Here are some tips for saving money on Summer travel share by ThriftyFun readers.
You should always contact the chamber of commerse of the city you're going to visit for coupons for restuarants, resorts, hotels, etc.
If it's local, or in the U.S. you can usually buy those discount "Entertainment Books". These have saved us half price on many nice hotel rooms, restaurants & other goodies.
If you stay at a hotel over the weekend you can usually get a half-priced room because business people stay there during the weekdays and not on weekends.
Don't forget to get up early enough to eat a Hotel or Motels free breakfast buffet if they offer one as this will save you from buying breakfast and coffee. These are usually just bagels, muffins, donuts, juice, coffee nad milk, but it sure beats paying for it! These usually end at 10 or 11 AM, so be up by the crack of 9:AM. When you check in, be sure to ask if they DO have a free breakfast buffet and if so, what are the hours.
Save money on coffee by making it in your hotel room or bringing your own already made coffee in a thermos or instant coffee and creamer and a plug in water kettle. These kettles also work wonderfully to cook instant foods like Cup-of-Ramen and instant Mac and Cheese.
When traveling by car or train, bring a small cooler filled with pop and water, this will save you from buying water and pop at over a dollar a bottle! And, instead of wasting space in the cooler with ice, open half a dozen water bottles and pour the top 2 inches of water into a cup (to drink later) then put the caps back on and freeze them for your ice to cool your other beverages. Then when the water is at it's slushy & just-right consistency, enjoy that crisp refreshing super-cold drink. Ice cold water, Mmmm, Mmmm GOOD!
Instead of buying your kids little toys at each stopping place along the way. I'd always go to the dollar store and buy around 5 (good traveling) toys for each child and store them in a secret place in the car, then when they holler and beg for or a toy from a store along the way, or complain about being bored, I'd give them one of the $1 store toys. Sometimes, I'd let my then 5 year old son go with me and pick out his own $1 store toys. We'd just stop at the dollar store on the way out of town on the way to our family cabin in the woods (which was really a mobile home on 10 acres).
We found on a recent trip after checking in to our hotel that certain restaurants in the area gave discounts to the hotel guests. We found those once we were in the room and looked at the in room guide. After that, I asked at check-in, what businesses were involved with the hotel. Our breakfast the next morning (there was not a contintental at the place we stayed) was half price when we showed our room key. We were a late check in the first night and found out after we came back from dinner that we could have had a discount on our meal because we were staying at the hotel. It takes a few more minutes and when the kids are hungry, you want to move fast, but it could have saved us $25 had I checked all the stuff in the room when we checked in at the first hotel we stayed at.
Look up local state parks. When I was a kid they were boring, but now a lot of them have some really nice features. And if you're going out of town, pack a cooler and eat picnic style intead of having to go through fast food places. If you want that vacation feel but don't have the time or money to go all out, wait till your community or a near by one has some kind of festival. Then rent a room in town with a pool. Go to the little festival then come back swim, hang out, etc.
I bought a used motor home last year and we have used it even more in the 8 months we've owned it. Now with gas prices so high and my time off has been used up we find ourselves sitting in it in the driveway to watch a movie on the DVD player, having some popcorn and a cold drink or maybe dinner. My house does not have airconditioning and if it did I would not want to pay the high electric bill. The airconditioning in the motorhome cools us down in a few minutes and we can turn it off when the movie is over and we go back inside fresh from our "mini" vacation.
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