There are plenty of well-known ways to save money on your vacation, such as booking flights and hotels online, cashing in credit card rewards, or eating the free breakfast in your motel. But there are also some less obvious ways to save money on your family vacay… many of which you might not have considered.
Here are a few of our favorite tips, so you can make every dollar stretch just a little bit further on your next getaway.
Simply keeping track of your outgoing cash flow is a surprisingly effective way to save money. All you have to do is keep a notebook and write down how every dollar is spent, immediately after it is spent.
This practice does two things. First, it helps you stay on your budget, because you will no longer be estimating how much money is left in your wallet. Second, you will quickly see how much money you’re frittering away on worthless claptrap. These two effects are purely psychological, but you’ll be amazed at how well they work.
Put the kids (and yourself) on a souvenir budget
You probably enjoy indulging your kids when you’re on vacation. But rather than whipping our your wallet every time the kids ask, give them a daily budget for souvenirs. It will force them to make better choices, and it will limit the nick on your budget. Let them “save up” the budget if they want something big on the last day of your trip, of if they’d rather carry the cash home.
To be honest, though, you might also like the idea of picking up special little mementos along the way. For instance, my mom always used to get us kids keychains whenever we went to a new ski resort as children. Maybe you’re the type to grab a snow globe to remind you all of that trip up Mt. Rainier. But think about it for a moment… where are those knick-knacks going? Will those really be the things that spark memories of your family travels, or is there something less commercial (and cheaper) that will have more nostalgic value?
Put your hard-earned money away and try to only spend it on the truly special keepsakes. Set a budget for yourself and don’t go over it, no matter how enticing that tchotchke may be. (However, definitely splurge for that overpriced photo at the entrance of Disney — how often do you really get your entire family in one picture, smiling and wearing mouse ears?)
Learn More: Teaching Kids About Money
Go for the free souvenirs
Completely eliminate the souvenir budget by collecting the countless free souvenirs you can find on nearly every vacation. These can be as simple as you want, and are often the things that we look back on fondly anyway, when revisiting our travel memories….
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