Monday, January 9, 2012

Offsetting Vacation Costs

I posted here that I like to try to offset our vacation costs as much as possible.  I wanted to share how I do that.

Cook in the room- This one is a biggie for us.  We are lucky in that we have a nice time share. If we use it, it has a full kitchen.  If we trade it in to go elsewhere, we can choose places that have full kitchens in the rooms.  A quick trip to the grocery store (with coupons, of course) and we can at least toss in a frozen pizza one night, or make sandwiches one day!  Plus it's a nice break from eating out  It's also healthier and really can make the difference on a week-long trip financially.

Take photos of things I want- This one is a lot of fun and way cheaper than simply buying everything you see.  I also don't end up with buyer's remorse when I get home, nor do I have to figure out how to cram it on the plane/in the car.  I did a big write up on this idea here.

Frugal car rentals-
This is one where Tim and I really differ.  Sometimes, we take trips that involve rental cars. He'd much rather pay the extra $20 a day and upgrade to a super cool car that he never gets to drive in real life.  He'd love to get a Challenger to drive around.  I'd rather get the cheapest thing possible- it probably also has the best gas mileage!  Just think, on a 7 day trip, that extra $20 turns in to $140.  Not to mention the gas costs.  Stick to a regular car.  After all, no one knows you in your vacation spot anyway.  If you really want to pretend you had a cool car, run by a car dealership and snap a few free photos.  Or just get over it,

Groupon- Once we figure out where we are headed, I go to Groupon and start checking out the deals in that city or the surrounding area.  Why not? You can end up with half off of something you really wanted to do anyway! Living Social is also a site I like to keep an eye on.

Transport- I offer transport for the bunnies!  Obviously this doesn't work out unless we are driving, but rabbit transport goes from $15-$35 depending on the person doing it. If you don't mind making a small pit-stop or two, it can really help out.  You can also transport other things- just use your imagination.  I do recommend only meaning in public areas though.

Coupon- I take my coupons on vacation with me! Not only that, I actively search out coupons for things I know we want to do or places we want to eat.  A few years ago I got my family week-long tickets to Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure for $99 a person.  My aunt went just two weeks before us and paid $150 for 2 days worth of tickets per member of her family. A little planning really does go a very, very long way.

Ebates- Ebates is my favorite way to save money on vacation.  It's a shopping portal.  Basically you sign up and then when you want to purchase something online, you go to You search for your store and it will tell you what % cashback you get when you click their link to open the store's website.  That's it!  The best part?  Groupon works with it.  All of your travel sites work with it.  That's right.  You could book your hotel through ebates- get money back.  Book your car through ebates- get money back.  You are being paid to plan the exact same vacation you were going to plan anyway! Why would you not? I've used ebates for several years now and have always been paid- I love it.

So there we have it.  Some of the ways I take the sting out of paying for vacation!


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