My husband, son and I love to take a yearly weekend trip to Door County, WI. The last time we went, we were (as usual) on a tight budget. While we had fun, we got low on money a day or so before we went home, so we didn't get to go do or see some of the things we wanted to because of a lack of money. I recently did an internet search for Door County, and found the chamber of commerce type (or "official") website. On there, I saw that they have gift certificates available that can be purchased and used at a LOT of local hotels (including the one we always stay at!), stores, restaurants, etc.
So now, when we get a few extra dollars, I plan on buying some of these gift certificates each month. That way, next time we go we won't have to worry about having a lot of cash in order to eat out, shop, or do other activities. Also, this way I can "save" for our trip little by little, which will help us budget.
I would caution you about buying certificates ahead of time unless they were to double your money, etc. There are times that business change hands and do not honor certificates (I've had that happen). A better solution might be to collect coupons from the Chamber site before you go., and during the year put those extra dollars away in a safe place and promise yourself not to touch them til vacation time. Then you will have the extra dollars to spend wherever you want too. In case you change your mind about the destination, and in case for some reason you are not able to go back to the same places. I have just found that certificates can end up worthless and you have wasted your money.
also check out http://www.restaurant.com for gift certificates in the areas you're going to be visiting. Can get some cheap ones. I know a pal that got a $25.00 for $8.00 to one of her favorite restaurants. Best of Luck!
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