If you could use some tips for your vacation that will save you money, read on! You might also want to check out my Vacation Prep Tips that I passed on last year.
FRUGAL VACATION TIPS
1. Take advantage of club memberships and insurance company benefits/services. We belong to AAA and they have so many fabulous services and benefits besides their wonderful roadside assistance. Your AAA card can get you discounts at many, many restaurants, theme parks and hotels around the country and the world. You can also get Trip Tiks (a map of your trip) and books with information on local hotels, restaurants and attractions. Call your local office for details. Since we drive outside of the US, we also call our insurance company and they send us (free of charge) an international insurance card good for the duration of our trip. Contact your company for information on that and any other services they provide.
2. Pack meals for the trip. If you are driving, you will save time and money by not stopping at a fast food place to eat. This is also a great way to use up what food is left in your fridge before you go.
3. Get your car serviced before you leave. Get those cars up on car lifts for full tune-ups, oil changes, tire rotations, fluid top-offs and alignments one to two weeks before your vacation. We also like to wash our car and treat the windows with a product like Rain-X. You'll be aware of any problems before you leave and will be able to have anything major taken care of.
4. Copy your passport and other travel documents. Keep these copies in a separate place from the originals. If anyone loses their documents, you have all the information you'll need.
5. Do your homework. Check out what the food and gas prices are in the area you'll be staying. You will be able to buy things ahead and take them rather than pay twice as much at your destination or you can take more money with you if need be. You don't want to charge anything extra on your credit card if you don't have to.
6. Buy early! Add one item to each grocery trip and you will hardly notice the difference. Make sure you hide the items once you get home or they will disappear before the vacation gets here. :o)
7. Split the list. Vacationing with friends or family? Get together, make a list of everything you can- or are willing to- share. Split the list and you will avoid bringing doubles and save money at the same time.
8. Shop thrift stores for souvenirs. Buy a t-shirt or sweat shirt at the local Goodwill and save a bundle over the souvenir shop price! Summer is also a good time to hit the garage sales wherever you are. I'd prefer to buy something I can use from a garage sale than something that will collect dust from a souvenir shop.
9. Take what's in your fridge and freeze the rest. Throw your eggs, milk and veggies that are in your fridge into your cooler. You won't have to stop at the store when you arrive at your destination and you won't waste the food at home. Bread and buns can be frozen until you get home. I also like to have whomever is house-sitting for us pick up some milk and other essentials right before we return home. It is nice to walk in and not have to go out shopping right away.
10. Plan for flying WAY ahead. Be sure to know all of the rules and requirements of your particular airline. Find out what you can take and what you can't so you can plan to buy what you need when you arrive. This will save you a massive headache and stress if you can be prepared.
11. Use your credit card. A bit contrary to the advice I gave in tip #4, and I'll tell you why. IF you are travelling outside of the US, you may get a better exchange rate by using your credit card. Do not use the card for cash advances unless it is an absolute emergency, but do use it for things like gas and hotels. Be sure to pay off the balance right away!
12. Check out your destination. The web makes it so easy to research your vacation destination, so why not do it? Look for local zoos, outlet stores, museums and parks. find out their hours and admission charges. You'll be pleasantly surprised at the unique places you'll find and you can plan your itinerary much more efficiently and frugally!