Maximize Your Vacation Budget

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Plan Your Meals
With many hotels and condos offering microwaves, mini-fridges or kitchens, you could save quite a bit of money on meals by only eating out once per day and preparing the remaining meals in your room. If your hotel offers free breakfast, be sure to take advantage of that. If dining out once daily, lunch is often the best time to splurge - portions may be slightly smaller or you may have fewer items from which to choose, but keeping your budget in check while getting to eat out may be worth the small differences. Also, don’t forget to look for “early bird” dinner specials!

Seek out Free Entertainment and Attractions
Many museums offer reduced priced admissions on some days while others may be free - same goes for national parks. These might not have all the frills you could find at costlier attractions like well-known theme parks, but spending some time at free attractions may allow you to have money left over in the budget for more activities. Free or low-cost attractions to consider include beaches, parks and walking tours.

Check out local calendars for the city or area you are visiting to learn about community events, activities and attractions that are free on given days. Also, look for local movie houses that offer second-run movies at deep discounts or local theatre companies that put on a good show. This will give your family something to do if your other plans for the day are rained out.

Bring Water and Snacks
Make sure you pack a backpack for your outings and fill it with water and snacks. Doing so could help you avoid hungry, cranky children (or parents) and the higher prices of similar items at convenience stores in touristy areas of town. However, be open to splurging for special treats unique to a particular locale.

Buy City Tourism Cards
These cards could give you access to many of the top attractions in the city for free or at steep discounts. Some even offer free public transportation for the duration of your stay, negating the need for car rentals and associated parking fees. In addition to providing free access to some of the city’s top attractions, they might also offer discounts on restaurants and shops.

Look for Discounts and Deals Online
Browsing the internet could help you locate great deals on popular tourist attractions. Also, consider looking at restaurants to see if they offer discounts for new email subscribers or via downloadable apps. These discounts might be useful for free appetizers, reduced meal prices, buy one get one free or half off admission to attractions, and more.

Utilizing a few key savings pointers during your vacation could help you get more mileage out of your budget and have just as much fun. These tips will help you stretch your vacation dollars without sacrificing a great time with your family.

Need to get your budget under control before you take a vacation? Check out our budgeting tool to see where you spend your money and where you could cut back.