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2021 is set to be a big year for travel. Once restrictions start to lift and vaccines become more prevalent and normal, families will be ready to hit the road. After a year of not following our dreams, however, we will still look to how we can save money on vacation.
The following are tips and tricks I’ve gained throughout the years on how to save money on our family vacation.
There are hundreds of advice sites out there that will tell you to book your flights at midnight on a Tuesday. I don’t know that works anymore.
My go-to tip is to set a price alert.
Many of the conglomeration sites use price alerts so you can track when prices go down.
For instance, I use Kayak to search for flights. It checks multiple airlines. I can also look at days that are green for the best pricing. I read the advice that says to buy now, prices are unlikely to decrease within 7 days. And I can check a box to send me alerts when things change.
I also use Kayak for Explore. If you want to travel, but not sure where Explore will give you ideas of places to fly from your home city and the average cost.
Google flights are another good option for price alerts and cheap flights from your home city.
Attractions probably take up the biggest part of your travel budget and can sometimes be tricky to save money. I found a lot of options and listed them out in this post here, How to Easily Save Money on Attractions.
Don’t forget to also look at Free Museum days, and free National Park Days too.
In short, to save money on vacation hotels, stay outside the city for lower room rates, or stay inside the city for lower transportation costs.
Other tips include booking direct, hotel reward programs, using the hotel credit card.
You can check the details of all the ways to save money on hotels here.
These days home rentals are not necessarily cheaper than a hotel. many areas have cracked down on hosts to pay taxes, combine that with the booking and cleaning fees and that $59 a night room is no longer a better deal. However, it depends on what you want out of it.
You can see the difference between VRBO and Airbnb by reading more here.
One of the easiest ways to go over your budget is on food. It can be hard to predict just how much it’s going to cost you to eat when you’re traveling. Budget too little and do you end the trip not eating the food you want?
If you want to save money on vacation, and you decide where to spend and where to splurge, food could be one of those splurges.
However, there are some easy ways to save money on food if you want to maximize your budget.
Some of my best tips include:
- Bringing your own food, and cooking meals as often as possible.
- Bring a reusable water bottle. This one is my favorite for cleaning and purifying the water too.
- If you need snacks in the hotel, step away from the hotel lobby and pop into a drug store or convenience store. There’s likely one within walking distance of your hotel.
- Eat a big lunch out and have snacks for dinner. Lunch menus are usually cheaper.
For my extensive list on saving money on food, visit here.
If you are flying in and won’t have use of a car, you can save money by using public transportation.
Riding the bus, subway, or train, is a small fraction of the cost of even ride-sharing. For example, the 7-day unlimited ride Metro Card in New York will cost $33, versus a one-way fare averaging $17.
Walking should always be an option when you’re in the bigger cities too. It’s free, and you’ll see sights you may miss when you’re taking a car or train.
If you have older kids, look into doing a bike share or bike rental. Many cities now offer bikes and scooters to Bike Share or Bike Rentals. In fact, companies such as Lime now show up in Google Maps.
Finding events and things to do may be one of the easiest ways to save money on vacation.
Community calendars often list free events such as free concerts in the park, free outdoor movies, art festivals, and more. Others may be a nominal fee.
Check your desired locations visitors bureau events page to learn more.
Not just for airplanes, the more you pack in your car, the worse your fuel mileage.
When you pack light, you’ll save on airline fees for luggage. Plus, you’ll save your back lugging clothing around.
Pack light doesn’t mean wearing stinky clothes over and over. You can also pack items such as laundry sheets to freshen up clothes in the hotel sink as needed. The beauty of laundry sheets is that they are not liquid and don’t count towards the airline rules of liquid restrictions.
An all inclusive vacation package is a one and done solution.
Ideally, you pay one price and your room, food, and activities are covered. Sometimes you can even find these deals that include your flights.
All-inclusives aren’t limited to the Caribbean or Mexico either. You can find all-inclusives at dude ranches, family vacation lodges, the Florida Keys, to name a few.
Bundle and Save
Another option to save money on vacation is to choose the Bundle & Save on sites such as Priceline.
Bundle and save programs allow you to save money when booking any combination of hotel, flight, or car rental. You don’t necessarily need to do all three, but it’s worth looking at each separately and bundled.
Save Money on Vacation
How do you choose to save money on vacation? Do you have other suggestions? Leave a tip in the comments below.