This Vacation Stories Money Savings Page contains several tips about Auto Gas; Hotel; Dining Out; Food, Drink & Snacks; Camping & Souvenirs to help you save on Your Vacation Expenses!
Texan’s Travel Tips, A Great Vacation Story
If we’re taking a driving vacation, I go to Walmart and put money on a gift card if I know we’ll pass by a Walmart during our travels. You usually can save about 5-10 cents/gallon. This really adds up if you’re driving a long distance.
My husband isn’t one for roughing it. And having a young child, I don’t get many opportunities to stay at hotels. To get the best deal I check different websites for hotels in the areas I’m staying. I usually end up using Priceline.com. The second best one has been Hotwire.com.
We take an ice chest to bring lunch items, drinks, snacks, & even breakfast stuff like fruit, oatmeal, bagels or cereal (unless we’re staying in a hotel that provides free breakfast). We also prepare sandwiches ahead of time and pack them in an ice chest. If you want, you could buy sandwich fixings when you get to your destination and prepare them again before you head home.
If we stay in a hotel, we always look for one that offers a free hot breakfast. The kids can tank up on food and we save the cost of eating that meal at a restaurant. We even stayed at one hotel in Texas that had special shaped waffles – that was cool! Plus there’s always fruit and yogurt that you can take with you for a snack later on.
Dining Out Saving
If eating out, have your big meal at lunchtime as lunch tends to be cheaper than dinner especially during the week. If you have kids, research which chains have “kids eat free” days. Try to plan your trip schedule so you can hit these restaurants and you’ll save a ton of money.
Tawana Albert – Spring (Houston), TX
Vacationing with the Kids
You spoke recently on In The Marketplace With Janet Parshall, about ways to
save money on food while traveling. Here’s our vacation story when we travel with our
six little children.
I divide non-perishable, snacks into individual portions, in zip-top, snack bags.
I also buy bottled water. I used to bring sippy cups or water bottles, and a water jug, but I was always pouring or running out, and some places have really bad water. I found that bottled water is clean and had a cover and each kid can have their own. It just works better.
By bringing snacks with us, I can simply hand my kids’ snacks and water, as we are driving, and we don’t have to really stop for food.
I also bring along a small cooler, with ice. I pack foods like string
cheese, or even packaged meat sticks or pre-made sandwiches. We can eat very inexpensively this way, and totally avoid restaurants.
If I have a younger child, I can even bring milk in a small container, for their sippy cup. We still eat healthily and the kids think that it is great fun!
Save Your Cans & Bottles
Another tip, for people who live in states like Michigan, is to save all of your soda cans and bottles (we get 10 cents back for every can/bottle that we return) until just before your trip. Then cash them in for money and use this money for things like gas and tolls.
Doing these things has made travel quite affordable for us.
Marleen Flood – Wayland, MI
A Vacation Story Day at the Races
My husband and I take 2 vacations each year at the local NASCAR races here in Phoenix.
We found several ways to save money. First of all, we take our camper (an old Class C we got for $2500 due to the paint job on the outside, it is perfect and works on the inside). We camp in the cheap camping area: $40 for the week versus over $100 for a few days on asphalt.
For food, we make out meal plans months in advance and start watching the sales for paper towels, plates, cups, etc. so we can stock up. We pack coolers with drinks and snacks when we go to the races as opposed to paying $3 for a bottle of water.
We buy tee-shirts and souvenirs in November (when drivers are changing sponsors so the merchandise is discounted). We buy our groceries and stock the camper ahead of time. For our nightly campfire, we use old construction wood instead of buying logs at the store. We enjoy ourselves every time and save at least $300 just by using these techniques.
Jean – Tollison, AZ