Vacation Money Saving Tips

This month my sweet sister-in-law Allie is back to share more money-saving tips. Enjoy her post on how to enjoy your vacation while spending within your means.

By: Allison Park

As she watched the sun setting over the horizon of that beautifully vast ocean, she sighed to herself and thought intently, I wonder how much money we have spent on this vacation so far?! Are we going to be able to pay the electric bill when we get home?! Maybe I could Craigslist the couch in the living room to cover last night’s dinner!?

Have you ever experienced that same fear before? Are you tired of paying for your vacation months after the fact? Now is your chance to stop that sick feeling in the pit of your stomach. You can stop it right in its tracks! The secret to a vacation thoroughly enjoyed is this, a budget. Sit down with your spouse or an accountability partner if you are single, and intentionally plan out what money will be spent.

My husband and I are planning our vacation and are excited about having a budget while we are away. It sounds so contradictory, I know. But having spent the last 4 years of our marriage on a budget, we have gotten (mostly) accustomed to the discipline. Not only have we become accustom, but we have learned to appreciate and enjoy it. Having a budget while on vacation is freeing in so many ways. We know how much money we have to spend on food, and we plan accordingly. I have definitely gone on shopping trips where I have wondered how much money I had spent and if I was going to pass out when I got home and looked at the bank statement. I have also experienced the peace of knowing exactly what I had spent, and that it was not impulsive. It was agreed to, days, even weeks in advance. My husband wasn’t going to be mad at me (not that he usually is), and I enjoyed those things FAR more when I was on a budget versus when I wasn’t.

Before you go on vacation this year, sit down and INTENTIONALLY spend your money on paper before you go.

Here are some money saving tips for vacationing:

Stay somewhere you can fix your own meals. Even if you just have a cooler and have to buy ice every day while you are away, you will save a ton by not eating out for every meal.

For example a family of 4 eats lunch out and spends $40. Now say you spend $18 on sandwich items and chips or veggies. That is a savings of $22 per meal, times that by 5 days and you have saved $110.

Make snack foods from scratch before you leave. Muffins, cookies, Granola bars, you name it! These items are pennies to the dollar when making at home versus buying pre-made.

Stay at hotels located in the out skirting towns. A 30 minute drive could save $20/night, or more depending on where you are vacationing.

Find local places that are free to visit. Most towns have fun historic sites that you can visit for little to no cost. Museums, city parks, historical monuments, hiking areas, etc…

Camp! You can do hiking, rafting, and swimming activities for free and cook your food over a fire. 

Stayvacation! Stay home and plan one day each week to go a place within driving distance.

If you have a plan and a budget, you can see your savings add up, and that makes a huge difference in your motivation to do things less expensively!

Say goodbye to those post-vacation blues due to money stress. This year go on your vacation, enjoy it, and come home feeling relaxed and refreshed. Take Lots of Pictures!