Taking a vacation doesn’t always have to mean breaking the bank. If you make a few budget-friendly choices throughout your vacation, you can save money to do more of the things you love! If you know me, you know I’m all about getting a deal and saving money. Some people call it being cheap. I call it being money savvy. Here are a few tips to help you be money savvy while on vacation.
Take Advantage of Social Media
You’ve probably known a few months in advance where you’re taking your summer vacation. If you don’t, maybe now is a good time to plan for vacation. Planning in advance gives you the opportunity to do a little research and save some cold hard cash.
Do yourself a favor and go onto Facebook to like the local area attraction pages a few weeks prior to check in to get inside access to money saving deals. If you’re returning to a favorite destination, and you know where you like to eat, drink and entertain yourselves, you probably have already done this. Following a company’s Facebook page can offer you food specials, happy hours, live entertainment, coupons and more. I like to do research before traveling to make sure we have things to do during the day and night. Clicking ‘like’ on a page helps keep track of what’s going on before and while on vacation. I try not to use social media while on vacation, but sometimes it’s beneficial because you have access to their nightly entertainment and specials all in the palm of your hand.
It also helps to check out events in the surrounding area on Google and Groupon. Instead of scrolling through Facebook, pull up Google and Groupon and type in things to do in the city you want to visit. Groupon offers discounts for almost anything. Why pay full price when you can spend less?
Get a Place with a Kitchen
Americans spend about $30 per day on food while on vacation, and more than 80% of that is food being eaten at a restaurant. You can save a lot by preparing food yourself and eating in a couple days. Plan a few meals before traveling so you know what to buy at the grocery store. It’s ok to eat out for dinner once or twice, but you will thank me later if you give this tip a try. Think about the other activities you can enjoy with the savings from eating in. That could be an additional round of golf or a day at the water park, or just extra money in your pocket ?!
We all know eating out at home gets expensive. Being on vacation is no different. If you’re traveling with Sundance Vacations, chances are you will have a nice kitchenette or full kitchen to take advantage of for the week. This means you can save money by taking a quick trip to the grocery store to stock up on groceries. It’s still vacation, so I’m sure you want to go out to eat at some point. If you want to eat out, go for lunch. Eating out for lunch is going to be cheaper than dining out for dinner because you’ll have access to cheaper lunch menus.
Use Travel Insurance
SPF14 is an excellent tool provided by Sundance Vacations. When booking your vacation, you might think you will be traveling for sure during your selected dates, but the truth is, life happens. You don’t know what the future holds, and it might bring bad news when it comes to your travel dates. Purchasing SPF14 gives you peace of mind to have a little wiggle room when it comes to your travel dates. If you book and need to make changes or cancel your reservation, Sundance has got you covered. The SPF14 protection gives you the ability to change or cancel your reservation, as long as it’s 14 days before check in. It’s a small fee to pay for a piece of mind.
Book Flights at a Sister Airport
If you need to book airfare, chances are you’re going to be online comparing deals trying to get the best bang for your buck. You will probably find yourself checking popular international airports close by. Did you know you can find Flight Deals at less popular airports close by. You don’t necessarily need to travel to and from popular International airports and I don’t think many people know that. Some airports to check out are the Trenton-Mercer Airport in NJ, Lehigh Valley International Airport in PA and the Arnold Palmer Regional Airport in PA.
Did you know flying on Friday and Sundays are the most expensive days? Whereas the cheapest days to travel are Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday. If you let yourself be a little more flexible with your travel dates, you can save a couple bucks. I like to use Google Flights to look at my airfare in advance. I can track the prices and plan ahead. I usually look at flights and deals in incognito mode too. I was told it can help minimize cookies and give you the best rates.
