There are quite a few things you can do before going on vacation to ensure that you save money so you can focus on the things that matter: exploring, adventuring and relaxing!
A family of four can spend $4,580 on a vacation
1. Pick the right hotel or rental property. The biggest thing is finding a place with a small fridge, coffee/tea maker and microwave.
2. When you get into town go and buy groceries. This will allow you to wake up when you want-you’re on vacation right-and enjoy a meal in the quiet of your room before venturing out for the day. This will also prevent you from going to a restaurant and ordering a huge breakfast because you are STARVING!!!
3. I will buy local whole coffee beans and usually bring my small coffee bean grinder with me. I will then have a cup of local, delicious coffee before starting my day. If my hotel room has a balcony even better. A cup of coffee on the balcony.
4. Those groceries you bought-make sure and add in some snack foods. It is expensive to buy these things on the go or out of vending machines. Buying in bulk from a grocery store and keep them on hand. I personally like trail mixes or those veggie and fruit squeeze it packs. They are convenient for me to throw in my bag and don’t require refrigeration. Plus they are a healthy snack option. I also buy popcorn and chips and dip for the evening time. We all like a little snack every now and then.
5. Water-drink lots of water! This will make you feel better and prevent you from not feeling one hundred percent. When we travel it is common to get dehydrated which can lead to headaches, lethargy, lack luster skin and more times then not constipation! I will bring along a stainless steel cup with me to the hotel. I will usually pack my socks/tank tops inside of it so that it isn’t taking up room in my luggage. This allows me to monitor how much water I am drinking. I have a 36 ounce cup with a lid and aim to fill this up three times a day. I grab ice from the ice machine at the hotel and unless the water in the room is absolutely undrinkable I will fill it up with water from the tap.
6. Stream YouTube workout videos-for free. This prevents me from feeling like I’m not working out. It also helps with the above mentioned constipation. Perhaps the hotel doesn’t have a gym, or you are staying in a condo. However it also means I am not buying day passes at a local gym. When I was in Hawaii, I streamed a yoga video on my balcony. Yes, I had to pinch myself at how amazing it was to be in Warrior One looking out on palm trees and the ocean.
7. Give each family member a budget for the trip. Let’s say you are on a trip for five days. Give each kid $20 a day. Now what they chose to do with that money is up to them but it is theirs. If they want to use it to buy snacks at every store then so be it. However maybe they will chose to save it for a souvenir that they’d like to bring home. Why is this so great? First, it prevents them from asking you for money. Second you are teaching them money habits without them knowing. Lastly you are not constantly have to say yes or no to a purchase. I did this with my niece in Hawaii. She is 14 and I gave her $20 a day. I never once had to say don’t buy this or don’t you want to buy this? It was a huge stress reliever and she not only acted more responsible when it came to her purchases but I noticed instead of buying for herself she ended up using her money to buy gifts for her family back home.
8. Plan your trip around outdoor activities. Yes, amusement parks are fun and those are a great way to have a family vacation but I recommend finding a little time in all of that to look at some National or State Parks where you as a family can go out into nature for a few hours. Science shows that as humans when we go out into nature it has a calming effect on us. This goes for everyone. I like to plan a visit into the great outdoors at least once while on a vacation. To be honest these tend to be the days that we have the most fun. I have everyone pitch in and pack a bag of snacks and lunches then off we go. Plus most National and State Parks offer free entrance for military members and their dependents.
9. Speaking of military discounts-ask for one. There’s no shame in it and the companies that offer it are doing it as a thank you to you and your family for your service. If you are not in the military, always ask for discounts, coupons or if they are running any type of promotion.
10. Finally give everyone a part in planning the vacation so that they feel they are involved in some way. Even little ones can help with things before the trip. Maybe they create a countdown calendar that they get to mark the days off as it gets closer to go. Older kids can create an itinerary with what things you are scheduled to do each day and pass this out before the trip. Give everyone a part and enjoy a less stressful, less costly vacation.