Our family has loved traveling for as long as I can remember. Even as a little girl, I remember road trips to various places that I always enjoyed. Now, as an adult, I still enjoy going different places, seeing the natural beauty of the mountains, the rivers and oceans, the amazing rock formations in Utah, and so many other sites I've been able to visit. One thing that is always a factor in our travel plans is how we can do it frugally. Over the years we've become pretty experienced at keeping even extended trips low-budget! Here are just four of the ways we keep expenses down.
1. Plan in Advance. Not that there aren't times you can't, or the occasional spur-of-the-moment trip, but I much prefer sitting down and planning the entire trip out in advance. The length of our stay, the route we will take, and even what restaurants we plan to eat at. Obviously, you can't plan for every expense but by getting a solid idea in your head early on, you can usually stay with a budget much better. Also, planning in advance means you can book your lodging earlier, which almost always means a pretty decent amount of savings. Plus, you can see an eye out for coupons and deals for any attractions or even restaurants you're planning on visiting.
2. Pack Your Snacks and Drinks. We save so much money simply by making a trip to Walmart or Sam's Club before leaving on a vacation! You will generally pay 3.00 for a couple of 20-ounce bottles of soda at a gas station, 2.00 a bottle at a vending machine, and easily 1.00 or more per snack. Instead, we keep an eye out for sales (for example, we just picked up several 12-packs of Pepsi products for 1.99) and then put them aside until the upcoming trip. Pack your cooler with enough drinks for the day, and bring the rest along with your luggage so you can restock the cooler as needed. Same with snacks-even regular price is cheaper than you'll pay along the way, but again, watch for sales!
3. Go Off-Season. We never, ever vacation at the height of the season. Yes, this means we often have to take a week off school, but you will find that rates are generally a lot cheaper for both attractions such as amusement parks, and even lodging, whether you're staying at a hotel, campground, or renting a cabin somewhere.
4. Scour The Web for Discounts. Whether it be a discount code for your next trip to an amusement park, or a special code to save on lodging, there are a lot more travel-related discounts than you would think. If you're staying at a cabin or campground, many of these offer discounts or even a free night if you stay a certain amount of nights. Most hotels offer a better discount if you stay three or more nights. Keep in mind all the possible discounts you can think of, and then search the web!