But first, here is a list of things I regularly do to save money on vacation:
Things I will do:
* Use Credit Card Rewards. Of course I will do this! But slowly and responsibly. Our upcoming trip to Hawaii took a few years of strategizing with several credit cards.
* Fly on discount airlines. Yes, I've flown on Spirit and lived to tell about it. Flights to my hometown are super cheap! But I know enough about the airline to avoid flying it right before a cruise or another major event, since Spirit doesn't have reciprocal agreements with the other major airlines in case there is mechanical trouble.
* Fly in coach. This seems like an obvious thing, but I'm always amazed by how many people will fly only in first class or business in order to go on a trip.
* Cook meals. We have stayed in condos and rental houses with full kitchens, and to save money we have gone to the grocery store and cooked breakfast and dinner in the condo. It saves a ton of money on going out to eat. I have no problem doing this, but I admit I also love NOT having to cook on a cruise!
|Kitchen at Wyndham Bonnet Creek condo close to Disney World|
* Bring lunch. Most theme parks allow you to bring in food, and sometimes we pack our own lunches. I recently read a trip report from a family that ate PB&J while they were sightseeing in Hawaii, and that's going to be us! We do like to splurge on some meals, though, but sandwiches for lunch is no big deal to me or my kids.
|Eating a packed lunch of PB&J at The North Pole amusement park in Colorado|
* Ask for and use discounts and coupons. If we know what attractions we're visiting ahead of time, I will research online to find discounts and coupons. Recently, I called a surfing school to ask if they had any coupons or discounts, and I was given a discount over the phone just for asking.
* Go during the off-season. Usually, this involves pulling my kids out of school, which so far has not been an issue. Crowds and prices are lower when school is in session. As my kids get older, this may no longer be an option.
What I Will Not Do: (and no judgement from me if you do any of these things! :) )
* Sleep overnight in an airport. At least not by choice. My whole family would be a mess if we had to do this during a layover. We had the chance to do this on our way back from Hawaii if we would have taken the earliest flight back with a 5-hour layover in the middle of the night in the Las Vegas Airport. But, no thanks. We opted to take a later flight and stay the night in a hotel. I realize that people without kids or people who sleep better in public places might not think this is a big deal to do.
* Listen to a timeshare presentation for a gift. Not while we're on vacation. My time is just too precious on a trip, the presentations always take much longer than they say, and we know we're never going to buy a timeshare (well, maybe a Disney Vacation Club one day.....)
* Buy discounted tickets from a questionable website. I saw a post a while ago on a message board about a website selling deeply discounted tickets to Disney World. Disney does not sell deeply discounted tickets, so there was no way I was jumping on that bandwagon. I read the site was shut down hours later. Not sure if people ended up with their tickets.
* Haggle/barter with vendors selling souvenirs. I know in some countries, this is standard practice. We were advised to haggle with vendors at the straw market in Nassau to get the prices down. But I'm just not too comfortable with this, especially since I feel the prices are already so cheap! I spent a few months traveling in Guatemala during college, and everything involved haggling--including taxi fares. It was exhausting and uncomfortable for me.
|The Straw Market in Nassau, The Bahamas|
Obviously, my choices of what I won't do to save money on vacation are based on my personal experiences and are very subjective. What are things you refuse to do to save money on a vacation???