I have to admit I love to travel as much as the next person. Spending days scrolling through peoples Instagram feeds watching them travel all around the world I am extremely envious.
Although I do love to travel at this point in my life our family is not independently wealthy enough to travel to all the places we would like, so theirs that, oh and yeah life gets in the way as well. As much as I love to travel with my family there is no who hates to spend money as much as me. So it is safe to say I am always looking ways to save money. Here are the ways I save money while on vacation.
Living in Florida certainly has it’s benefits as it is very easy to take a staycation to so many different destinations.
When it comes to vacation or stay-cationing. Two of your biggest expenses will be lodging and food luckily for you we have you covered there.
Dining Out/ Food Let’s first talk about my favorite as well as many other peoples favorite thing to do and that is EAT! I can’t remember the last time I paid full price for a meal at a restaurant. Many people already know about Groupon and in case you don’t please do yourself a solid and check them out. You can almost always find a great deal on a restaurant but they even have deals on travel and other things you can save. The other one I am surprised more people don’t know about is restaurant.com this is by far my favorite and the one I spend the most on because the savings are huge and have a lot bigger selection of places to eat. The only drawback is if you are travelling alone they do have a spending amount limit usually which requires to spend a certain amount. But if you have a family this should not be a problem.
Accommodations Okay now that we are no longer hangry let’s talk about your temporary home aka lodging,accommodations,vrbo,hotel, or whatever you want to call it. As I said earlier I don’t have the pocketbook of Warren Buffet so it is safe to say I have never stayed at a Ritz Carlton but perhaps someday you never know right? To the universe I am putting it out there #justsayin.
Although i’m not living the high life I also don’t like to be in a place where bringing your own sheets was a wise decision, so you can say when it comes to lodging I am a middle of the road type of guy. So I like to look for value when it comes to accommodations. If it is a stay-cation we are usually staying at a hotel but if it is going to be a week or longer then most likely the most value will come with a vacation rental by owner.
My go to site for hotels is definitely hotels.com and I will tell you why. Most of the times when I have checked multiple websites including hotels.com they are usually the lowest or the same price as all the big portal websites. The first thing you need to do in order to save is signup for their rewards program. Two reasons is one you will find better deals if you are a member and number two which is the reason I love hotels.com is they will give a free night after you complete ten days booked with them. Another bonus is they offer price match guarantees as well as price change notifications.
The alternative to a hotel would be a vacation rental by owner aka VRBO. What other site to check out than VRBO which is the largest vacation rental by owner portal. There are pros and cons with VRBO just like anything else. The pro’s are that there is a large selection of rentals to choose from and you will find all types of accommodations like condo’s villas, single family homes and more. The biggest con is they charge a service fee and each individual owners have their own additional fees like cleaning fees, etc. Don’t get discouraged though when you browse each specific property just select your dates and they will provide you with what all the total fees will be for your stay. In many cases even with the additional fees the cost’s can be lower than staying at hotel and you can find a home or condo that will accommodate the number of people in your family or party.
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Transportation I was never a cab type of guy I only would get into one as last resort but with the invention of Uber and Lyft which typical costs half the price are cleaner and friendlier drivers. This is a great way to get around while you are on vacation. You have to weigh how much and the distances you will travelling it may be more beneficial than renting a car. If you do rent a car I always find Enterprise to be competitive.
For those who are perhaps doing a stay-cation or travelling to different areas of Florida. The new trend is to go by luxury bus. These buses are not your ordinary motor-coaches they are beautiful luxury style buses that include WiFi. Don’t be fooled by the luxury in some cases you can go across the state as low $5 each way.For example I found a fare that was $1 from Tampa to Miami and $5 from Miami to Tampa there is a $2.50 service fee so the total was $8.50 round trip. Are you kidding me? You would spend double that just in gas plus you don’t have to drive, you can relax and play on Instagram or your favorite social network on the way. Sign me up! I have not been on one as of yet but it is on the bucket list and will let you know my experience when I do. There is a catch if you are looking to book last minute you most likely will not find these low rates. You need to book in advance and be a little flexible to get these rock bottom prices. The two bus services I recommend is Megabus.com and Red Coach. Check them out for sure!
Tour Buses Another great way to get around the cities is by tour buses. These buses not only provide you with a narrated tour of the cities landmarks and places to see. You can hop on and off at different areas at your convenience. So instead of paying Uber or a taxi just utilize the tour bus as your own personal taxi service.
Cash Back Cards With Coupon Apps. Since I have always been skeptical about things like free surveys to make money, get paid to shop, etc that I get barraged with in my inbox daily, I was hesitant to do anything with coupon apps. I recently started to use a shopping app called Ibotta. It is very easy to use and it really does give you cash back on items that you shop for every week in your grocery store. You simply add the offers they have at your favorite stores. My two biggest stores is Publix and Walmart. Then you purchase the items and scan the receipt when you get home and they then put the cash back savings into your account. Once you have $20 you can have the money sent to your Paypal account or choose from a bunch of different gift cards from your favorite retail store. Hotels.com is even on there which is what I use to save even further on my travel accommodations. Folks this one is a no brainer. Everyone has to shop for food so you might as well get some money back while in the process. You even get $10 just for signing up.
Bonus Tip: There is a new travel app that offers the same as the groceries but you get cash back when you travel and book your hotel and or airfare through Spent Travel. I have yet to utilize this app but will be giving it a try soon.