Next week we are taking a road trip to visit Jessica and her family, because of this I thought I would share some of our families tips for saving money while on vacation.
Since San Jose is a 16 hour road trip from Everett we always spend one night in Oregon along the way. If we had friends or family we would definately make a call and see if we could spend a night but since we don’t we find a reasonable priced hotel along our route. I check out all the travel sites before going and find the best priced hotel that is right off the freeway (so we are not wasting extra gas) about the distance we are planning to drive that day. We look for coupon codes and book the hotel ahead of time to get the best rate.
Driving vs. Flying
We always look at how much driving vs flying would be when planning our trip. For our family of four to fly it would be over $1000.00 in air fare alone, not to mention the cost of car rental and checked baggage so most of the time if a trip is less than 20 hours our family will drive. I figure the cost of gas to get to CA and home, even with rising gas costs should be around $600.00 so we will be saving $400.00 by driving and also have our car. If you are a family of one or two this may not be the most cost effective route for you but for us it definately is.
Stick to the Speed Limit
With gas costs rising, to save on gas we set our cruise control to 60 MPH and then we are set. If you stay at or below 60 MPH you will get much better gas mileage on your trip.
We are bringing a cooler with all our own food in it for the trip. This will save us time, and money. Each time you stop for a meal you are spending 30 min to 1 hour ordering, waiting and eating. We are going to bring sandwich stuff for our lunches and for dinner I am going to make homemade lunchables for the kids (I don’t like buying the processed kind) and for my husband and I we will have big salads and lots of snack foods. Breakfasts are part of the hotel cost, since we always look for a hotel that has free continental breakfast. I figure that by packing our meals we will be able to save about $100 to $200 over the course of our trip.
Find Free or Cheap Entertainment
Look for free or cheap entertainment in the area you are traveling to. When we visited San Jose last time we went to San Fransisco and saw the Golden Gate Bridge, we also went to the San Fransisco Zoo and since we have a membership to our local zoo we got half price admission for our whole family. Most memberships have discounts of free admission for recipricol memberships so check ahead of time to see if you can use your memberships to get an inexpensive day trip on your vacation.
Look for Groupons in the city you are visiting. Groupons can offer great deals so start watching the Groupon site of the city you will be visiting a couple months before your visit. You may find something you were already planning to do at a great discount.
There are many ways to enjoy a family vacation without breaking the bank. Be creative and remember that vacations are about making memories and enjoying your family. As long as you are doing those two things you don’t have to spend a fortune to make a vacation fun.