Source: My own idea from personal experience.
By Ginny from Murrells Inlet, SC
Although my daughter lives in the same town as I, I enjoy staying at her house while she is gone because she has satellite TV, a whirlpool bathtub, and an in ground pool, and I get to enjoy it all for free!
By Margaret from Carrollton, GA
we find some little town we can get a room in. Then we stay overnight and "poke" around the next day. I always pack snacks and drinks so that saves us money and when we do eat out we split meals. We have taken expensive cruises in the past and I have decided that taking a few "road" trips instead are much more fun as well as less money!
We often check in, shower and sleep 'till mid afternoon. This leaves plenty of time to check out the town we are in, have dinner, indulge in whatever local evening fun we can find, pack up everything we won't need in the morning, and leave a wake-up call for an hour before checkout. It feels like you are getting two nights for the price of one. You'll actually have about 28 hours of hotel time, and get plenty of sleep before resuming your travels. Hampton Inn usually offers a nice breakfast buffet, (complete with fresh make-it-yourself waffles) which will save two people the time and money of a breakfast stop. : )
Trish Hart from Memphis, TN
By Linda from Oceanside, CA
By Terri from NV
By Bobbie G from Rockwall
I have found out the hard way that some touristy things to do, aren't all they're cracked up to be and a big waste of money. Really think about the things you want to do and see so you aren't disappointed and wasting money!
I have learned that you can hop on the Internet and get information and mailings from Chambers of Commerce in nearly every town there is. Something cool like a Strawberry Festival or an Avocado Festival is fun, especially if you're a big fan of strawberry shortcake or guacamole, as I am.
Dog trials and shows, parades, all kinds of interesting activities you never knew existed that got along without you all these years exist in profusion.
Because these places aren't at ground-zero-Disney, the costs of rooms, food and everything else is usually a lot less. Plus, you have interesting photos for your friends, who missed the really good times that were right under their noses. Tulip festival, what a sight!
So, search for nearby cities' websites or the websites of their Chambers. Sign up for regular mailings. Colleges have lots of activities, too, like theater and one-week classes, such as Art and Senior hostels on Vancouver Island. Indiana University has a Madrigal in early winter--unforgettable. The Tiki Society had a Tiki Pub Crawl, including a bus, in SFO, no less.
Cruise lines often have people come in and "teach" in exchange for free or greatly reduced cruises. My former husband got a free cruise in exchange for teaching onboard a class in making items from stained glass. Another friend taught an aerobics class 6 times a day in exchange for free passage. and another is an RN who works on a cruise ship 3 weeks a year.
As an EMT, I often work at childrens camps; including church camp, 4H, Scouts, music camp, band camp, equine camp and on float trips. The pay varies, but some camps let my children attend for free, some pay me a straight wage, others pay me and my children attend for half off.
When I was younger I worked/volunteered at the city park department during the summer in exchange for a free family pool and park pass. The nice part was, my older elementry aged children got to go to work with me (for free using the pass) and I could keep an eye on them swimming while I worked. During the winter months, I taught one class a week at the park deparment for a month(usually a craft or sewing class). I had my choice of either getting paid cash OR a free winter pass.
I have also worked in the first aid booth and in ticket booths at state fairs in exchange for free event tickets, free parking, free on site camping, and discounted meals for the entire family. My work shifts were 4 hours each, and then I joined my family for the rest of the day.
Some family owned hotels will hire extra staff during their peak season, and as part of the pay, you get a cabin or hotel room free or at a hugely discounted price.
Another fun thing to do is to be a contractor for an RV company. Most RV's are too large to trailer to dealerships, so they hire drivers to pull them to their dealerships. My aunt and uncle used to do this and went from Indiana factories with them to dealers in FL, TX, California, Missouri. The RV company would then fly them back home. The RV company paid for all the fuel, the rental truck to pull it, and they got to stay in the RV enroute. They got to see a lot of country this way, for free!
Check it out, see what you can come up with!
By April from NW, MO
Tips to help you save money while you are on vacation. Post your ideas.