6 Tips for Saving Money on Vacations


With summer coming right up, for many of us vacation time is just around the corner.  And while vacations are in many ways a chance to splurge a little, you definitely can still save money on them too!

Here are 6 ways that you can cut expenses on your vacation.

The absolute first thing I’d recommend is to sign up for LivingSocial and Groupon’s daily deals as soon as you know where you are going.  Subscribe to the city of your trip’s destination, then watch for restaurant, motel and local attraction deals.  Typically you can find deals that are at least 50% off the regular price.  And if you are interested in more of a vacation package, sign up for Groupon Getaways.

While Groupon just offers deals for the United State and Canada, Living Social offers deals in 6 countries: Australia, Canada, Greece, Ireland, United Kingdom, United States.

As much as I enjoy cooking and baking, I’ll admit, for me half the fun of vacation is being able to get a break from food prep.  Still, I cringe at the cost of eating out for every meal.  And my husband, who thinks eating out is generally a waste of money, cringes even more.  So we usually do the following things:

  • Take our own snacks
    - Snacks at attractions and even gas stations are terribly overpriced.  Buy some of your favorite things ahead of time and take them along so that when the munchies hit you don’t need to shell out a lot of money.  You could even repackage them into individual snack bags if that would make it easier for you.
  • Pack some basic meals
    - We often take along things like cereal (can buy milk there), peanut butter and jelly, lunch meat & cheese, bread, wraps, fruit and yogurt.  These can easily give us a good meal when we want it.

It doesn’t take long to blow $20 on water for just two people in only a couple of days time.  We’ve found that taking our own reusable water bottles along is a huge money saver.  If there is a fridge in our room we will fill them the night before and put them in the freezer allowing us to have a nice cold drink the next day.  Then throughout the day we watch for water fountains and refill our bottles as needed.

When we went to Boston for a week last August, our water bottles were in constant use.  There were a few times that we couldn’t find a spot to refill them and had to purchase bottled water but even so we saved ourselves a lot by using them!

(If you are looking for a good BPA free option, we love our Nalgene water bottles!)

Okay, so you knew I’d have to bring this one in somewhere, right?  Seriously though, coupons (and gift cards) can be one of your best friends on vacation.  You can use them to save you money at restaurants, attractions, and motels.

Here are a couple of places to watch for them:

  • LivingSocial and Groupon
    - I already mentioned them above so I won’t go into a lot of detail here, but I do just want to reinforce the fact that you can often find great savings there.  Sometimes they even have offers for discounted gift cards.
  • Chamber of Commerce/Visitor’s Bureau
    -Typically these places are stocked with often better-than-usual coupons for local places.  It doesn’t take long to stop and just do a quick look to see what you can find.
  • Motels/Bed and Breakfasts
    - Ask them if they have any coupons for local restaurants or attractions-often they will.  And if they have a local paper, check that out too.  You just might be able to find some coupon offers in it as well.
    - Also you can get $25 off your first purchase at Airbnb.com and they have lots of great listing all over the world!
  • Gift Card Rescue
    - You can buy discounted gift cards for places like Outback, Olive Garden, and Applebees at about 10% savings.
  • Restaurant Websites
    - Subscribe to restaurant’s email savings clubs.  Simply go to the restaurants website and look for a link to sign up for their e-club, savings club or something similar.  Once you  do this you will frequently receive coupons and special offers.  Keep them all in one spot and grab them when you head out the door for your vacation, then use as you can.

Often you can get a discount if you simply ask.  And really, what do you have to lose?  The worst thing they can do is say no!

Typically overpriced and often useless, souvenirs are an easy way to blow money.  If you do really want a little something to remember your trip by stick with useful things like shirts or mugs; at least they won’t just sit around collecting dust!  Instead of purchasing souvenirs we typically just try to take a few good pictures that we can later frame or put in an album to look at later. 

How do you save money on vacation?  I’m sure some of you more seasoned travelers have more great tips to share!

Image source: Shutterstock

Add a Comment
Back To The Thrifty Frugal Mom
  1. [...] you are planning a vacation you may enjoy my post on 6 Tips for Saving Money on Vacation [...]

  2. [...] those splurges, some of the most memorable things we did were free. Poking around the tide-pools, where we discovered sea anemones, a starfish, countless crabs and [...]