Hi! It’s Jilly. Summertime is here at last, so there’s one thing on everyone’s minds…VACATION! But, going on a fabulous trip can be expensive, especially when kids are involved! Here are a few tips to keep costs down on your vacation.
When looking for a hotel, check travel websites like Priceline, Orbitz, or Travelocity. We’ve had good luck with Priceline’s Express Deals. We got a room at the Best Western Plus right down the street from Universal Studios in Orlando for less than $40 a night! You can also call hotels you are interested in directly. Sometimes you can get a better deal through the actual hotel than through a site.
There are great campgrounds all over the country, and they are (almost) always cheaper than hotels. With a small investment upfront you can get a decent tent and sleeping bags, then save money for years to come! Most major cities have campgrounds, not just places “out in the woods”. In fact, there are three campgrounds in and around NYC! Check out Reserve America to find your perfect campsite, or the National Park Service.
You can always find fun things to do that are free or cheap! Visit local parks, hiking trails, or museums. If you have a zoo, museum, or science center membership where you live, see if there is a reciprocating facility where you will be vacationing. Many zoos and aquariums are part of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. Find out more about their Reciprocal Admissions Program. For the list of reciprocating science centers, visit ASTC’s website.
Brown Bag It
Eating out the whole trip can be costly, so plan your meals ahead of time, then take food with you or shop shortly after you arrive. Have plenty of snacks on hand so you aren’t tempted to hit up the drive-thru. If you want to eat out, look on the restaurant’s website for coupons or deals for signing up for their “club”. Does a member of your traveling party have a birthday within a month of the trip? Cash in on those birthday meal freebies!!
Have a great summer and enjoy those affordable vacations!
Jillian Robertson is the mom of eight-year-old triplets and the wife of a podiatry resident. She is the author of the blog Hi! It’s Jilly, where she shares crafts, recipes, useful tips, and entertaining anecdotes. In her “spare” time she enjoys singing and playing the piano, crafting, planning parties for friends, and watching way too much Food Network & HGTV. You can find her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and Google+.