Tuesday, October 18, 2011


This is an odd time to talk about vacations, but we're about to go to Indianapolis and it's on my mind.  This was written during our trip to Disney World, but I feel it's applicable to any trip and has been updated a bit.

Surely this is a hat for all occasions.
One of the most overpriced things on vacations (other than theme park food!) are souvenirs. Plus, you can't exit a ride or walk 50 yards without seeing entire stores devote to sparkly, fluffy, expensive crap.

A great way to save money is to wait to buy. Don't buy until the last day of your vacation or until the last day you know you'll be doing something like going to a theme park.  This way, you can scope out anything you just can't live without, and in some cases you find something you want more or find it cheaper elsewhere!

We've seen $15 water spraying hand-held fans. The same fans are in Wal-mart for $5, they are just lacking a little imagination. Try buying the fans at Wal-mart and then purchasing a $1 pack of stickers and decorating it yourself. Much cheaper than the anything sold in the park!

You can also do things like buy the Disney trading pins on ebay for a very discounted price.  Then you (or your kids) can trade them in the parks for the newest thing.  No need to spend $50 on the starter kits!

Yum yum! They were $9 though and I suspect they didn't taste very good.

The Wal-mart, Flea Market and pretty much any drug or grocery store in Florida is lined with entire aisles devoted to Disney themed items. We've gone to Disney discount warehouses where items were 50% off. It's awesome! Of course, you will probably be getting more generic Tigger items, but hey if you need to buy a gift for someone at home, that's definitely the way to go. 

Speaking of- don't buy gifts for everyone! I'm sorry, this is your vacation. This isn't buy-something-for-everyone-you-ever-met week. We often purchase a gift for the person taking care of our animals and possibly something as a Christmas gift for someone. 

Also remember- a vacation doesn't hinge on the stuff you buy. I've seen more adorable stuffed animals than I can shake a stick at. In 2 years, that $30 unicorn is going to end up in a yard sale for $1. In 5 years, if I remember it at ALL, I'll remember it as a huge waste of money. Instead, I prefer to collect one small thing- in this case I purchase a small ornament (preferably dated) wherever we go. For $8, I'll have this one small souvenir and at Christmas each year we can relive fun times we had at various places as we decorate the tree! Tim likes to purchase a drinking glass. We both seem to prefer useful items.  I just take pictures of the fun things I'd like to own but don't want to spend the money on.

I wanted this so bad.
My favorite souvenirs are pictures. I take a ton on my digital camera. Funny little signs, cute attractions, whatever catches my fancy. That reminds me much more of things we did than a $7 keychain or a $25 shirt.  I have even started taking pictures of things I kind of want to buy but don't want to spend the money on.

Don't freak out over spending any money on a little something. DO avoid spending $100 on junk though. Set a budget per person and stick to it- don't feel like you HAVE to spend the whole amount though. It'll be okay if you don't. Promise :).



  1. You are nicer then I am - our souvenirs are usually just pictures. We usually buy one of the refillable cups. Universal Hollywood is much cheaper then Disneyland. The all you can eat passes are nice too - I mean, they aren't valid everywhere in the part but at most places and if you eat 3 meals and 2 snacks there you have more then paid for the $20. We get annual passes to Ca theme parks. They consider us so Cal so it's cheaper then park hopper passes. An annual pass to Universal was $60 plus tax and we each got a free guest pass and they have since sent another. We have been twice and will go once more. Next year, we'll pick another park. (It helps being just a 2 - 2 1/2 hour drive from most So Cal theme parks of course - lol).

  2. Hahaha Tim would DIE if he wasn't allowed to buy a souvenir. Flat out die! It does help to be so close to parks! I think the biggest problem with going somewhere far away is you tend to overspend by thinking "What if I NEVER GET TO COME BACK?"