With Labor Day just around the corner, perhaps you want to take one more quick trip for the summer. After all, we all know that once school gets started taking those quick weekend trips becomes difficult. However, last minute trips can get expensive but if you take a few minutes to plan, they don’t have to break the budget. When you get ready to go on your next getaway, keep the following in mind.
- Bring along snacks, or go to a local grocery to get granola bars, fresh fruit, simple breakfast items or snack food. When I was growing up, we did not get to eat sugared cereal except on vacations-my dad would always get the largest box of Pops cereal he could using mom’s coupons,then pick up a small carton of milk to keep in the cooler. It never occurred to us that going out to breakfast was necessary.
- If breakfast is included in the cost of the room, use it. Why pay for something if you won’t use it?
- Plan your meals before you leave. Also, most restaurants offer excellent meals at lunch time at a lower cost than dinner. In addition, if eating dinner out, it is not uncommon for restaurants like Pizza Hut to offer midweek specials to boost sales.
- Eat a larger breakfast and lunch but a smaller dinner. This is not only a great way to save money, but is healthier as well.
- If eating out for dinner, consider splitting a meal. Once again, it’s cheaper and healthier for you. My sister and I love Olive Garden, but hate the cost so we split an entrée and take advantage of salad that accompanies the meal.
- Choose a 2 star hotel rather than a 4 star. After all, the point of the room is to sleep and showering, it’s where you do when you leave the room that makes the trip.
- Consider a small B&B-they are more personable, and will often give you a better price and more perks than a hotel.
- Don’t overlook the prices for lodging, car rentals and airfare available at sites like Orbitz or CheapOAir.
- Consider campgrounds, or if travelling in Europe or larger US cities look for hostels. Yes, you may have to share a bathroom with others, but in return there is often a kitchen, so you can save on eating out.
- Avoid tourist trap souvenir shops. Get off the beaten path and discover some of the local faves. Go to open markets when available and don’t be afraid to haggle.
- Take advantage of student/educator discounts. Many museums, galleries and other locations give discounts to students/teachers.
- When possible use multi-day passes or city passes. These will typically pay for themselves if you use them.
- Check out travel websites like Frommers.com to find discounted or free tourist attractions.
Travelling is great way to make same fabulous family memories. And, whether it is a quick weekend trip or a weeklong vacation you can still save money. Do your homework, and then get ready to have a great time!