Frugal Can Be Fun
Just because you are being frugal does not mean that you can not have fun. The key to saving money while not limiting your fun is to be smart about things. Realize that there are a lot of unnecessary \ expenses on a vacation, things that are costly but add little to your enjoyment. Take a look at some areas where you can save and save big.
1) Skipping The Gift Shop
Cheaply made trinkets at premium prices. It is amazing at just how much money you can waste at a gift shop. Simply placing a destination’s name on an object can triple its worth.
Think about all of the things you have purchased at a gift shop and then think about where they are now. Probably in a drawer or in the trash can. This also goes for gifts. How many gift shop items have you received from people who took a vacation and where are they now?
Skip the gift shop entirely and save a fortune. Trust me, the feeling of missing out will fade very quickly and it will be replaced by relief at the money saved.
If you have kids and absolutely must have gift shop items, buy them in advance. Buy t-shirts, toys and bubble makers online ahead of your vacation and pack them in. Then, when your kids request them you will be ready and you will have paid about a third of what the items would have sold for on site.
2) Cooking Your Own Meals
If you are dining out at every meal, you are wasting a lot of money. A nice dinner out is part of a good vacation but breakfast and lunch is far less satisfying.
Cook your own breakfast and lunch and save big by getting a room with a kitchen. This is easily accomplished by reserving accommodations at an Airbnb. These will have full kitchens and all of the amenities of home because, they are someone’s home.
So, as soon as you get to your destination, pick up an order of groceries from the local Walmart. You can even place an order ahead of time so that they are ready for you when you arrive. One short trip to the grocery store can save you an easy 500 dollars or more on vacation food expenses.
3) Driving To Your Destination
Flying as a single person is not too bad, but once you have a family, it gets significantly more expensive. It can easily cost 3000 dollars or more for a family of five to travel 1000 miles. That is a huge burden on a vacation budget.
That same family can drive that 1000 miles for around 200 dollars in fuel. Can’t stand to drive 1000 miles all at once, break up the trip and stay at a hotel at the halfway point. Even with the added 200 to 400 dollars in hotel rooms, you come out way ahead financially. Plus, you get to add a few extra destinations to your journey.
4) Feeding The Kids Before Dinner
How many times have you gone to a restaurant and ordered a pricey kids meal only to see your children not eat a bite? Probably quite a bit. Kids, especially young ones, are too easily distracted by the atmosphere and often do not like the choices available at the restaurant.
Instead of blowing this money, run them through the drive through before you go out to dinner. You can get them food they will eat and they will be in a confined space where they can concentrate on eating. Then, when you get to the restaurant, simply order them a dessert or scoop of ice cream.
Feeding your young kids before going to a restaurant is a win for everyone. You save hundreds of dollars over the course of your vacation and get happy, full children who are less likely to cause a scene.
5) Take Advantage Of Free Activities
Pretty much every tourist destination will have a slew of free or nearly free activities. Things like museums, parks, historical monuments, etc. Before you leave for your vacation make a list of activities that you might want to do. Plan more than you will be able to fit in. That way you will have plenty of choices if something is closed or if you decide to skip an attraction.
In addition to planning cheap activities at your destination, you can also choose destinations with cheap activities. That beach vacation, for example, might seem expensive until you consider that the beach will be free every day. You can save a lot of money on activities because the destination would be the activity.