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When planning a vacation, be aware of your destinations weather and temperatures. Some folks who come to Las Vegas, NV, think just because they're coming to "the desert", that it's going to be warm.
Hi! When my family chooses a vacation destination, I go online and order an Entertainment Book for that area. We save a lot of money by using Entertainment book coupons for the best restaraunts and area attractions. It also lets us plan things we want to do in advance because its like a guide to the area! If you wait until February/March to order the book, often they are on sale.
By Marjo from Emmaus, PA
Better Vacation Planning
No one wants to spend his/her vacation doing laundry, and no one has to. Most hotels, resorts, and even cruise ships offer laundry services. While this seems like an extra expense, it's worth its cost. (One Fodor's travel writer who travels with twin toddlers offers this option as her best travel tip.) The average cost is $20 for a large laundry bag full of dirty clothes to be washed, dried, folded, ironed, and returned to the room the next day. Here's what it saves:
If you can avoid the hassle of renting a car, by all means avoid it. Car rentals are expensive and worrisome. Instead, opt for mass transit when possible. If you're staying at a resort or hotel near the attractions, pick up a bus schedule or purchase a bus/subway pass. Even cab fare isn't expensive in comparison to a car rental if you only hire a few rides during your stay. Likewise, purchase transfer tickets to/from the hotel to the airport; it's much easier to deal with once you've landed.
Remove the preconceived notion that all-inclusive resorts, cruises, and travel packages are for the rich and famous. They're quite the opposite. The initial price tag may be daunting, but consider that everything is paid for. Forget searching for a place to eat or always feeling hungry because you have to go out for food. Some all-inclusives offer free children's stays but aren't as all-inclusive as other resorts. Weigh your best option. Often third and fourth people in the room, typically your children, are much cheaper than the first two. If one resort offers free children but some meals, drinks, or services are not included in the tab, check other resorts that include these services but charge for children. Often you'll save more than the cost of your child's stay.
When booking hotels, see what services they offer. Like the all-inclusive, you'll save time and transportation expenses if your hotel offers more. Is there a restaurant on site? Eat there for your main meals. Does it offer a shuttle service? Are there discounted tickets available to local sights? Is there something to do at night? When you want to relax but your children want to go out, the hotel can save a lot of hassle by offering a pool or game room.
All of these extra amenities might mean a slightly more expensive hotel or a few extra charges on your bill, but they're worth the money.
If you are planning now for a future vacation, do a Google search for the city or area you plan to visit (example: Orlando, Florida) and get contact info for the Chamber of Commerce, Tourism Council, etc. Write or e-mail them and tell them when you plan to visit, and ask them to send you a free "visitor pack". You will receive maps, brochures, and coupons that can help you plan your trip AND save money!
If you are into traveling a lot, you probably already have someone to pickup your newspapers, mail (or have the post office to hold it), but what about anything you might have dropped off to your home by UPS or FED-EX? Some pals of ours thought they'd taken care of everything before leaving on their trip until they arrived home to find 2 boxes of quality fresh fruit (from Harry and David's Fruit of the Month Club) rotting on their porch!
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When planning your vacation, alternate some free or inexpensive attractions in your itinerary, for each day. (Example: relaxing on the beach, window shopping or visiting a National Park) amongst your other stops. Easier on your wallet, this way.
By Terri H.
And ALWAYS make sure your hotel room has a refridgerator....this will save you a ton of money.
We go to the beach every summer with friends. I have kept a list of what we use in the way of groceries. Then each year, starting a few weeks before we go, I buy as much of the non-perishables as I can afford and fit in the van. This saves having to pay more in the resort town for everyday things and you can still take advantage of the sales. We then split the total between the families that go.
When planning your vacation, go online and find out what restaurants and hotels, etc. will be where you are oing. Check for printable coupons, passes or discount codes to use before making reservations. You might also like to purchase gift cards for the restaurants at home before leaving on your trip.
Just because you're going on vacation doesn't mean you want to run up your credit card while you're gone. Might as well go as cost efficient as you can.
Always remember to ask for a hotel room with a refrigerator, you'll be glad you did. Or you'll wish you had.
We used coolers and filled w/ ice /day or night and it worked great. We were on vacation for a week in a motel w/ our 3 doxans.
When on vacation, buy or get the complimentary newspaper or flyer; it will generally have coupons or deals advertised, of anything that is "happening" in the city/town you are visiting.
If traveling by car, a cooler is a necessity, but, there is a limit to how much you can bring. I make sure I also bring along some canned goods, (salmon, tuna, ham) some cereal, and drygoods. I will purchase bread, muffins, milk, as needed, to use/stretch what I brought along. .
A good, cheap place to stay, in the summer months, is at a local University/college dorm/residence. You generally have to call ahead to reserve. The price is about 1/4 of what a hotel room might be, with the second and subsequent persons being charged a nominal fee. They sometimes still have their cafeterias open; limited menu but really reasonable.
Another good source of cafeteria food, is the local hospitals' cafeterias; they provide good, nutritious meals for reasonable prices.
Food courts in malls, often offer specials,,one of which could be a .99c-$1.99 breakfast. You could buy one to eat for breakfast, and another, to make a bacon n egg sandwich for lunch; just make sure the eggs are well done (over hard) and you refrigerate it, till lunch time.
Grocery store's salad bars, often provide a wonderful selection of salads, at a per ounce price. To complete your cold plate, you can buy a couple slices per person of nice sliced ham to go with it.
Do your research before you leave, and get as many coupons and two for one offers as you can, from wherever, the Tourism Bureau, the internet, magazines.
As a single parent of three children, and on a very, very tight budget, we travelled for two weeks, every summer, to a different location and saw many, many attractions we would not have been able to, without these moneysavers.