Here is a CBS 13 Sacramento news segment I was featured in with a couple other bloggers with Vacation Savings Tips! There are SO MANY ways to save money!
Planning a vacation this Summer? Traveling with kids? As a mom of 7 I am going to share with you some tips that have helped me through the years -and some things I wish I knew before!
1. If you use a credit card, do you have one where you earn rewards or points? We have a Hilton American Express where we accumulate points for hotel rooms. We also have a Southwest VISA where we accumulate points for flights. We don’t always have enough for our whole trip-but many times it has helped cut the expense!
WARNING: If you are not disciplined in paying your credit cards off, these can be very high interest and you may end up paying more in interest than what a hotel would actually cost. I have fallen into bad habits and realized that the hard way-so this tip is for the disciplined! FYI- HIlton Embassy Suites is our family favorite for their full breakfast buffet (included)!
2. Depending on the attraction you are visiting-neighboring hotels may have tickets and events included as part of a package which may save you even more. I have seen this at Great America, Magic Mountain-and even the Disney Hotels have packages that include the hotels and passes. This may also give you additional benefits!
3. I have a larger family and as they are getting older-hotels can seem a little cramped-or expensive getting multiple rooms. You can check out vacation rental homes or Air BNB for local houses to rent. This can help your food expenses as well because you can go to the grocery store and stock up and eat before and after for less!
4. Find out if your hotel has a shuttle to and from where you are going if it is not within walking distance. If they have a shuttle you may be able to avoid paying for parking! Sometimes even an Uber or Lyft to your location may be cheaper than the parking fee.
1. Check if the attraction or park you are attending will allow outside food and drinks. Bringing bottled water and snacks with you can save a great deal of money (and time standing in line). If not-plan your meals and snacks BEFORE you enter!
2. If you are staying in a hotel-make sure it includes breakfast! With a big family we save lots of money just for breakfast alone! I tell the kids to eat up because we are only eating once in the park. Then we will eat dinner after we are done (if it closes early) If the park is open until Midnight then you may have to plan for a 2nd meal in the park.
3. Kids meals- many times the kids meals are close to the same size as the adult meals-but cheaper! Often they come with a drink too! My teen girls never eat all of their food anyways. Also, you can split meals too. You aren’t going to be able to bring leftovers home so you can maybe have the smaller kids split something and then they can have a snack if they are still hungry. Also a huge pretzel could be quite filling to hold you until dinner-and cheaper than a meal!
4. Buy the refillable cups, popcorn, anything. If you have the refillable items buy them right away. Then you will avoid buying extra snacks-and avoid the constant asking if they can have something else. Plus-they can share!
1. Look for packages when you book a hotel and see if the tickets are included!
2. Look for discount coupons and promotions at fast food restaurants, grocery stores, etc. I saw $8 off Raging Waters coupons at the check stand at Smart & Final. May seem small, but if you start looking you will start noticing the offers around you.
3. Check the Season Pass prices! You may have to spend a little bit extra at the beginning-but it could provide you with multiple trips and family time without spending extra money later! You also won’t have to keep buying souvenirs, or staying as long for visits when you know you can come back at anytime! And-if they have parking passes- buy one! Six Flags Discovery Kingdom Season Passes are on sale this Memorial Day Weekend and it includes a free parking pass! GO HERE for details!
1. Ok- this one only works for little kids. This is an example from what I did. Before we went to Legoland I went to Target and bought T-shirts with Lego guys on them for $8 and a small lego set. When we got to the hotel I gave them to my boys! They got to wear their Lego shirts IN Legoland, and they knew that when we got back to the room they got to build a Lego set! They didn’t ask for souvenirs because they already had them! I spent less than $20 per kid that trip on souvenirs! I miss them being little…
2. Older kids- If they are going to want souvenirs and it is in your budget-give them a set amount of money. Say “Here is $30 for souvenirs”. Then they get to decide without asking you for random stuff throughout the day or being mad that you said no because it was too expensive.
Whatever your budget, if you plan ahead you will spend less. If you do have a budget-try to communicate that to everyone so the arguments may not come up. I have had to tell my kids ” We can go- but this is what we actually have the money for” and then if they agree to it and know ahead of time-they are totally fine.
Many times we just go to a beach. I can bring all my own food and the sand and waves are FREE! But-for those times you want to go BIG- spend time planning and saving. My kids know that we are going to go to Disneyland in September and we have a plan of what we want to do there. So, we needed a few extra months to prepare and save. Since they know that-they will easily support me when I say-let’s just go to the beach a few times in the summer so we can save our money for Disneyland! Then it is a family project too!
Feel free to add to the list in the comments-or email me Diana@pantryoverflow.com if you have any feedback or questions!!!