Saturday, June 18, 2011

Saturday Saving Series - Saving on Entertainment and Travel

Many people can save money on food, clothing, and home decor, but forget money can also be saved on travel and entertainment.

Vacations are an essential part of life (well for most people) whether you stay at home or go away.  A lot of people are staying close to home because of the high cost of a vacation.

Getting away doesn't have to break the bank.  I want to share with you a couple of tips to save money on your summer vacation.

  1. Set a budget for your vacation before you start looking.  If you start planning before setting a budget your vacation can get big too fast.  Our eyes can be bigger than our budget.

  2. Once you have set a budget, determine what type of vacation you want.   Your budget might determine how far you are able to go and what you are able to do.

  3. There are so many places competing for your business in major cities that you can usually find awesome deals.  Here are ways we have saved money on our vacations...


 For hotels -

We check an online travel site like, orbitz, travelocity, or expedia to find a good hotel with a good price.  We then call the hotel to see if they can beat the price that we have found on the travel site.

We have also used Ebay travel.  I know this might not sound legitimate, but we found a Wingate hotel in Orlando for $20 a night.  We were able to stay 3 nights for around $75 including taxes and fees.   Here are a couple of tips when buying on Ebay;  Only buy from someone who has a high rating with a 100% feedback.   Make sure you know where you are vacationing before you buy.  Most times you will not be able to return a hotel room or condo.  Look the hotel up online before you purchase to see if you like the hotel/condo.  Also, read the whole listing before you purchase to make sure you know exactly what you are purchasing.

Sign up for your favorite hotels reward program which will also lead to discounted rooms.

Car Rentals -

Compare Prices -  This is the key.  By comparing prices between online travel sites you can find the best deal.  After you have found the best deal call the car rental place and ask if they can beat this price.  We have done this and the rental place gave me a very low price.  We were able to rent a car for 3 days costing only $60.  When I got to the rental counter she asked me how in the world I got such a good deal.  Do your research - this is the key!

Flights -

The best way to save on flying is Airline Mile Credit Cards.  We have been able to earn 4 plane tickets through our credit card.   Now there are still fees for booking your flights through most credit cards so watch out for these hidden fees.

Allegient Air has rates as low as $29.00 for a round trip flight.  The only drawback is the flight is only to Florida.  If you vacation is to Disney World it could be a GREAT deal.

Food -

Try Groupon.  Type your vacation destination into the groupon city search to find great deals on both food and entertainment.   With Groupon you will want to check the website often.  Their deals change on a daily/weekly basis.

You can also try Restaurant.com.  This website sells you restaurant certificates for 40%-80% off the retail price.  This can be good way to save money while vacationing.  Do your research before you buy.

Plan and pack ahead.  For us we like to eat out when on vacation, but eating out every meal can be expensive.  I try to save money by packing snacks, breakfast (if there isn't continental), and some lunches.  Also, if we are staying somewhere with a kitchen we will plan eating a couple of meals in to save the most money.

Consider sharing a meal when eating out.   Most of the time we leave a restaurant stuffed, but if we share a meal we don't eat as much and save money!

Do not buy drinks.  Drinks can cost up to $3.00 per soda at a restaurant.  If a family of 5 each gets a drink that is anywhere from $10-$15 extra per meal!

Find restaurants with early bird specials.

Entertainment -

Groupon -  will also have wonderful deals on entertainment.   The deals can be discounts on anything like; aquariums, golfing, skiing, spa treatments, museums, and theatre's.

Craigslist - Someone might be selling  theme park tickets that they haven't used.  We purchased Universal Studio tickets one year off of Craigslist for over half the price.

Ebay - also a great place to check for theme park tickets or gift cards.

After you have the destination visit their towns website to find all the free or cheap activities.  For instance, if you are going to Baltimore you can check out the Baltimore website to find great low cost places to visit.   Their site will also tell you about the most popular places to visit in that town so you will not miss out on fun activities.

 

Final Thoughts -

The internet has so much helpful information at the tips of our fingers.   Use search engines to your advantage.  Type in exactly what you are looking for and most times you will find what you are looking for.

I would love to hear how you save money on your vacations!

Valerie

 

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