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How To Save Money While On Vacation

Updated on January 9, 2013

We Are Ready For Vacation!

We Are Ready For Vacation!
We Are Ready For Vacation! | Source

The Top Five Vacation Costs

  • Gas
  • Rentals and Hotels
  • Eating Out/Groceries
  • Spending Money
  • Entertainment

We take an annual, week long summer vacation to Sandbridge, Virginia. The goal of our vacation is to have an amazing time but not break the bank. We try our best to save money on the top five vacation costs.

How To Save Money On Gas

We drive a Surburban with a thirty gallon gas tank. It can be a challenge to pay less than $100 on every fill up. While we compare ads to get the best price for our groceries, we use our grocery store which offers 'fuel perks' for large grocery store purchases. Additionally, we purchase gift cards from our grocery store.

We purchase gift cards for:

  • Home improvement projects
  • Electronics
  • Birthdays
  • Mothers/Fathers Day
  • Teachers gifts
  • Graduation gifts
  • Christmas

For every $50 spent on groceries or gift cards, we save $0.10 off a gallon of gas.

We also need to evaluate methods to improve our gas efficiency.

Top Ways To Increase Gas Efficiency

  • Service the vehicle prior to the trip
  • Keep the tires properly inflated
  • Keep windows closed to reduce drag
  • Limit use of air-conditioning
  • Use the cruise control
  • Avoid high speeds
  • Limit idling
  • Avoid heavy loads

Not every item on the gas efficiency list will be implemented on our trip. We plan to:

  • Service the vehicle prior to the trip
  • Avoid high speeds
  • Keep the tires properly inflated
  • Use the cruise control

By utilizing our grocery store fuel perks, we will be starting our twelve hour drive with a free tank of gas. By implementing a few of the gas saving habits, our tank will last longer.

Gas Efficiency Quiz

view quiz statistics

Our Beach House

Our Beach House
Our Beach House | Source

We Save Money By Vacationing With A Group: Sandbridge, Virginia

sandfiddler road, sandbridge, va 23456:
Sandfiddler Rd, Virginia Beach, VA 23456, USA

get directions

How To Save Money On Beach Rentals And Hotels

We rent a beach house for our vacation. We choose to stay the second week of June each year. The third week of June transitions from value to summer pricing and the price of our weekly rental jumps by $3000/week! However, if we chose to go on vacation a week earlier, our house would be $2000 less per week. When considering vacation homes, pay attention to the rate differences between prime and non-prime seasons. By adjusting your vacation dates, you can save yourself thousands of dollars!

We split the cost between eight other families. This enables our group to stay at a nine bedroom beach house with amazing amenities for a smaller price tag per family. Vacationing with a group can definitely save accommodation costs.

However, our rental is Saturday to Saturday. We leave for vacation on Thursday. We still need to pay for two nights of hotel stays.

Online methods such as Priceline, Expedia or AAA are popular ways to save money on hotels. Top quality hotels are available for over 50% off list prices.

We are a family of eight. One hotel room does not suit our family. Suites are ideal, but still can be a challenge for our group. This year we decided on two hotel rooms per night. This will cost us even more!

To save money, we will be using hotel loyalty program points.

Regardless of how much you stay in hotels, sign up for the hotel loyalty program. Any stay will start you on your way to either free or lower prices on your next hotel stay.

My husband travels often for work. I am able to use his hotel loyalty points to reserve two rooms for Thursday and Friday night at no cost.

While I prefer when my husband is home, we enjoy the flexibility and cost savings loyalty programs provide.

How Do You Eat On Vacation?

How do you eat most of your meals on vacation?

See results

How To Save Money Eating Out And On Groceries

Eating out on vacation can be expensive. Consider looking at your vacation city under:

We utilize these savings coupons in our home city. Try your vacation city, too!

Consider purchasing an Entertainment Book for your vacation city. They are usually only $25-$35 and are full of buy one get one free dinners and other great deals. You could easily pay for the book with one meal!

Eating in is a less expensive option. Our beach house is equipped with a nicer kitchen than I have at my own house! We utilize the grocery store minutes from our beach house. I plan to save money on our groceries by:

  • Using my existing stock pile for snack and non-perishables
  • Sign up for and utilize e-coupons for the loyalty card program for the vacation grocery store
  • Clipping paper coupons prior to vacation
  • Obtaining extra coupons from eBay

While you cannot purchase coupons, you can pay for someone’s time to locate, clip and ship them. I double checked the coupon policy for the local grocery store on vacation and they accept manufacturer coupons for free items.

Free Item Coupons I am bringing to our beach vacation:

  • Coffee mate Coffee Creamer
  • Edward’s Ice cream Pie
  • Aunt Jemima Syrup
  • Northland Fruit Juice
  • Sargento Cheese (my kids love string cheese)
  • Post Fruity Pebbles (my daughter’s favorite)

These are items that I was planning to purchase on vacation or that my kids enjoy. I have paid a dollar or two for the coupons, each coupon worth more than $5.00.

