Here are a few tips when planning your family vacation to help keep that budget in check:
- Pack your own snacks. If you stop to get a snack each time you fill up the tank or every time you stop for a bathroom break, you can spend a lot of money before you even make it to your destination. For a family of four, 4 soft drinks, 4 snacks would average around $9-$10. We have been getting great deals on candy, bottled water, and soft drinks for several weeks now. By packing your own snacks, you can easily cut that down to $3-$4 for those same items.
- Use all the samples you get throughout the year to pack for your toiletry bag. I know I am always getting a free sample of shampoo or deodorant. Take advantage of these freebies and save the money you would spend in the travel section of your local store.
- It pays to do your research before you make any reservations. Check online prices as well as calling to check prices on your hotel, car, etc reservations. I actually saved $70 by doing this last week! The prices were different when I called vs. online. Had I not know that, and brought it to their attention, I would have been charged over $70 more.
- If your travel dates are flexible, travel through the week. Avoid peek price days of Friday and Saturday. Plan to check in on Sunday and leave on Friday. The rates are normally lower on those days.
- Check the travel sites like, Expedia, Orbitz, Southwestvacations.com, etc for package pricing. Still, it is important to remember to price your vacation on your own to ensure that you are truly getting a good deal.
- Take advantage of discounts you may have through AAA, AARP, Insurance Companies, Credit Cards, etc. It never hurts to ask if a merchant gives any discounts.
- Pick up coupon books at Welcome Centers and Hotel Lobbies. You would be amazed at the savings you will find and sometimes FREEBIES. I picked up a coupon out of a coupon book on a Southwest Airplane last year and scored myself 2 FREE Price Is Right Shirts!! :) Sometimes, though, these coupons aren't all they seem. Make sure to read the fine print as to the extra fees that may apply if you use these.
- Consider a "Stay-cation". We live in a great area for just this. There are tons of things to do close to home that most of us have never taken the time to do.
- Visit http://www.aaa.com/ for tips on saving money on gas by maintaining your car. Also, remember to use your loyalty cards for discounts and perks each time you pull up to the pump.
If you missed The Frugal Friends' Segment on WBKO's MidDay Live today where we discussed the topic of Saving Money on Summer Vacations, head over here to check it out!
Do you have any money saving travel trips? Please leave a comment with your ideas.