Sweet summertime is finally here - bring on the beach, amusement parks and camping. Staying within budget and keeping costs low for vacation can be difficult. Bills quickly add up when purchasing airline tickets, fuel for the car, food and lodging.
Don’t break the bank to pay for your trip! Avoid overspending with these easy and convenient money-saving vacation tips.
If you live in the vicinity of a smaller, regional airport, check for available flights to your vacation destination. While a regional airport may not be as convenient, this option will help cut the cost of flying - especially if you’re taking the entire family.
Granny tip: Many of the low-cost airlines (ie Spirit, Allegiant) charge an additional fee to check, or sometimes even to carry on, a bag. Try to condense luggage by packing one suitcase for every two people. When you’re going to the beach, what else do you need other than bathing suits and flip flops?!
Plane Vs Road Trip
Airline tickets can be costly in general, let alone for a family of four or more. While a road trip requires extra time off from work, it could be more cost efficient in the long run. You may even want to compare pricing between using your own vehicle or renting something roomier to fit everyone comfortably with luggage and supplies. Nervous that the kids will fight during the 8 hour drive? Be sure to use or rent a vehicle with a television.
Granny tip: Don’t forget to get an E-ZPass to receive discounts on toll fares. Another bonus of the E-ZPass is you’ll get to avoid the lengthy lines at the booths.
Find The Best Rates To Catch Some Zzzs
Compare hotel prices with Airbnb, Craigslist and other online rental services to to find the best deal for lodging. While hotel reward points can be a nice perk, it seems to take forever before you earn enough points for a free night’s stay.
Home or apartment rentals can also help cut down on restaurant costs since you’ll have the ability to prepare your own meals. Don’t feel like cooking while on vacation? Grab pre-made meals at the local grocery store to avoid high restaurant prices.
Granny tip: Choice Hotel is running a summer promotion until August 18, 2016. Stay two times at one of their hotel brands (Comfort Inn, Comfort Suites, Sleep Inn, Quality, etc) and receive a $50 gift card towards merchants including Walmart, Amazon, ExxonMobil and Chili’s.
Opt for a staycation If there’s no wiggle room in the budget for a trip. Discounts for nearby amusement parks and season passes to the neighborhood pool can be found online or in the community newspaper. Why not become a tourist in your own backyard by visiting the town’s museums and landmarks? Don’t forget to search the local listings for free weekend events including festivals, concerts and movies.
‘GCG It’ - Use Discount Gift Cards To Pay For Your Vacation
Why pay full price on necessities for your trip? You can use discount gift cards on nearly everything for travel including flights, hotel stays and gas.
Before booking a flight, check Granny for airline discount gift cards to cover the cost of your ticket. Stack multiple cards together for more savings but do your research and confirm how many gift cards can be applied towards one reservation. For example, you can redeem up to four Southwest discount gift cards at a time. *Note that Southwest only permits four types of payment per transaction.
Eating out while on vacation can get expensive due to the increased cost of tourist areas. Research restaurants near to where you’re staying and grab a few discount gift cards to offset the cost of lunch or dinner.
Be mindful of gas prices if you’re heading on a road trip this summer. Use gas discount gift cards to lessen the cost of fuel. For the best price at the pump, download an app such as Gas Guru which finds the cheapest gas stations in your vicinity.
Granny tip: Don’t forget to combine discount gift cards with merchant coupons for extra savings.
Do you have any money-saving vacation tips? Share them with us in the comments below.