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If the economy has brought your vacation plans to a screeching halt, there are some fun alternatives in your future. The alternative vacation plans might be even more enjoyable than a real trip, especially knowing that they're not costing you a fortune.
There are hundreds of ways to cut costs while traveling. Save a dollar here and there and pretty soon you've saved enough for a second vacation! If only you had the time, right?
You can have an inexpensive getaway weekend or mini vacation just by trading spaces with a friend or family member. For example, my brother lives in the city and I live in the country about 45 miles away. If he is going out of town, he lets me know and then I can go spend the weekend in his apartment and experience city life. It is so much fun just to sleep in his bed; sit on his back deck with a cup coffee, etc.
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
I live in Carrollton, Ga Awesome ~ also small world
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.
If you are looking for the lowest air fare available, try Travelocity. My husband and I just traveled from San Diego, California to Columbus, Ohio for $99 each. one way!!!
When traveling, take all of your older underwear. As you wear them, throw them away, thus allowing for room in your suitcase for the souvenirs.
Many camp grounds/state parks/national parks will have camp ground "hosts". The "hosts" work a set amount of hours a day, anywhere from 4-8 at the gate booth in exchange for free camping.
If you are renting a car while on vacation, you will almost always be asked by the rental agency if you wish to rent a navigation unit, or a GPS. While it is tempting to take that offer, that will often cost about 5 or 6 dollars a day, which is pricey.
If you use the same travel agent every time, they could alert you to discounts and specials. Let them know you'd be appreciative to receive them.
Join Hostelling International, it will change your "hostel" image. They have facilities for one or many, sharing or private. US or otherwise.
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Tips to help you save money while you are on vacation. Post your ideas.
Calling the hotel direct saves money. I just saved $208.00 on our hotel room that I was booking and that was less than hotel/expedia/travelocity. Etc. And also they included 3 breakfast in the deal, for a 5 day stay.
I always take a cooler, freeze bottle water and use in place of ice on the way. And is still drinkable when thawed. I also buy larger boxes or bags of snack and portion them out in inexpensive zip-lock bags . So when you want a snack, just grab a bag and its ready to go, and if you throw together sandwiches, you have a whole meal. A bag of apples also travels well, but prewash before you leave. You can stop at a rest stop and have a meal or if there are none the truck drivers don't mind if you pull in a truck stop and eat after all they eat in their trucks all the time.
I always pack a medicine bag. Tylenol, ibufrophen, benedryl, gas relief, tums etc. What every you might need while at home. You can buy one of those large 99 cent weekly pill dispensers and place the items in it, just mark the lid with marker, with the medication. And I have also found old contact cases, you know the left and right cases, can be converted into medicine holders for tylenol or ibuprophen and drop nicely in your pocket or purse while traveling. Have had to look for a drug store etc, when on vacation one time and paid way more, because they know you need to buy them.
I make banana, zuchinni, & pumpkin breads and freeze them when traveling by car on vacation. Wrap in foil and place in zip lock. You can eat for breakfast, or snack and is filling. You can make them in muffin form, but have found the loaves travel better and don't thaw out as fast. And if you drink pop when you get to you destination find a local grocery store and buy a couple cases. You save money over machines and resort cost, a large bottle of water at a well know theme park was 6.00.In the room, read the price list they provide before you drink or eat anything from the frig, in resorts.