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Summer Vacations On A Budget

by Ashleigh Evans  |  3756 views  |  0 comments  |      Rate this now! 

Summertime is just around the corner!  Woohoo! Next week we are heading off on our first road trip as a family and I’ve been looking for some tricks to help save money along the way.  Let’s face it, vacations are expensive.  If you’re not prepared, you can end up spending $100s more than planned!  You want to be able to relax and enjoy your trip (as much as possible with kids…), and not focus on the money spent. 

  • My biggest piece of advice is to use the web before you leave.  You can save on anything from restaurants to your hotel.  Priceline is a go-to to save on hotels and on Hotwire, you can use price alerts to help find low rates on plane tickets.  When traveling with a larger group, consider a condo instead of a hotel.  Perk: it’s probably cheaper and you’ll have a kitchen!  VRBO is a place to start (Vacation Rentals By Owner).  For all-inclusive resorts, we love booking through BookIt.  They often have quick sales and they offer extra perks such as airport transportation or excursions for free.  Plus, I find the resort reviews to be accurate!
  • For food, Restaurants.com offers lower priced gift certificates for places around the country. What I love about the site is that you can search by area and also read reviews (looking them up on Yelp helps too!).  If you’re driving, research the areas you will be traveling through and try to map out places to stop that are free: think rest stops or welcome centers.  You can pack lunches and save tons that way.  Also, when packing snacks, try to stay healthy and focus on filling protein.  We’re making these granola bars as a healthy treat. 
  • Another driving tip: check out reward cards at your local gas stations.  I do not mean the credit cards, but ones that simply offer money off or points for using them.  My favorites are the Shell Fuel Rewards and Speedway Speedy Rewards.  Also, if you’re a Costo member, try to fill up there since it’s cheaper!  There’s an awesome app called Gas Buddy where you can search for the cheapest prices in the area, perfect for travel! 
  • If you’re looking for a cruise, I highly recommend waiting to book and using the VacationsToGo 90 day Ticker.  Basically they get the last minute leftover rooms on cruises and knock off up to 80% off the price!  We went on a 7 day cruise for $300!  The only downfall is that you never know what will be available!
  • With any online shopping, always be sure to shop through Ebates to get cash back.  You can get money back by booking flights, cars and even whole vacation packages.  It’s a must!  If you’ve never used Ebates before, it’s a free website which offers online rebates (cash back) for certain websites.  The percentage of cash back depends on the day, but you do all of the shopping through the actual website you’re shopping on (ex: Hertz rental cars—you click on the site through Ebates, but all ordering is through the Hertz site).   
 If you’re on a super tight budget, consider making your hometown your final destination…or a town within an hour away.  I’m sure there are many fun things you can find that you might not have considered before!  Check out a local events calendar and book a weekend of fun…even treat yourself to a fancy meal at a restaurant you’ve been coveting.  It might even be on Restaruants.com! Another idea would be to visit a friend you haven’t seen in a while!What plans do you have for summer?

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