As the weather warms up here in Ohio, our thoughts are starting to turn to summer…anyone else thinking about vacation? We’ve tried to share lots of tips with you in our Travel on a Shoestring series, but here are a few other things to consider as you get ready for a trip this summer:
- Research! The Internet is your friend for vacation prep. A simple Swagbucks search (or any other search engine) can help you find tips, reviews, bargains, and more for just about any destination you’d consider. Start reading–knowledge is power, and it can help you save money!
- Start a Pinterest board: With all the info out there, Pinterest is a great way to manage it. You can also search on Pinterest to find what other people have pinned on your destination. Use the words “frugal,” “bargain,” “with kids” or “family-friendly” if those are of particular interest to you.
- Plan ahead: Make reservations as soon as possible, and ask about any discounts available. If you’re speaking with someone local to your destination, ask their opinion about bargains available in the area.
- Start your packing list early, and watch for bargains: Consider what you’ll need, and start buying what you can as deals become available. Need juice boxes for the car ride? Grab an extra pack or two during good sales, and stash them away. Start looking for drug store deals on sunscreen. Keep an eye out for dirt-cheap toys, books, or new DVDs to entertain the kiddos on the car trip, or to use as incentives for good behavior as they travel (I’m not above a little bribery on all-day car trips!). Snag an extra restaurant gift card or two during Double Fuelperks at GE when it’s available. All these ideas can cut down on stress and expense just before the trip.
- Consider pre-buying some souvenirs: This is one of my favorite tips for Disney vacations, but it can work for other places as well. For instance, we’ll be hitting some national parks on our trip, so I’m getting National Parks Passports for my kids before we leave. They’ll be able to get them stamped at each park, and can keep filling them for years. We’ll also get some books about our destinations before we go, so they can learn about them, get excited, and even help plan for “must-see” features.
It’s possible to get a lot of bang for your buck on vacation with some advance planning and effort. Save on what you can so you can splurge on a few things that will be really memorable and special. If you haven’t checked out our Travel on a Shoestring series yet, please check it out below, and be sure to share your best vacation savings trips in the comments or on Facebook!