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
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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
When going on a vacation, always pick up coupon booklets to save on hotels and various attractions. Then you will have more fun money or emergency money while away.
By Michele Childress
If it is a day trip or longer, we always pack a "picnic" lunch. We can stop and enjoy lunch when we want to, not when we find food. It is something we will enjoy and we don't eat more than we normally would.
always order only water with meals...fast food and regular restaurants...saved us bunches with 3 kids who wanted soda pop...
Call hotels directly (don't call the 800 number) and you will usually get a better rate. Ask for specials or their lowest rate (they won't just offer the information to you).
Look for hotels that have a small fridge in the room. We recently saved a lot of money (not to mention calories) on a trip to London by stashing fruit, drinks, yogurt in the fridge and eating 'on the hoof.' Also look for a hotel that serves a continental breakfast included in the room rate.
When we recently went to Hawaii, I was concerned about the high cost of food over there. I purchased an Entertainment book online (at www.entertainment.com) for Hawaii. We found discounts for shopping, food, and activities.
Here's a link to the entertainment book:
Look for motels/hotels that offer a free breakfast or get a room with a frig and microwave....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 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!
Do not stay in a hotel. It is cheaper to rent a house or condo. The rate is much cheaper. Then add in all that you save by cooking at the condo or home in place of eating out and you save a fortune. Plus you can do laundry and not have to pack as much. Take staple food items with you, such as sugar, salt, pepper, spices, soda, etc that is bought on sale at home.
Research the place you are going for discounts on entertainment. Contact the chamber of commerce and do free event calender searches on the internet before you go.
My favorite tip is go to freecycle.org and sign up for the area you are going to visit. Ask for tickets to amusement parks, museums, plays, etc. Remember those people work there and have extra tickets they will not use. We got free tickets to Sea World, Universal Studios, and a two day pass to Disney World that way.
Prepare hotdogs. Put in thermos bottle inside of warmed chili. Individually wrap hotdog buns and chips for a quick lunch. Thermos keeps hotdogs and chili warm and ready when you are. Great for a quick picnic at a rest area.
Hotel coffee. I always check to see if it is offered. And if not, I have purchased a small 4 cup coffee maker. I was forced while on vacation at Disney to pay $2.00 A cup and that was in 2000. Never again, you can also make cup a soup and tea, cocoa etc. The coffee maker has paid for itself over and over. Plus I like my coffee while getting ready in the morning. And I don't have to go to the hotel lobby to get my first cup.
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.
Sometimes a staycation is exactly what you need to relax with out traveling far away. This is a page about the non-vacation vacation.