save money at the same time.

3). Pack snacks and drinks to munch on while traveling.  Remember those gas stations that I just mentioned that may or may not have higher gas prices?  I can assure of one thing, they know that your kids will run in and want the first thing they see.  Because they will of course be starving!  And you know what?  Foods found at gas stations are normally full of sugar (which is no good on a road trip, am I right?) and are much more expensive than what they would have cost at the grocery store.  Have more than one kid?  I saw a genius idea from a mom of three the other day on Instagram.  She packed them all a bunch of snacks in large Tupperware containers.  Each kid got the same snacks and the same amounts of said snacks.  That way there was no fussing and fighting.  At least not about food!

4). Take the items you’ll need instead of buying them at your destination.  Have you ever graced one of those shops near the beach that sell floaties, nets for scooping sea shells and snorkeling gear?  If you have, you know where I’m going with this.  Those items are probably double the price in those types of shops versus what they’d be at a store back home.  And by bringing your gear along, you won’t have to waste precious time finding what you need, waiting in line and fighting traffic.

5). Look for coupons and/or discount codes on activities that your family enjoys.  Most water parks, movie theaters, arcades, etc. have coupons or discount codes available on their websites.  Also check to see if they offer discounts on certain days of the week or times of the day.  Another thing to keep in mind is that most of the time, younger kids get in for a much cheaper fee (and sometimes it’s even free).  Can I get an amen on FREE?  By coupling a coupon together with a day of the week that has discounted prices, you’ll end up saving a ton!

What are some ways that you save money while vacationing?  Do you cut corners in some areas to allow splurging in others?  Feel free to share your ideas on our FB page in the comments section!