By Tara at Deal Seeking Mom
The school year is winding down, and many of us are looking for some ways to work a real vacation into our tight budgets. A relaxing vacation need not break the bank – here are just a few tips to help you trim some of the costs.
- Save those grocery store and gas station fuel perks to fill your gas tank for your trip. Sure you could use them year round, but saving them for vacation can earn you more savings when you need it with a discount on the higher summer gas prices.
- Use a price comparison search engine like Kayak.com that searches not only airline websites but other search engines like Orbitz and CheapTickets as well.
- Consider sharing the costs of a hotel or condo with another family. We’ve vacationed with our neighbors for the past couple of years, and it’s worked out very well.
- Simply ask for a discount. We’re vacationing in an oceanfront beach house in Outer Banks this year, a luxury we could not have afforded had we not asked the rental agency outright for a discount. One short phone call netted us a 15% discount on the week during peak season!
- Pack food from your stockpile or shop when you get to your destination for some simple breakfasts, lunches, and snacks. We typically only eat out once a day, and go the bargain route with cereal for breakfast and PB&Js for lunch so we can splurge on a nice meal at the end of the day and still come out ahead.
- Buy cases of bottled water so you can avoid the inflated costs of hotels and vendors.
- Look for local kids eat free options or check out your hotel restaurant for specials for guests. We were pleasantly surprised to find out that the hotel we stayed in last year offered free dining for kids.
- There’s no need to go all out every day. Simple activities such as walking on the beach and looking for shells can be just as much fun as an amusement park. And you have the added benefit of turning it into a learning experience by talking about the shells and sea creatures that you find.
- If there’s a site you have your heart set on, do some quick research online and also call to see if there are any special offers available.
- Take advantage of the many coupon booklets you’ll find in the hotel lobby. I was thrilled to find $10 off coupons for Ridemakerz in one of these booklets last year when we were looking for a fun rainy day activity.
Of course there are many more ways to save a buck on vacation – or this year you might even consider a “staycation“! So what are your best tips for stretching your vacation budget?