5 Secrets to Saving Money While on Vacation

 green01   October 13, 2012
How To Travel

In this economy, vacations often feel like a luxury. How bad have things gotten? A 2009 survey by Expedia.com found that 34% of Americans with jobs don’t use all their yearly vacation days. Some Americans feel they just can’t afford to take a vacation.

But, if you know the 5 secrets to saving money while on vacation, taking a break doesn’t have to cost you an arm and a leg. Keep reading to find out how to save money while still enjoying your trip.

  1. If you want to go abroad, pick a country where the dollar is strong.

When you land on foreign soil, you may find that your dollars get a big boost in spending power, or that your savings just don’t amount to much in the local currency. Clearly, the first situation is better, as it means you can stretch your money further.

Budget Traveling

Budget Traveling – Source

The American dollar is still strong in many gorgeous Latin American travel spots, like Costa Rica, Argentina, Panama, Guatemala, and Mexico.

  1. If you’re not going abroad, consider driving, taking the bus, or riding on the train.

Airplanes and cruise ships may be your only options when going overseas, but if you’re traveling within the country, save money by staying on land.

Many Greyhound bus and Amtrak train routes are known for their lovely travel views. Check out Greyhound.com or Amtrak.com to check out the low prices and see which routes catch your fancy.

  1. Pack meal replacement shakes for the trip and buy groceries when you get there.

If your favorite part of taking a vacation is going out to eat for every meal, why not just drive to the next town over, stay with a friend, and spend two days eating out locally? If you’re on a sightseeing vacation, food shouldn’t be your biggest expense.

To save money, pack meal replacement shakes to “eat” for breakfast and lunch while on the way there, and only go out for dinner. If you’ve been trying to lose weight, Slim Fast shakes can be a tasty choice. If you want to stay at your weight or gain weight, go for Ensure shakes.

Once you arrive, hit the local grocery store for fruits, veggies, and other foods you can prepare from your motel room.

  1. Stay in motels, camp out, or at least pick hotels where kids stay free with parents.

Again, if your favorite part of going on vacation is the fancy hotel, just drive downtown and stay at one of your local hotels. If you want to have a great trip and still save money, go for two-star options, like low-cost motels.

According to Dr. Jo Turner, Professor of Family and Consumer Economics, families can save a lot by either renting camping gear for the trip or staying in hotels that don’t charge extra for kids to share rooms with parents.

If you go the hotel route, check out RetailMeNot.com for coupons.

  1. Use your credit card instead of withdrawing cash from ATMs.

Even if you’re just in the next state over, you may find that your bank has no local ATMs. Other ATMs can charge hefty fees to let you access your money – $6 is not uncommon. That’s not even counting what your bank may charge you for withdrawing from another ATM. Those fees can really add up!

Your credit card, on the other hand, doesn’t come with these hassles. Plus, it will take care of exchange rates for you if you’re abroad. Major credit cards like Visa or MasterCard are accepted all over the world. That said, it’s still a good idea to bring a little cash for mom and pop stores as well as tips.

Guest blogging Stacey Kelly is a social media advocate with CreditDonkey, where travelers can find no foreign transaction fees credit cards. By using these money-saving secrets, Stacey hopes you can enjoy your vacation without stressing out about travel costs.

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