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7 Ways to Save Money on Vacation

vac-2Vacations are a great part of summer, but having a fabulous trip may have less than wonderful consequences for the traveler’s wallet. However, there are easy ways to save that most of us don’t even think about. Here are 7 ways to save money on vacation travel this summer.

#1: Stay Close to Home – Going far from home may seem like the entire reason for a vacation but most travelers actually live within a few hours of great destinations. High transportation costs, such as air fare, can be a huge chunk of vacation costs. Reducing this cost can help a lot.

#2: Pick a Hotel with Complimentary Breakfast – The average cost of breakfast for a family of four on vacation is nearly $40. Multiply that amount by the number of days on vacation, and it is easy to see how that free breakfast in the morning can add up to big savings. Plus, most of these breakfasts include healthier fare than what can be found at a fast food restaurant for the morning meal.

#3: Bring Drinks & Snacks – Bring along canned sodas, bottled waters, and other beverages to reduce costs. Also, shop at a big box store for snacks and bring them with you to for additional savings. Most motel rooms come equipped with miniature refrigerators that are perfect for pudding, fruit cups, yogurt, cheese snacks, or other tasty delicacies that cost a fraction of anything available through room service.

#4: Shop as Little as Possible – Shopping and vacationing go hand in hand but this combination can be dangerous to the travel budget. Instead, choose one or two stores to visit that are unique to the area and only shop at those. Also, choose lower cost keepsakes to bring home to friends and family, such as pens, postcards, and magnets.

#5: Splurge at Lunch – Food is a big part of most vacation destinations but the high prices at some restaurants can easily consume big chunks of your travel budget. At most restaurants, the lunch menu is similar to the dinner version but portions are smaller and the prices are much cheaper.

Some restaurants also offer discounts on to-go orders. Call ahead to find out. This alternative reduces the bill – no tip, no drinks – and allows for a more relaxing meal, especially after a hard day of sightseeing.

#6: Travel Off Season – Although summers are synonymous with vacations, hotels and other travel vendors use this knowledge to their benefit by increasing room and menu prices during peak season. By choosing to travel in the fall or early spring, travelers can find cheaper hotel and airfare rates and secure better discounts at tourist attractions.

#7: Travel Insurance – If you are lucky enough to take a trip to another region in the U.S. make sure to purchase travel insurance in case of sickness or an emergency for air travel.  International Travel Insurance is also vital if you plan to drive a car in a foreign country, where typical U.S. car insurance will not cover you in case of an accident.