I checked out multiple websites while writing this blog and I found to get the best possible rate, you should book as far ahead in advance to book international flights. The price goes up as the date gets closer. For domestic flights, it’s better to book three to six weeks in advance. Although, it seems if you book a domestic flight the week before your travel dates, you can save about $100.00 if there are seats available. I also read that if you are planning on hitting the purchase button for airfare, it’s best to shop in the afternoon rather than the morning with one exception. Airlines put their discounts out on Mondays so you will get the best possible price on Tuesday mornings as the new week starts. Weekends and Thursdays are the worst days to shop for airfare, that’s when they hike up their prices.
Do not, and I repeat, do not book your airfare first and expect your accommodations to be available, especially for a popular time of the year. I work for Sundance Vacations and can’t tell you how often someone calls in upset because they are trying to book accommodations over a holiday and their accommodations are sold out. They already booked their flights but waited to book the reservations and it wasn’t available. Please book your accommodations first, then book your airfare. The Customer Experience team is here to help with any questions you may have.
Public transportation over Uber
Believe it or not, taking public transportation is cheaper than Uber. The average bus fare is only about $2.69, where Uber averages about $18.00. If you’re carpooling, it might make the fare a little cheaper, but overall it is cheaper to take the bus than calling an Uber. You might want to drive, but if you’re taking full advantage of your vacation, you’re probably having a few drinks and it’s not cool to drink and drive. It’s cheaper and safer to take the bus than risking driving your vehicle. Park your car and leave it behind at the resort.
You might be able to hoof it to local attractions that are close to your resort. For example; Esplanade Suites in Wildwood is only about a five-minute walk to the Wildwood boardwalk. While I was on vacation, I was able to walk to breakfast and a few microbreweries too. I like to soak in the sun while on vacation, so a nice leisurely walk does the trick. It also tires out the little ones and helps when it comes to nap time. Who doesn’t like an easy nap time?
Skip the Souvenirs
I’m guilty of souvenir shopping while on vacation. I try to bring something back for my mom, sister and a few other people. I used to buy keychains, only to find they actually won’t put a keychain on their keys for somewhere they haven’t been themselves. Those little chachkies end up costing more money and they aren’t even being used. You can simply skip buying souvenirs for everyone you know and keep the list small. My go to purchase is saltwater taffy when I go on a beach vacation. It’s something everyone loves and its always on sale on the Wildwood boardwalk!
Split the Costs
Travel with another family and share the cost of a two-bedroom condominium with Sundance Vacations. Traveling with another family has many money saving benefits. You can plan meal and snack ideas ahead of time and share the cost of food during the week. When we go on vacation with another family, we take turns cooking breakfast, lunch and dinners. It really helps save time and money while away and you don’t have to do all the cooking yourself. It’s nice to have someone else cook a meal for you.
Name Your Own Price Tours
If you’re traveling through a big city while on vacation, take time to take a walking tour! A coworker of mine told me about this gem. If you’re trying to save money on vacation, nothing is better than free.. Well, it’s not exactly free per say, but you pay what you think the tour is worth or simply provide a tip to the guide. It’s way cheaper than paying full price for a tour, and these tour guides really put their all in each and every tour. You can visit Freetoursbyfoot.com for tickets and details.
You might be tempted to cram as many activities into your vacation as possible. Museums, tours, water parks, golf. It all starts to add up and takes time from your day. You might even end up feeling like you need a vacation after coming home from the one you’re on. Challenge yourself this year to actually take time to do what you’re there to do. Relax, recharge and simply do nothing. Take a day to go with the flow and don’t let time be on your mind and don’t plan anything to do that day. Sleep in a little longer, take a longer shower than usual and relax on the beach..you get the idea.
Take this day to do one or two bucket list activities that are closer to your home away from home if you must. Then take the rest of the day off and just enjoy yourself. I know it sounds crazy to some, but trust me, you will enjoy yourself and you will wake up feeling refreshed the next day. We get so caught up with the hustle and bustle of everyday life that we sometimes forget how to relax and do nothing.
There you have it, a few great ways to save money while on vacation. If you follow these few tips, I bet you will be able to save money and enjoy more fun things to do while traveling.
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