50 Ways to Save Money on Your Next Vacation

Photo credit: Margalit Sturm Francus, Autism TravelingMom

Traveling with your family doesn’t have to cost you an arm and a leg if you know how to use Internet resources and budget correctly. In many cases by following simple tips, you might discover that you’ll actually minimize your costs while maximizing the value you get.


  • Join associations, credit unions and groups like AAA and Costco and ask about their travel discounts.
  •  When traveling abroad, order foreign currency at your bank ahead of time.
  •  Apply for a credit card that doesn’t charge any currency exchange fees
  •  Apply for a credit card that provides car rental insurance.
  • Look for travel packages that bundle airfare, cruises and hotels on sites like Expedia.com
  • Use Ebates.com or other sites that provide cash back for travel purchases.


  •  Head on to the local 99 cents store for travel supplies.`
  •  Become an efficient packer and learn to travel with carry-on solely to avoid airline luggage fees.


  •  If you travel frequently get access to the airport lounge through credit card or airline status instead of buying food at airport.
  • Apply for a credit card that lets you accrue airline miles.
  • Some airlines like United let you ‘lock in ‘ a flight price for up to week for a couple of bucks and no penalty while you look for a cheaper alternative.
  • Set a price watch for airfares through kayak.com or other websites to be notified of cheaper fares.

    50 Ways to Save Money on Your Next Vacation

    Photo credit: Margalit Sturm Francus, Autism TravelingMom

Hotel Stays

  • Join loyalty programs for freebies like Wi-Fi and bottled water.
  • Apply for a credit card that lets you accrue hotel points.
  •  Shop at the hotel chain’s virtual mall to accrue extra points (some stores can give up to ten points per dollar spent.)
  • Call the hotel directly and ask for discounts and any upgrades that can include larger rooms and even executive lounge access.
  • Consider buying executive lounge access with points or cash since it still might save you money on breakfast, snacks, drinks or even dinner.
  • Book a room in hotel chains that offer a fifth night free when you redeem on points to maximize the value of your reward points.
  • If you don’t have enough points look for chains that offer cash and points like Marriott and SPG.
  • Participate in Internet surveys to accrue additional hotel points.
  • Ask housekeeping to remove any minibar products to prevent being charged for incidentals.
  •  Ask to block pay per view movies and 1-900 calls at check in to prevent additional charges especially when traveling with kids.


  • Look for advertised local deals for restaurants on sites like Groupon.com, LivingSocial.com, Yelp.com and Travelzoo.com to use at your intended destination.
  • Find venues that offer a happy hour menu as an alternative to an early dinner.
  • Order half portions or kid’s meals if you are not too hungry.
  • Check for restaurant coupon books or two for one offers offered at your hotel.
  • Find restaurants that offer family platters.
  • Seek out restaurants that offer prix fix or menu of the day deals.
  • Check for places that offer ‘kids eat free ‘deals.
  •  Go for a late lunch rather than an early dinner and take the rest of the food in a ‘to go’ box to eat later.
  • Purchase ‘take out’ food at the local supermarket if you have one nearby.


50 Ways to Save Money on Your Next Vacation

Photo credit: Margalit Sturm Francus, Autism TravelingMom

Visiting Attractions

  •  Buy package tickets for attractions ahead of time on line –they are usually cheaper and will save you time when you get to your destination.
  • Consider purchasing passes for several days instead of just one for theme parks, as they are cheaper with parks like Disney, Universal Studios and Sea World.
  • Research the destinations you plan to visit ahead of time and read forums for tips from locals.
  • Remember to bring student cards and membership cards during travel. Check for family rates and disabled rates
  • Download free info and mobile apps about sites instead of taking paid tours.
  • Many museums offer free entry on certain days.
  • Buy yearly museum membership that offers reciprocity at other museums in other states.
  • Take free walking tours when offered.

Car Rental

  • Join the major car rental companies loyalty programs and sign up for promotions.
  • Call the local car rental branch directly and ask for discounts.

Photo credit: Margalit Sturm Francus, Autism TravelingMom


  • Stay away from sodas, coffees and alcohol as much as possible since those charges can really add up.
  • Don’t be tempted to buy souvenirs onboard-you can find most items cheaper in the ports of call.
  • Crave logo souvenirs? Participate in on board games for a chance to win.
  • Don’t buy the photographs and video sold by the cruise line. Bring your camera and take your own.

Cell Phone usage

  • Block data roaming on your phone while you are still on US soil and check continuously that it stays off!
  • When traveling internationally look into buying a local phone card when you arrive at your destination.
  • Use online services like Skype, Whatsapp and Voxer to communicate via Wi-Fi instead of phone service.

Purchasing souvenirs

  • Never buy souvenirs in ‘touristy’ areas or airports as they are usually priced higher than in small mom and pop stores and local markets.
  • Establish a set budget and stick to it especially when traveling with kids.

50 Ways to Save on Your Next Vacation