How to Save Money on Vacation - Budget-Friendly Travel Tips

Time to Hit the Road!

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Travel Tips for a Road Trip

It’s summertime and you’re getting the vacation bug! It’s time to leave town and do some traveling. Taking a family—or even a personal—holiday doesn’t have to break the bank or wipe out your savings. Before you take off on that vacation, whether it is for a week or just a weekend, consider several different ways that you can save. If you’re taking a road trip, there are several ways to cut back on expenses.

Save on the Cost of Meals while Traveling

A big expense in traveling, especially with a family, is the cost of meals. Try limiting eating out in restaurants to one meal per day. Pack in the car a cooler of sodas and water, and a bag of snacks such as granola bars and packaged peanut butter crackers. If your cooler is big enough, you could even pack sandwiches for at least one of your meals. If you’re going to be gone from home for a considerable amount of time, it would be worth your while—and your pocketbook’s—to stock up on snacks once again before making the trip back home. Whatever hotel you’re staying at, be sure to check to see if they have a free continental breakfast where you and the kids can fill up on cereal and pastries each morning.

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Save on Car Expenses; Consider a Rental

If you are taking a long trip and driving your own car, think again. There are some great online deals for car rentals through such companies as Avis, Budget, and PaylessCar. You can choose from a compact car to an SUV depending on how much room you will need. Think about how many miles you will be putting on your car. Figure in the wear and tear of the trip on your car, as well as how much keeping gas in it will cost. With that, compare it to the cost of a car rental and what all is included.

My siblings and I once took a road trip to Las Vegas, which was about a 24 hour trip straight through. While driving in the middle of the night, a coyote or some poor creature ran across the road, blowing out one of the headlights. The insurance we had purchased for the rental car we were driving (which amounted to very little) covered the damage and left us with no deductible to pay as we would have had to on a personal insurance policy. You might find that leaving your car safely at home is the better—and perhaps cheaper—deal.

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Save Significantly on Hotels

One of the biggest expenses in travel is the cost of lodging. While it’s nice to stay in a luxurious hotel, the cost can be daunting. Do you like the luxury of Hilton’s hotels? Online pricing can save you up to 40% off. Some online deals allow kids to stay free. Priceline shows you hotels in all the major U.S. cities for under $50 per night. This includes well-known cities such as Orlando, Florida; New Orleans, Louisiana; and San Diego, California. With Trip Mama, you can search through hundreds of hotels all over the world with up to 65% savings. Use Hotel Coupon Codes to plan your lodging in advance of your trip.

Use Online Coupons to Save on Your Next Vacation

With some planning ahead, you can save money on your vacation on three of the biggest expenses you will have: food, travel, and lodging. Check out the available deals before you leave the house by shopping online and taking advantage of some deep discounts. By using Travel Codes and Deals, you can save a bundle on transportation and lodging, wherever your road trip takes you.

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Comments 31 comments

internpete profile image

internpete 4 years ago from At the Beach in Florida

Great tips, when my family used to take road trips we would try to pack lots of snacks. And the car rental tip is good too!


fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 4 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

Vee......You really are my kind of frugal-minded gal!! I am always so impressed with financially wise and creative individuals.

I was thinking.....if you and I had been buddies years ago and decided to challenge one another to a "$$Save-a-thon" I would guess we'd both be super rich Bit***s, living in Hawaii right about now!

DRAT!! Our timing sucks, GF!!! lol


Victoria Lynn profile image

Victoria Lynn 4 years ago from Arkansas, USA Author

Thanks, internpete. I appreciate the input!


Victoria Lynn profile image

Victoria Lynn 4 years ago from Arkansas, USA Author

Effer, I am VERY frugal-minded. I love it! Dang, I wish our timing had been better. You are right; we would have been RICH!!!!!! :-)


fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 4 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

As my Dad would have said..."Would-a...Could-a.....Should-a.......ya can't take any of it to the bank!!!" lol


rachelingram3 profile image

rachelingram3 4 years ago from Northern Ireland

Very good tips, I am a student and so I am always looking for ways to save money on holidays!! :)


Victoria Lynn profile image

Victoria Lynn 4 years ago from Arkansas, USA Author

Effer, your dad was a smart man! :-)


abonded4life profile image

abonded4life 4 years ago from Kitchener ontario

Thanks for the tips with the rent a car. I am about to go on a road

trip and was thinking I will save money buy using my own van but you made some good piont. For the most part, I do follow the other tips.


