For many people, family vacations are not cheap. That stands true for us, especially this year. I am full-time student and my husband is staying at home with the kids, so we currently don’t really have an income. But this time of year, when my seasonal affective disorder likes to kick in, I have to head south to warm weather, beaches, and sunshine.
So, I planned our upcoming trip using my own practical tips to make the most out of our upcoming vacation on a budget:
While staying at a LaQuinta Inn in Nashville while visiting my friend several months ago, I saw the advertisement for both their reward card and their Wyndham Rewards credit card, so I decided to sign up. It offered huge incentives for meeting spending milestones in the first six months, so we decided to use that card for practically everything (and pay it after) and have earned enough for five free nights and then some. This ended up being enough to cover all of the nights we planned for this trip! Don’t want a new credit card? The hotel rewards themselves still give you points for stays at their hotel chains as well as other ways to earn reward points such as using service and companies with which they are in a partnership. I have the Wyndham Reward’s card, but nearly every hotel chain offers a loyalty program.
Another often affordable accommodation option is Airbnb or other rental sites. You can usually find smaller lodgings or even some that may be a little bit farther than the main attractions of the area for a very reasonable price!
Alternatively, if you’re feeling outdoorsy, you can try staying at a campground!
If you are looking for a way to get discounts on different activities at your vacation destination, there are a few different options:
- If you currently have a membership to the zoo or the aquarium, they might participate in a program that gives you either free or half price admission to different zoos and aquariums across the country.
- If you happen to happen to have SNAP benefits, they participate in a program called Museums for All, which gives participants a highly discounted rate to many museums across the country, including many children’s museums.
- Look for other coupon codes and discounts. Follow the pages on social media for activities that you interested in and sign up for their email newsletters where they will share different promotions they are offering.
- Also, check Groupon; they offer many activity tickets for a discounted rate.
The best things in life are free, right? Check out free activities in the area you are visiting! This can include the beach, parks, and pools! Sometimes there are local museums that are free. Last time we visited St. Petersburg, we found a local history museum that had free admission.
How many times have you bought a cute beachy outfit for vacation and only wore it once because you would stand out like a sore thumb wearing it in Tennessee? That happened my last vacation when I spent more than I should have on a couple of outfits. My solution? SHEIN. Not only do they have inexpensive and very cute bathing suits, but I have had quite a bit of luck with their clothes as well. Are they the best quality? No, but they are cute, super cheap, and will suit you well on your next getaway.
Vacation food costs can add up, especially when you want to eat at unique places in the area. Our solution for this vacation was when family members asked what we wanted for Christmas, we told them money so we can enjoy our vacation to its fullest. If that isn’t an option, alternatives are bringing/buying your own food at the store or eating at less expensive chain restaurants. Another thing that will greatly save you money on food is staying at a hotel that includes breakfast.
Win a Vacation (Or Parts of It)
We usually vacation in and around St. Petersburg, Florida, so I follow a page on Instagram that gave away a vacation for it. Did I win? No, that would have been nice, BUT someone did win and got a free vacation. So, follow pages on social media for your favorite vacation destinations — you never know if you might win! On a happier note though, I was blessed enough to win a $50 gas gift card that I will be using for us to get to our destination.