Everyone likes to save a buck or two, especially on a vacation or at least planning for a vacation. You want to splurge on some big items and save money elsewhere. Regardless of where you’re going, saving a little bit of money on vacation means that you’ll have that money either when you get home or to spend on something you really want while on vacation.
Here are 10 great money-saving tips for traveling, saving for your vacation and while you’re on vacation.
#1. Travel like a local, not a tourist.
This is one of my favorite tips and something that we do on just about every vacation. We really find out where the locals eat, hang out and fun things that they do that may not be on of the latest brochure. Talk to more people than simply your hotel concierge, who probably gets paid to recommend certain “touristy” places. Talk to your cab driver, local waitresses, waiters and hosts at nearby restaurants, or simply travel outside the main tourist area of the city and talk to some locals that may have set up some streetcar from the side of the road or food trucks. This is a great way to find some fun, eventful and unusual things to do and places to eat, stay and have fun.
#2. Stay in a privately owned condominium or home.
Instead of going with big hotels or resorts which can be pricey, many people have contacted owners directly and stated their particular condominiums or rented them out for the week. You might be able to save quite a bit of money by finding a local that has a rental that they provide for visitors. This is a great way to save money and you might get some of those a local tips from the owner as well.
#3. Plan your meals ahead of time.
Figure out where you want to go, what you want to eat and set your budget. Consider about $30-$50 per day per person if you’re planning on going out. If you’re renting a condominium, house or apartment that have the kitchen, you can plan your meals accordingly and consider eating at least one or two meals a day in your condominium or house. This can save a lot of money. You can also go to big box store such as Sam’s Club or Costco and buy in bulk so you’re ready to go once you get to your destination.
#4. Be smart with car rentals.
One way car rentals are sometimes twice the price of standard rentals. Check to see if your insurance or credit card covers rental coverage so you don’t have to pay extra for it from the car rental facility. You might also consider getting a smaller car which can save you money as well. If you’re traveling with kids call the rental car company to ask about car seat rentals that may be a lot more convenient and less expensive than bringing your own. Check for coupon codes from rental companies or contact your insurance, credit cards or AAA to find out if they have discounts on car rentals.
#5. Use alternate forms of transportation.
Taxi cab alternatives such as Uber can save a lot of money, especially if you’re traveling around large cities. You might also consider taking the slower transportation such as a bus ride or train. Using the subway or buses can save a lot of money over taxis or specialty cars. Also, if you’re only going an hour or two away by flight it might be beneficial to drive. You could drive it in about 5 to 7 hours and save a lot of money, especially if you’re traveling with a lot of people.
Read more: How to Plan a Romantic Beach Vacation
#6. Consider staying just off the beaten path.
Staying in city or close to the beach will usually be the most expensive but if your hotel has access to the beach or a shuttle to and from the beach you can save a lot of money by choosing a hotel, apartment or condominium resort that’s off the beaten path. You might even consider staying in one of the nearby cities that is not as popular but a lot less expensive. Plan your vacation to find out what you’ll be doing so that you’ll know if this option makes sense.
#7. Consider walking.
Walking is a great way to learn about an area or the city in ways that you wouldn’t even notice from the seat on the bus or from the view from a car. If you can get to a lot of local destination simply by walking, choose this option as it will save you a lot of money.
#8. Be flexible with travel days.
If you don’t care when you’re going on vacation but you know that you want to go, ask your travel agent about the best times to go for particular areas. Spring break is a popular time for Panama City Beach so discounts can be tricky and hotels are typically booked. Finding an off-season time that still comfortable for you, your budget and your family could save you a lot of money.
#9. Check discounts before leaving.
Websites such as Groupon, Living Social and other similar sites could offer a lot of discounts and coupons for events and activities once you are in your destination. To save even more money you might call the participating business and ask if they’ll take the discount price without actually buying through the website. Businesses and companies pay these discount sites additional money so by asking for the discount without going through the website will also save them money and make it to even more off of the price.
Age discounts, student discounts and membership discounts are also great at attractions like theme parks, museums and certain activities. Talk about group discounts if you’re going with a large group and of course, talk to the locals about the best way to save money when you’re on vacation.
#10. Try to avoid hidden fees
Hotels, resorts, tours and even sometimes restaurants will tack on hidden fees, gratuity charges, insurance and similar extra costs. Make sure you ask about all of these before signing up. Also, you can always ask for a discount. Just because the state certain fees doesn’t mean that you cannot negotiate.
Saving money while on vacation does take a little bit of work and effort but can pay off in a savings of hundreds if not thousands of dollars depending on where you’re going and how many people are in your party. Take a little bit of time, find some great deals and discounts and be a savvy tourist.
Looking for some great deals in Panama City Beach Florida? Start your online search here for all discounts and deals when vacationing in Panama City Beach.