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Money Saving Tips During Your Vacation

Updated on April 24, 2013

You’re all set to go on your vacation and ready to have a good time. You've saved up enough spending cash to get you through your vacation, so you hope. Well it can definitely be a challenge to hold onto your hard earned dollars while on vacation. You tend to get swept up into the freedom and lowered inhibitions that comes with letting your hair down. But you don’t want to be “one of those” that comes back with nothing but lint in their pockets and a mailbox full of bills to pay. So here are a few suggestions to save you some money during your vacation.

Ignore the Fast Talkers (and Be a Quick Walker)

These are the smooth talking merchants that come up to you wanting to sell you something because somehow they have managed to peg you as a tourist. Not that the constant flashing of that camera around your neck has anything to do with it. They will follow you and almost harass you into buying whatever they’re selling. Give a firm "no!" and keep on walking. This takes a strong character to do this with ease. It is often hard to repeatedly turn people down but it can be done. You won’t hurt their feelings because guess what, you won't be the first person they approach nor will you be the last to turn them down. Even though it pains you to turn them down you will have just saved yourself money on something you probably won’t use anyway. Plus, if you say yes to every fast-pitched hustle, you will end up with nothing but that lint I talked about earlier.

Cooking Your Own Meals Can Be a Steal

If you’re vacationing for a week or more and your accommodation has a full kitchen or kitchenette take advantage of this amenity. You paid for it so use it. Buying your own groceries and preparing your own food not only saves you money but you also know what you’re eating and how it was prepared. But be wise on this topic. Buying foods that you don't end up eating will only lead you to feeling like you "have to" eat them when your vacation starts bottle necking towards the end.

To prevent this, get a feel of the restaurant situation on the first day. If you feel there are an abundance of restaurants with reasonable pricing to choose from, don't shoot yourself in the foot by buying so much food for your room. You then miss out on affordable local establishments that you might come to love. Plan your meals according to if you at least want one or two nights of staying in. I know that sounds crazy, since you're on vacation, but there are some occasions when you might not feel up to hitting another night out on the town. Plus, don't forget room service can be quite expensive if you do have one of those "stay in" nights. Also, buy a few snacks and drinks just in case you are one of those that sometimes like to graze between meals. This cuts down on buying pricey meals that you only want half or less of. And lastly, if you do realize you will save more by preparing your own meals, go grocery shopping as soon as possible before you begin to settle into your accommodations. If you wait too far into your vacation you risk again buying too much food or giving in to ordering high priced foods at your resort or the highly priced restaurants that may surround you.

Eating in Town vs. Being Served by Your Waiter, Pierre

Let’s face it, room service can be very expensive and so can eating at a fancy restaurant that’s within your resort or hotel. Don’t be afraid to ask a cab driver or locals where a good affordable restaurant is in town. Chances are high that they can point you in the right direction of good food with great prices.

For many vacationers "staying on the resort" is the only way to vacation. Well the trade off to that is that they miss out on great restaurants with cheaper pricing, better ambiance and possibly better food than what is served at the resorts that they so highly deem as the way to vacation. But for those on a budget get out there and see what nearby restaurants may offer you. You might be surprised at what you find out and what fast becomes your new local hangout.

Don't Be An Eager Beaver

Yes, you want to get a souvenir for Aunt Jean, Uncle Pete and dirty-minded Cousin Jerry but don't be so eager to buy the first things you see. Especially when it comes to shopping at flea markets, souvenir shops or heaven forbid the expensive gift shop where you are staying (for saving, avoid this one like the plague). Out of the three you're more than likely to find something for a decent price at a flea market but don't just settle on one. If you have time, scope out a few places first. Most places have the same cookie cutter items but not all have the same prices. Where one place carries that singing fish for $24.99, you might find that same freaky fish for $20.99. Though only 4 dollars saved, that 4 bucks can get Aunt Jean something a little bit nicer when put with the money you were going to spend on her. This advice might not be the same for one-of-a-kind pieces but one still shouldn't settle on the first thing seen. For all you know the store next door could have something more unique. If you're not sure on whether to purchase an item for fear of seeing something better, ask the seller to hold it for you for 24 hours or so. That way you know it will be there for you if you don't see anything better. Bottom line is, no one should ever be too lazy to comparison shop no matter where they are. You're on vacation! You have nothing but time. You don't have sacrifice your trip to find these cheaper finds but just be aware when you happen into a store or two and get an idea of their price differences.

