1) Buy Less Stuff
If you want to save money, buy less stuff. It is a simple concept but one that is hard to argue with. On your last vacation, how much extra property did you come home with? Chances are, it was quite a bit. Shot glasses, t-shirts and other collectibles are hard to resist while on vacation, but they are mostly useless. You might think that you want a reminder of your vacation, but these things usually end up stuffed into a box in the closet. Save your souvenir money and concentrate on taking free pictures to remember your trip instead. You will use them more, guaranteed.
2) Travel Off Season
Most destinations are much cheaper to travel to during the off season. This includes nearly every major city and tourist mecca. Find out when those off times are and book your trips accordingly. You will save money, and as an added bonus, there will be reduced crowds. For many of the big destinations like New York or Disney, putting this strategy in place can save you thousands of dollars.
3) Fly Off Peak Times
Airfare prices are a matter of supply and demand. People want to travel during prime time and flights outside of this range are usually heavily discounted. Cut your airfare in half by traveling odd hours. You might not like getting up at 1 in the morning, but when you and your family save 1400 dollars on flights, it will be well worth it. Pocket this money or put it towards having a better time on your trip.
4) Visit Free Attractions
Not everything on your trip has to cost money. There are plenty of free attractions if you just look around. Want to take in some architecture and history, take a tour of old churches. Want to get in some local nature, visit some parks. The great thing about looking for free attractions is that you really take in the local culture and can get to know a city like most tourists never do.
5) Rent Your Home
What are you doing with your home while you are away? If you live in a desirable city, consider renting it out to offset some of the costs of your vacation. At just 150 dollars a day, this could mean an extra 750 dollars in your pocket with the average 5 day trip. Take in extra money and have someone in your home to watch it.
6) Cook Some Meals
Just because you are away from home, does not mean that you can not prepare some of your own meals. Once you arrive at your destination, take a quick trip to the grocery store or even a farmers market and buy some of the staples of normal life. Every meal that you make on your own is savings in your pocket. By doing some of your own cooking, you also will avoid a lot of excess calories and you may even save a little time that you can devote to sight seeing.
7) Skip The Rental Car
Rental cars have become increasingly expensive over the last few years and there is no sign of this trend reversing. Avoid a rental car and you could avoid a nearly 100 dollar a day expense on your travel budget. The key to living without a rental car is to choose a destination where walking is possible or there is ample public transportation. This might involve spending a few more dollars on a prime location hotel room, but the savings may just make it worthwhile. Wouldn’t you rather save money while upgrading to a nicer hotel? If you do need to get somewhere, there is always Uber.
8) Enjoy Your Hotel More
Do you consider your hotel just a place to lay your head at the end of the day? You may need to rethink this because your hotel could be a major source of entertainment. Your hotel likely has free breakfast, complimentary happy hours and a resort style pool. Most people fail to take advantage of these amenities, but if you and your family do, the savings can really add up. This strategy really pays off on high activity vacations like Disney where a day spent relaxing really hits the spot.
9) Enjoy Your Lunch
Dining out is one of the most enjoyable parts of a good vacation, but who is to say that dinner has to be the key feature. Instead of focusing on dinner as your main meal, consider lunch. Lunch meal prices are often much cheaper and table availability will be easier to come by. Switch your dinner meal to quick service or fast casual and pocket the savings. You get to keep more money in your pocket and you will probably save considerable time, not having to wait for your reservation.