Trips can be costly, but here are a few things I did to save money on our trip:
1.) I shopped around the internet for the best hotel price. That meant checking sites such as expedia.com and travelocity.com. Also, don’t forget to call the hotel directly and check the hotel chain’s website. In my case, the best rate I received was from the hotel’s website. Also, don’t forget to use any discounts available – this trip was the first time I’ve used my AAA card ;). Note: If you are not picky with the amenities available at the hotel, sometimes it pays to not book your lodging and then just shop around when you arrive at your destination. When we went on our honeymoon, we didn’t book any lodging in advance. We were able to get a kitchen suite room complete with a nice big hot tub for $80/night that way.
EDITED TO ADD: Here’s a comment from a visitor regarding the above: “I work for a travel agency, and the one thing that I would advise for your first tip is that if you are going to take a chance (which, as you say, sometimes pays off big time)â€¦ make sure there isnâ€™t a big convention in town or something.”Â Thanks Steve for mentioning that!Â 🙂
2.) All drinks and snacks for the drive were purchased ahead of time to take advantage of sales prices and quanity discounts. Small purchases at the gas station can really add up, and I noticed the prices for 20oz soft drinks were running $1.29 each. For $4.44 plus deposit, I bought two 20oz 6-packs on sale (don’t worry – mine was caffeine-free ;)).
3.) Plan…plan…plan. We made a list of everything we needed for our trip. We started the list a few days in advance and wrote down everything we could think of. Then, as we packed we would cross things off the list. I am usually horrible with remembering all of my grooming products, but this trip went smoothly and I didn’t have to purchase anything due to my forgetfulness.
4.) We do not buy travel-sized products. Instead, we used reuseable containers and plastic bags to hold our normal sized items. Yes, it takes up a little bit more space, but if you look at those travel-sized products on a cost per unit basis, they are very expensive.
5.) We used the items provided by the hotels and took the leftovers home with us. The fancy hotel we stayed at even had mouthwash in a neat little container. Now that it’s home with us, we’ll use the mouthwash and then reuse the bottle for our next trip.
That’s all I can think of at the moment. I’m sure I’ll think of more later.
I work for a travel agency, and the one thing that I would advise for your first tip is that if you are going to take a chance (which, as you say, sometimes pays off big time)… make sure there isn’t a big convention in town or something. I’ve heard stories that were hilarous about people being totally unable to find a room in tiny towns and even New York (nothing less than $1000 / night was available in NY).
If all the hotels have tons of availability, then sure, sometimes you’ll get a great deal.
On our last trip our first stop once we got there was Walmart. You can unload the car and the run and get things that you will need and use during the stay, without much if any extra cost. Traveling with two yound boys this was veryhelpful in being able to buy milk and such without needed to worry about coolers. The nice thing with walmart is since they are all similar you can still need your stuff quickly and get back to your vacation.
Nice list; I think the main thing that you need to remember when planning on any trip is be prepared. Being prepared can save you tons’ of money. Especially bringing your own drinks/food for the road.
The new kind of eco bags is surprisingly good. These green bags can be fold into a very cute strawberry or even an animal. Our kids love the strawberry bags a lot since we put some candies on the eco bags and fold them. At the same time, we are teaching our kids on how to avoid using any plastic bags at all time when we have these little cute green supply strawberry bags.