Angelo52 profile image

Angelo52 4 years ago from Central Florida

Good ideas all for taking a load off the finances on a road trip. Especially useful in today's economy. Vote up + shared.


TToombs08 profile image

TToombs08 4 years ago from Somewhere between Heaven and Hell without a road map.

Great hints! Now if only I could find the time to use these tips! :) Voted up and more.


Victoria Lynn profile image

Victoria Lynn 4 years ago from Arkansas, USA Author

Great, rachel. Glad it's helpful! I remember what it's like to be a student--that's for sure!


Victoria Lynn profile image

Victoria Lynn 4 years ago from Arkansas, USA Author

abonded--Depending on the distance, especially, I would definitely look into renting a vehicle. Just to see....


Esmeowl12 profile image

Esmeowl12 4 years ago from Sevierville, TN

Good advice! I'm always looking for ways to save money. Voted up and useful.


Victoria Lynn profile image

Victoria Lynn 4 years ago from Arkansas, USA Author

Thanks, Angelo for the comments, vote, and share. Good to see your smiling face. Love the hat, too!


Victoria Lynn profile image

Victoria Lynn 4 years ago from Arkansas, USA Author

I know, TToombs! Finding time to get in a vacation can be hard, as is finding time for anything!!!! Thanks for reading and commenting!


Victoria Lynn profile image

Victoria Lynn 4 years ago from Arkansas, USA Author

Esmeowl--I'm always looking for ways to save, too. Glad you appreciate this hub!


teaches12345 profile image

teaches12345 4 years ago

I am now ready to roll with all your good advice. Thanks for the information and with all the summer travel I am sure many will find this useful.


iamaudraleigh 4 years ago

Great hub, great info, and great coupon info!!! Nice job!


ladeda profile image

ladeda 4 years ago

Fantastic tips! I also love booking.com for great hotel deals. I once stayed in a huge apartment in Prague by using that site, and I paid less than I would have if I had stayed in one of the cheapest hotels! I takes a little time and motivation to find what you're looking for, but it's worth every moment!


Victoria Lynn profile image

Victoria Lynn 4 years ago from Arkansas, USA Author

teaches--Yes, time to roll! Hope you have a great summer!


Victoria Lynn profile image

Victoria Lynn 4 years ago from Arkansas, USA Author

Why, thanks, Audra! I appreciate all that!


Victoria Lynn profile image

Victoria Lynn 4 years ago from Arkansas, USA Author

booking.com, huh? I'll have to remember that. Hey, the time it takes to save money is worth it to me. Great comments--thanks!


Victoria Lynn profile image

Victoria Lynn 4 years ago from Arkansas, USA Author

Thanks for the share, Chris Hugh!


Angela Brummer profile image

Angela Brummer 4 years ago from Lincoln, Nebraska

Stopped by one of my favorite hubbers article to give a little twitter and google sharing!


Victoria Lynn profile image

Victoria Lynn 4 years ago from Arkansas, USA Author

You're amazing, Angela! I'm so appreciative!


tlpoague profile image

tlpoague 3 years ago from USA

Great tips! I often took trips with my children to see my grandmother when they were younger. I would always make sure to have plenty of snacks and drinks on hand so we wouldn't have to stop at a restaurant. With a bit of shopping around, one can find great deals.


cclitgirl profile image

cclitgirl 3 years ago from Western NC

Great tips! When I was in college, I worked for a rental car company. I actually liked it and it also convinced me to always try to buy their insurance coverage...you wreck it and you just hand 'em the keys, LOL.

Great ideas. :)


Victoria Lynn profile image

Victoria Lynn 3 years ago from Arkansas, USA Author

tipoague--Thanks for the input! My mom always did that with snacks and drinks. We rarely picked up snacks at gas stations like so many people do. It can get expensive, for sure!


Victoria Lynn profile image

Victoria Lynn 3 years ago from Arkansas, USA Author

CC--I think it's sometimes cheaper, too, to rent a car rather than put gas in your own car--plus the wear and tear! Cool deal!


adity5 profile image

adity5 3 years ago

Great tips !! M actually trying to save money since a long time for a planned vacation with my family :). Nice hub, thumbs up !!


Victoria Lynn profile image

Victoria Lynn 3 years ago from Arkansas, USA Author

adity5--Glad you liked the hub! Hope you save enough money to take that much needed family vacation!

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