Tips and ideas for saving money on travel.
My husband and I save our change all year and use that for our vacation travel. We love to take off in the car and just drive until
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 checked out prices on places with full kitchens when we went skiing in December. We found that we saved enough money by eating our meals in our condo to pay for the convenience of being near the ski slope. Ski in, ski out, no less! Being so near the lifts, we could even eat lunch in the room and rest for a bit before going back out to ski. We saved even more by sharing the condo with our son and his wife. We took turns preparing the food. It was like going to a restaurant for the 'resting' couple. What a great time!
My husband and I have 4 children and travel can get hairy at times. One way we have found to save a few dollars is to pack snacks and drinks inside the vehicle (not the trunk) so they are easier to get to. And we travel at night, with the kids asleep for most of the trip, stops are few and far between!
If scheduling is not a priority, we've found that if you drive all night (open roads, no tie-ups) there are many motels that will allow you to check in as early as 7 a.m.,
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. : )
Join Hostelling International (http://www.hihostels.com), it will change your "hostel" image. They have facilities for one or many, sharing or private. US or otherwise. Locations usually have discounts for local attractions that are passed on to you, hotels usually keep this kickback. Also discounts on travel.
Trish Hart from Memphis, TN
Here's a great tip for road trips or any vacations; the kids love it and it is a space saver! Wherever your vacation is, always get a postcard and write your highlights on it and date it. Take a hole puncher, punch a hole and collect them on a sturdy key ring. This is so easy, you can make your own and let the kids do theirs. What a easy way to remember trips, have fun collecting postcards, and save on storage space.
By Linda from Oceanside, CA
A pal and her hubby prefer to book their cruises at end of season. She said the cruise staff are more at ease, as they're about to have some time off, making the cruise more like a party for all on board, more so than normally. She said another reason is they can get items in the cruise ship gift shop at drastically reduced prices (thus making some wonderful quality, inexpensive Christmas gifts!)
By Terri from NV
I would like to share a vacation savings tip I have discovered. I purchase an Entertainment book at www.entertainment.com (a new one is released each year) for the area where I'm planning to vacation during the summer. These books usually go on sale for about $10 by that time of year, and they offer savings on two-for-one meals, entertainment, etc. Some coupons need to be mailed in ahead of time, but most are good on the spot.
By Bobbie G from Rockwall
Look for motels/hotels that offer a free breakfast or get a room with a fridge and microwave, a coffeemaker too, if morning coffee is important. If there is a complimentary breakfast then, by all means, take some extra items, such as fruit, yogurt, etc., with you to have as snacks later. It is not frowned upon as I have heard the breakfast attendants at these places even encourage it since you are basically paying for it and entitled to it. If no breakfast, then bring some simple items from home to have breakfast in your room, especially if you're not a big breakfast eater anyway. I have found good rates at hotels by booking online. Sometimes the online rate is quite a bit cheaper and you'll pay more if you call direct. If traveling by car, pack a lunch and snacks or at least drinks. We always fix a ice water jug.
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!
When I became ill many years ago, this was my only choice. However, there were so many great places and things to do nearby, I have had a ball. Since I live in Pasadena, I actually live where people travel from all over and spend a bundle to enjoy our Rose Parade, as well as all the other great things here.
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.
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