Frugal Travel Tips
The following is a guest post by Rachel at Surviving The Stores.
We have been traveling A LOT recently. And by “a lot” I mean that most weeks we haven’t been able to fully unpack before we are on the road again. Whether it’s been seeing family, weddings, or traveling with my husband for business, it’s just been CRAZY this summer.
Hopefully the traveling will calm down soon… we are very ready to be at home for several weeks in a row!
Since our budget doesn’t increase just because we are traveling, here are a few things that we can do to keep to our monthly budget while traveling so much:
Can you believe how much a bottle of water costs at the convenience stores? Most of the time it’s more than $1.00… for ONE bottle of water! We always make sure to buy a large pack of water before leaving on a trip. Even buying a 24 pack of bottled water at the store at full price is typically under $4 (much less with coupons!)
If you want to be really frugal, you can get a couple of gallons of water (or fill empty gallons up at home) and bring plastic cups for everyone during the trip. We still have little ones, so water bottles just work better for this stage in our life.
Packing your own cereal, fruit, lunch meat, cheese, peanut butter, and bread can save you TONS of money when traveling! It’s definitely worth it to keep refilling the ice in the ice chest to keep the food cold. Instead of buying bowls, we buy a bag of paper cups that we use for drinking as well as for cereal in the mornings when we travel.
For those times that you will want to eat out, see what’s available at Restaurant.com ahead of time. You can get $25 gift certificates for $10 (and many times they run specials where it’s even less!).
A good friend of mine makes beef jerky at home before she travels with her family. Her recommendation is to buy rump roast and have the butcher slice it thin. Then add your favorite seasonings and put it in a food dehydrator to dry. A food dehydrator is a little bit of an investment, but something that is very worth it! You can make all kinds of great dried snacks with a food dehydrator (apples, pineapple, blueberries, veggies, beef jerky, etc…)
Sites such as Priceline, Hotwire and Travelocity (and many other sites too!) help you to find the best hotel deals, and typically their prices are better than going through the hotel website. Priceline and Hotwire allow you to pick a star rating, pick the amenities you want, and then name your price. They assign you to a hotel (you don’t get to choose), but we have used the “name your price” method and it’s worked out great for us! My recommendation is to always go a star above what you think you might want.
And there’s always the option of vacationing in places where friends and/or family might let you stay a night or two! 🙂
When we stop at gas stations, it seems inevitable that we end up buying something (like a Starbucks Mocha Frappuccino drink). 🙂 Stopping at rest stops instead of gas stations for potty breaks can help curb the desire (or the feeling of obligation) to buy something every time you stop.
Everyone knows that the souvenirs at theme parks and tourist attractions are WAY overpriced. Buy some souvenirs ahead of time and hide them until you are at your destination. Then, when the pull to get a souvenir is just too great to resist, you already have them ready (and at 1/4 of the price!!)
Rachel is a work-at-home, homeschooling mom of three precious little ones. She helps you navigate and “survive the stores” through her blog, Surviving The Stores, where she posts great deals, coupons, and her own shopping trips.