You and your family are ready to take a big vacation. You’ve got vacation time at work that needs to be used and you understand that taking a break will be good for your mental health, while providing a wonderful experience with your family.
Before you spontaneously book the flight, hotel, and jump on the plane without any preparation, know that a little bit of planning will go a long ways in saving you money. You can look at this two ways. Every bit of money you are able to save allows you to keep that much more in your savings accounts, or the savings allows you to experience that much more on your trip.
The last thing you ever want to do is to go into credit card debt in order to take a vacation. All of the great memories and relaxation will be washed away when it comes time to look at your credit card balance for months to come. Plan ahead and you’ll be fully prepared for the trip of a lifetime.
Here are a few easy steps to take in order to save money on your next vacation:
Use Points For Flight & Hotel
When it comes to paying for travel, the biggest expenses are easily the flight and hotel. Fear not, the credit card, airline, and hotel industries love to give out rewards points for being a loyal consumer. By opening up a new credit card to obtain the sign-up bonus, you and your spouse can easily obtain over a hundred thousand points to be used for travel. At a rate of $1 per thousand points, that’s over $1,000 in savings! Be sure to follow the rules of Using Credit Cards Responsibly, and you’ll be saving money on your trip before you ever leave your house.
Pack Snacks & Water Bottle
If you’ve ever stepped foot in an airport, you know that everything is instantly more expensive once you step inside those walls. Thankfully, you are able to pack snacks to get you through your trip so you don’t need to spend $12 on a meal at McDonald’s. You shouldn’t have to worry about which food items you can bring, as long as they are solid (there are regulations against types and amounts of liquids that can be brought through security). You can check TSA’s list of approved food items here.
My go-to strategy is to bring a bag of nuts, dried fruit, fresh fruit, and/or sandwich to snack on. On top of this, I bring an empty water bottle through security. After getting through security, I fill up the water bottle for free at a fountain. No need to pay $3 for a new bottle of water.
Grocery Shop At Your Destination
Just because you’re on vacation doesn’t mean you have to eat out at a restaurant every meal. Don’t get me wrong, it is great to do and a fun way to experience a new location’s offerings, but do so in moderation. By making a quick stop at a grocery store, you can stock up on snacks, fresh fruit and breakfast foods quite easily. This will help you save big time over the course of your vacation.
Skip The Rental Car
These days, with a rental car costing at least $50+ per day (plus gas and other fees), you can easily get around your vacation city on the cheap by skipping the rental car. Instead, try renting a bicycle for a day or taking Uber/Lyft to further destinations. Of course, this greatly depends on where you are visiting, what your daily trips are like, and the size of your family. But if you can forgo the rental car, try to do so. It’s one less thing (and expense) to worry about on your vacation.
Find Free Tours, Museums, and Parks
If you’re traveling to a destination city, they most likely offer various free tours and museums to visit. This is a fantastic way to explore a city on the cheap. When I visited Sydney, Australia in 2016, I took a free walking tour of the city that lasted over 2 hours! I learned so much about the history of the city from the tour guide and it was a great way to spend the morning. The only cost was a monetary tip to the guide, which was well worth it.
Do you have a vacation coming up? I’d love to hear about your plans and how you are trying to save a few dollars in the meantime. Send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.