Not too long before schools starts.. but you still might be thinking about taking a vacation.. here are a few tips that won’t break the bank..
1. It’s the little things…
Snacks and drinks really add up! Kids are constantly thirsty and hungry, especially on a trip when they see fast food joints every 2 minutes. Pack some water or juice bottles, and ice in the cooler, and you’ll save quite a bit! Bring a bag of snacks (trail mix, crackers, granola, fruit, etc) and you will save even more. If you’re staying at a hotel, use their ice machine to fill your cooler up before you head back home, and remember to take advantage of their free breakfast if it’s offered!
2. Snag a bulk discount!
Ask your travel agent if he or she can get you a discount on your plane or train tickets. Some agents get to take advantage of bulk pricing, and can pass the savings onto you.
3. Show ’em your badge.
Many places offer discounts for active military, for veterans, police officers, fire fighters, and more. Ask which discounts are available to see what you qualify for. Sometimes people feel awkward doing so, but you won’t know unless you ask!
4. Skip the cab.
In downtown St. Louis, you can hop on a bus all day for $4. In Chicago, a cab will cost you $20 to go just a few miles whereas a bus would be much cheaper. A cab can take you a few blocks for $5, or you can walk that few blocks and get some exercise in. Save your money for the fun stuff, take the cheaper mode of transportation that is available.
5. Be flexible.
The more flexible you are with your vacation dates, mode of transportation (train VS plane), the more likely you are to stick with your budget. Sometimes, last minute flights are cheap. Other times, they’re triple the price they would have been a month ago. Watch the prices on sites like priceline.com and follow the trends. Order when the price is low. If flying isn’t in your budget, consider taking a train! From St. Louis to Chicago, a plane is $300 round-trip right now – but the train is only $48. Huge difference! And sometimes a train is even cheaper than driving would be.
6. Rent a vehicle.
If you really want to drive, but your vehicle is a gas-guzzler, consider renting a car. Yes, you will incur a $20 (or so) a day expense, but think of how much money you can save in gas from trading your V8 for a 4-cylinder for the weekend!
7. Travel light.
Whether you’re flying or driving, bringing less luggage with you will save you some cash. Airlines may charge to check extra bags, and traveling by car with a heavy load will ensure your gas mileage isn’t as great. So when you are packing, consider these things and ask if it’s really worth bringing!
What’s your favorite way to save on vacation?
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