I will not have to worry about the prices of these items on vacation. They are already paid for!

How To Save Spending Money For Vacation

Consider putting $10 in an envelope from every pay check. My husband gets paid twice a month. We would have $240 saved up annually if we used this simple method.

However, this year, we are using an additional method. My husband travels for work and often flies American Airlines. I know that American Airlines is part of allows you to register all hotel and air loyalty cards and buy, sell or trade points.

For every 2,412 American Airlines miles, you can transfer $10 to your PayPal account. Utilizing American Airlines miles he accrued for work travel, I was able to convert 48,236 miles into $200. I received an email when PayPal received my $200. I was then able to transfer, without fees, directly to my checking account.

See if you have any unused miles sitting around. Perhaps you can transfer them using into some spending cash!

Free Beach Fun: Dig A Giant Hole!

Beach fun!
Beach fun! | Source

Top Ten Free Ways We Will Spend Our Time On Vacation:

  1. Sand castles or digging giant holes
  2. Jumping waves
  3. Boogie boarding
  4. Collecting sand fleas
  5. Chasing after crabs
  6. Corn hole tournaments
  7. Family walks on the beach
  8. Walking to local piers
  9. Volleyball or baseball games
  10. Laying out while talking to family

How To Save Money On Entertainment

Visit the online chamber of commerce or visitor center for your vacation destination a month or so before your vacation begins. Request an online brochure to be sent directly to your house. These guides detail the must see attractions and include a calendar of event. Coupons are often included as well. We enjoy passing the visitor guides during the road trip, giving everyone a chance to mention what they want to do or see.

We live at an ocean front beach house one week a year. Our house has an indoor and outdoor pool, pool table, foosball table, and media room. If it rains or is cooler, we do not need to leave the beach house.

Our weekly entertainment on vacation is the beach or beach house fun.

Creating Priceless Memories!

There are some definite cost considerations when planning any vacation. We try to live a frugal lifestyle and then splurge a bit on vacation. But, with a family of eight, we still need to watch how much we splurge!

Life is getting more expensive. We continue to adjust our lifestyle to afford our family and our family vacation. My children talk about our trip to the beach house all year.

These memories are priceless.

© 2012 Karen Lackey


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    • twinstimes2 profile imageAUTHOR

      Karen Lackey 

      6 years ago from Ohio

      Thanks, internetwizguy! I hope you can use some of the ideas to save money! I find that we can do more as a family if we can do it less expensive!

    • Internetwiz-guy profile image


      6 years ago from Kigali, Rwanda

      So interesting hub twinstimes2. I love the photos too! I love traveling a lot and the information you provided is helpful. What great ideas you have.

    • twinstimes2 profile imageAUTHOR

      Karen Lackey 

      6 years ago from Ohio

      Great idea, cyclingfitness! B&Bs are great ways to save money and you get a breakfast, too! Thanks for taking the time to comment!

    • CyclingFitness profile image

      Liam Hallam 

      6 years ago from Nottingham UK

      Nice hub with some great advice for travellers. I tend to go for a bed and breakfast instead of a hotel when staying in the UK as they often have single rooms without a supplement as opposed to many websites and price comparison sites which tend not to cater for the solo traveller

    • twinstimes2 profile imageAUTHOR

      Karen Lackey 

      6 years ago from Ohio

      Thanks! Great tip on AAA, too! We are so anxious for vacation. Thanks for taking the time to read and comment!

    • ThePracticalMommy profile image


      6 years ago from United States

      Great tips! When we visit the beach for a week, we too split housing costs with one or two other families, bring our own groceries and make our own fun. :)

      When we need to stay at a hotel, we choose one that takes discounts from AAA. Every little bit helps!

      Voted up and sharing!

    • twinstimes2 profile imageAUTHOR

      Karen Lackey 

      6 years ago from Ohio

      Thanks, Jellygator for taking the time to read and comment!

    • jellygator profile image


      6 years ago from USA

      Great info!

    • twinstimes2 profile imageAUTHOR

      Karen Lackey 

      6 years ago from Ohio

      Thanks for the share and the visit, Kashmir! I learned while researching the gas efficiency tips. Thanks for commenting as well! I appreciate it! Great job on the quiz!

    • kashmir56 profile image

      Thomas Silvia 

      6 years ago from Massachusetts

      Great information,advice and tips to save money when going on vacation, well done ! I also got 100% on the quiz,great quiz !

      Vote up and more !!! SHARING !

    • twinstimes2 profile imageAUTHOR

      Karen Lackey 

      6 years ago from Ohio

      Thanks for taking the time to read and comment, Robie! Great job on the quiz, too! :) We are in full vacation mode...we leave in less than a week!

    • Robie Benve profile image

      Robie Benve 

      6 years ago from Ohio

      Great informative hub twinstimes2, I love your photos and I got 100% on the quiz! :) Voted up and interesting.


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