They Go High, You Go Low

Haggling. Enough said. Many people have an embarrassment towards this “skill” but those that do not, save bucks. If you are vacationing where haggling is acceptable in the game of shopping at local businesses, do not be afraid to go after what you want for the price that you want. There is no harm in trying to get something for cheaper than what is offered if the opportunity presents itself. Just give it a try. There's a certain high associated with it. Knowing that you just talked someone down from $15 to $10 or less is an exhilarating feeling. Though, you shouldn't get out of hand with this new found skill of yours. At the end of the day, you do have to remember these merchants are trying to pay their own bills and put food on the table for their families just like you.

Buy Before Ya Fly

Make sure you buy all the things you might need for your vacation before you take your trip whether it be clothes down to bathroom products. Doing so can help you curb your need for buying things where you are vacationing. If you aren’t aware of the price difference between where you live and where you are headed you could be in for a sticker shock if you need to purchase something that could have been brought from or bought at home for cheaper. On another note, don’t forget to pack everything that you just bought for your trip either. Forgetting those items will only force you to have to purchase them over again. Now you’ve just spent twice as much on one item unnecessarily.That’s IF the item doesn’t cost more in the place you’re vacationing. And, that's If they even have it at all.

Be wise when it comes to saving money on your vacation. Pay attention to where all your money is going. Don’t fall for merchants trying to get you to buy their goods unless it’s something really unique and it has some use. Be careful not to buy the first thing you see. Make your own meals or find local restaurants that are within your budget. If you can, haggle your way to a cheaper price. It may just save you 2 or 3 bucks but that’s 2 or 3 bucks more in your pocket. And lastly, buy what you need before going on your vacation. It can save you from buying it at a more expensive price as well as prevent you from impulse shopping.


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    • bydojo profile image

      Ramona Jar 4 years ago from Romania

      Thank you ;)

      Will keep you guys posted with my findings there, can't wait to take a gazillion of pics.

      We went there in 2008 and 2009 and a meal for 2 at lunch time could easily go to 40-50 Euro. That means quite a lot, especially if you're staying there more than few days. By purchasing ingredients and preparing our own sandwiches or breakfast/dinners at least, we can seriously cut costs.

    • NiaG profile image

      NiaG 4 years ago from Louisville, KY

      Thanks! Wow Croatia! I've always bought groceries for snacking. You're right , 3 meals a day can be quite costly if you're trying to maintain a budget. Especially for a 2 week or longer vacation. There's absolutely nothing wrong with making your own turkey sandwich while staying in paradise. :-) Thanks for commenting. Enjoy your trip!

    • bydojo profile image

      Ramona Jar 4 years ago from Romania

      Excellent advice.

      we're preparing for a 3 week vacation in Croatia (near Dubrovnik). We'll prepare our meals in the mornings/evenings (since we have access to a Lidl store and also a nice kitchen) and maybe sometimes lunch. eating out can be very expensive. We'll surely dine out from time to time, but not 3 meals in a day.

      I don't buy souvenirs unless there's something really nice. I don't buy for friends/relatives either. Most of the time we used to fly to locations and we couldn't afford pack too much 'junk' when we could barely fit our own stuff.

    • NiaG profile image

      NiaG 4 years ago from Louisville, KY

      Why thank you very much! Hope some of these have come in handy for you in your past or future travels. You have a good day!

    • Elias Zanetti profile image

      Elias Zanetti 4 years ago from Athens, Greece

      Nice tips for anyone on budget vacation.