Everyone is trying to save money these days and some people are nixing vacations all together as a way to save cash. But vacations are important. You need to get away from the everyday drudgery of work and school and you need to recharge your batteries and spend time with family or loved ones. But vacationing doesn’t mean you have to spend a boatload of money. There are ways to stick to a budget and practice frugality while you are enjoying yourself.
Start out by defining what you want to do on your vacation. Do you want to go to the beach, spend time abroad or visit a big city? Once you define what you want to do, narrow down your choices. If you live on the
West Coast and want to visit a big city, you may want to opt for LA. Likewise, if you are on the East Coast and you want to visit the beach, you could visit Virginia Beach, Nags Head, Hilton Head, etc. After you’ve narrowed down your choices, decide how you are going to get there. Remember that flying isn’t always the quickest option either. You have to arrive at an airport two hours ahead of your boarding time, spend that endless time going through security, and collecting any baggage you had to check. It might be less expensive and timely if you take a train or a bus to your destination. If you are flying, use mileage points whenever possible.
As far as rooms go, either book a house for the week or at least find a venue that has a kitchen or kitchenette available. Plan to hit the grocery store on your first day and stock up on coffee, milk, juice, breakfast foods and snacks. That way, you can eat at least one inexpensive meal in your room before taking off on your adventures for the day. Pack snacks in your tote bag and give each family member a water bottle before venturing out. You can refill them along the way and save money by not having to purchase expensive drinks.
If you do eat out, make lunch your biggest meal of the day. This will save you money as most restaurants offer large portions for lunch at a fraction of the dinner cost.
Read up on the place you are visiting by going online or picking up a travel book. These are often jam packed with freebie ideas or at least where to go to get your best bang for a buck. Some areas offer free movie nights outdoors so you can take the family and a picnic dinner, spread a blanket and relax under the stars. If you are going to visit a theme park, contact AAA or look online for discount tickets. You should never pay full price for big-named theme parks as there is always a way to get discounts. Just be careful buying park tickets on a site like Craigslist or eBay as they are often rife with scammers.
The Author always books SeaWorld San Diego hotel packages to save money on vacation.
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