Summer, summer, summertime! The warmer weather and kids being out of school means it is time for a vacation! Or two or three :-). This week on the blog I will be sharing money saving travel tips as well as tips for planning the perfect road trip. I often hear people say that they cannot afford to go on vacation. Not so! Often the issue lies in not utilizing available resources for flights, accommodations, food and activities. Once you have decided on where to go and when, here are 7 ways to save money while on vacation!
Food & Drink: Book a rental with a kitchen. Sites such as AirBnb, HomeAway and VRBO offer rental options all over the world. Many travelers prefer staying at rentals based on price alone compared to hotels. In terms of saving money on food & drink, it allows you to stock the kitchen with groceries and cook your own meals. Even if you plan to cook or prepare only one meal a day at your rental, it will save you a lot of money on dining out. Having a rental with a kitchen to prepare food is particular helpful for a family vacationing with children. When dining out, do a search for recommended local restaurants vs. eating at big hotel chains. If you are traveling with older children or teenagers, look for all you can eat buffets to get more bang for your buck. In terms of alcohol, if possible, bring your own. Bottles greater than 3 ounces can be placed in checked luggage.
Tours: Use locals and local tour companies at your destination vs. booking through the hotel or resort. Get recommendations from fellow travelers or online travel chat groups for your destination. For example, if you are going on a cruise, check out the chat rooms on cruisecritic.com to plan tours with recommended local tour providers. Check Tripadvisor for recommendations from travelers as well. If you are vacationing with a group, you may find it more cost effective to book a private tour with a local guide and splitting the costs. Check Groupon, Travelzoo and Living Social websites for deals on tours, attractions and even spas at your destination. This is a great way to save money while on vacation! Be sure to stop by the visitor’s center for maps and guide books.They will often contain coupons for restaurants, shopping, activities and more. I also enjoy using the maps to do a self-guided walking tour which is free!
Transportation: If you plan on bringing your own car or renting a car, check the parking rates at your hotel or availability at your rental property. There are times I have parked in a parking lot or deck a few blocks from the hotel due to cheaper rates. Sometimes it is easier to leave your car at home and save money while on vacation by using Uber, Lyft or a taxi.
Shopping: I typically save money while on vacation by not buying a large amount of souvenirs. I narrow down my souvenirs to things that are very unique to that destination. Cigars in Cuba, rum and coffee in Jamaica, wine in South Africa. If you are a shopper, look into craft markets and shops owned by locals. The airport is probably the worst place to shop while on vacation. Some creative ideas to make your own souvenirs include printing your pictures for walled art or buying items for scrapbooking.
Supplies: Bring all commonly used over the counter and prescribed medications with you. You may not find the medication you are looking for at your destination or it may cause a fortune! I paid a bundle for sunscreen in Turks & Caicos based on what it costs in the U.S. Pack travel supplies such as electric adapters, phone chargers and a first aid kit with you. These can be very expensive outside of the U.S.
Money/Currency: Check the exchange rate for your destination. It may be more cost effective to have their local currency ahead of time or another currency with higher value than the U.S. dollar. Check for available usage of credit, debit cards and ATM machines. Based on fees, having cash may save you money while on vacation.
Phone charges: Check with your cell phone provider ahead of time for available calling and texting plans at your destination. Research wifi availability in your hotel, rental property and local area. Iphone users can share texts and do facetime in a wifi environment. You can also send and receive email. Be sure to download the “Skype”, “Whatsapp” or “Viber” apps to communicate with anyone around the world while in a wifi environment.
Dr. Nadeen White is a "Blogger by Day, Physician by Night". She is an award-winning travel blogger, Amazon bestselling author and speaker. The Sophisticated Life Blog covers affordable luxury travel, culinary travel and wine. Her domestic and international travel guides gets people to the destinations of their dreams. So, if you are living the sophisticated life or desire to do so, this is the blog for you!