Thursday, January 16, 2014

10 Frugal Vacation & Travel Tips!

My husband, our two children and I look forward to our family vacation every summer, and over the past several years have become quite good at planning and creating memories on a frugal budget.  It's only January, but we are already planning and budgeting for our 2014 summer vacation!  

Here are ten of my favorite frugal vacation tips on how to save money while on family vacation:

  • Plan Early!  Planning early is probably the biggest money saving tip that I can share!  If you plan your vacation in advance, often times the prices are lower and the deals are better.  This year we reserved and paid for our Oregon beach house rental in January and got winter rates.  Even though we won't vacation until August.
  • Kids Eat Free!  Look for family friendly restaurants where kids eat free.  Even if that opportunity is only available one day a week, you can save money.  So many restaurants offer that deal and it can really pay off.
  • Eat Dinner Early!  Many restaurants offer a lunch menu price on their meals if you eat before 4pm.  Plan to eat an early dinner and save!  The portions are still the same but the price is often $2 - $5 cheaper per meal.
  • Travel Off Season!  Prices are always more expensive during holidays (Spring Break especially) and the summer months.  By traveling during the "off season" you can save a bundle, often 50% or more.  Your family will have a blast no matter what time of the year you travel.
  • Pack a Cooler!  Whenever we travel, we take a cooler full of drinks and snacks with us.  It's so much cheaper to buy drinks in advance rather than purchasing them when you stop at gas stations and convenience stores along your trip.  Buy a case of water or juice boxes and take them along.  A bag of ice every couple of days will keep them cold and save you a bundle!
  • Free Continental Breakfast!  If you're going to be staying in a hotel, find one that offers free breakfast.  This could save you $20 or more each day.  Hotels often offer cereal, fresh fruit, waffles, oatmeal, muffins and so much more.                                           
  • Be Flexible!  Especially if you are traveling by air.  Often times simply by changing your travel dates by as little as a day or two, you can save a bundle.  Just last summer my sister saved over $300 on airfare just by changing her flight dates by two days.  That's a huge savings and a great way to help ease the financial costs of traveling.
  • Hotel Stay Rewards!  Many hotel chains offer a rewards program.  You can earn points each time you stay and in return you can use those points for free stays, gifts cards and more.   Four years ago we had enough points through our hotel rewards card to stay 8 free nights on the Oregon coast. 
  • Coupons!  You can use coupons no matter where your travels take you.  You can find them in advance online, in restaurants and in hotel lobbies.  
  • Online Earning Sites!  I'm a member of several online earning websites and use them to their full advantage.  When we are planning a vacation, I redeem my points for gas and restaurant gift cards than we can use on our trip!   Be sure to redeem your points with enough time for your gift cards to arrive!  Filling up the gas tank and the tummy for free will make your trip even more enjoyable (and frugal)!

Taking a family vacation is suppose to be fun and memorable.  By planning in advance, sticking to a budget and being prepared, you can have a fun and frugal vacation that the entire family will enjoy!  

I hope these frugal tips help you save money on your next vacation! 

 What frugal travel tips can you share?


J Rodney said...

These are great tips! I am so with you on all of the, we've been planning a trip to Disney for years now.

BTW I just bough a new camera on Amazon for my online earnings- it's amazing what doors earning money online can open.

Melissa said...

These are really wonderful tips to save money on your next family vacation. Honestly, I think these tips can be used to save money on any getaway! I have an upcoming trip to a new hampshire spa resort and I wish I would have read this beforehand!

lil_lady_dz said...

I have quite of few hotel rewards programs that I am signed up for as well as airlines, it's a huge savings option for sure. Great tip!

Rose-Marie said...

Be prepared for weather that may not be typical, for instance, bring a light jacket or up north, even a down vest. Bring good protection from the sun, from hats and lotion to good coverups, also for your feet. I've seen ppl on crutches all white except for beet red feet - they didn't think about getting sunburned feet even though they covered up everywhere else!