Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Simple Savings: Spend Less on Travel

I love to travel, but this is an area where the cost can really add up fast.  Here are some ideas to consider before you embark on your next trip:

1.  Set a budget and stick to it.  Figure out what you can afford and adjust your trip as needed to stay in your budget. 

2.  Take food with you.  One of the other Spendwise Moms went to Disney World and only spent $30 for the whole week for their food.  Many hotels have breakfast included.  Make that your big meal of the day.  We find that if we eat a big breakfast, we only need one other meal that day and maybe a piece of fruit or a granola bar at night if we are still hungry.  Some hotels even offer a free dinner.  Check out the options and figure out what you can do to stay in your food budget.  You can make bread or pizza ahead of time and freeze it and bring it along in a cooler.  I have read about some people taking crock pots to the hotel and cooking dinner in them.  I remember my son heating up water in a coffee pot and making instant mashed potatoes in the hotel room since we didn't have a fridge or microwave at the time.  It is nice eat sit down and eat a nice restaurant meal, but they can be expensive.  Remember that you eat to live not live to eat.  This is an area where you can have substantial savings by finding less expensive ways to feed your family.

3.  Check out hotel rates in the area.  See if any will match the price of another.  Call the hotel directly, not the 800 number.  Sometimes there are in house specials at hotels that the people on the phone are unaware of.  Don't get discouraged.  If there is a place you want to stay and it is to expensive, try calling at different times of the day to talk to different people.  Maybe one won't work with you, but another one might.  Is it more important to stay longer or to stay in a nicer hotel?  Figure out what you really want and work it out in the budget you have. 

4.  Check out whether there are free days for museums, etc.  If you have a large family, you can save a lot of money.  We have a local museum pass that also lets you get in free to other museums in the country who are part of their group.  Use the internet to find free or inexpensive activities.  Plan your trip ahead of time knowing what you can afford and how much time you have. 

If you are broke and can't afford any of these, try camping in your back yard or having a staycation where you stay at home and go to places within driving distance.  

Traveling is a lot of fun.  There are ways to be able to go places for less.  If you are willing to spend a little bit of time looking in to it, you may be able to save a lot of money.

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