Hey girl. Hey.
I am the queen of not spending money but still being very fortunate to take many trips throughout the year. I’m writing you this article from the patio of Tybee Island. Lately I’ve gotten a lot of requests and questions on this topic for tips n tricks so here is a quick + basic overview below. Enjoy!
Picking your Destination: It’s a no brainer that if you have flexible dates you are in a position to save more money. Avoid booking during peak times and you can save up to 50%. I do a heavy search for Airbnb or VRBO before booking. ANYTIME I book through Airbnb I ask if they can give me a discount or one night free. There’s no shame in that game and hosts typically say yes when it’s a longer stay.
The Kitchen will save you hundreds. I always book a place with a kitchen and grocery shop first thing once there. I try to have most of my breakfast and lunch meals at my stay, if not dinner and will pick a couple nights to go out for dinner/appetizers or a couple drinks. This also allows you to avoid gaining that extra 10 pounds on your trip.
Your Room: Our family vacations usually have a group of 5 and I still always book a one bedroom. A great ocean view is 100 times more important to me than size. Will you really be in your room when you’re at the beach or a beautiful destination? I find places that have a big bed and a pull-out couch option.
Shopping: It’s easy to get caught up in little boutique and trinket type stores and want to buy everything so I shop but I give myself a few hours or even a day to then go back and make those purchases and typically I end up not buying that item that I thought I had to have.
Excursions: Never think the price tag is the price you’ll pay. You can almost always ask for a certain price or a group discount on excursions like boat trips, jet skiing, historical tours, etc. I also always ask my waitress or a local of what they consider the top things are than relying on google.
Packing: If you drive you have the luxury of not paying for a suitcase and having a car at your disposable. You also have the luxury of packing a cooler of food. I always pack condiments and snacks to avoid having 2 things of ketchup/mustard, etc when I leave. Other things that don’t really fluctuate in price like a case of beer I’ll buy on-site but NEVER from the local market. Those tiny cute markets jack up the prices so opt for a real grocery store like Kroger or Harris Teeter.
Visit your Friends: Every year I make a few road trips to locations where I have friends so I avoid a plane ticket and a rental all together. I also have the luxury of using their kitchen and I just buy groceries for us as a thank you.
Flights: If you do need to fly always sign up for the reward points. Even if you don’t fly often these will eventually add up. I also know people who will sign up for a Delta credit card or any airline of choice and use that as their day to day credit card to rack up the points. I take my time searching all airlines and then use websites like Hipmunk that will pull a string of airlines. Again-if you’re flexible on dates and time you can save a boatload. We all pretty much know Fridays and Sundays will raise the price so see if you can steer clear of those days for departing and return flights. If you are super flexible some airlines will make announcements at the terminal for a flyer to volunteer to take a later flight for a credit. This has happened the last 4 times I’ve flown..just be sure to jump up right away if you want it! *If your hotel/lodging has a washer and dryer see if you can get away with a carry-on and just do laundry at your stay. Pack one meal with you to avoid eating unhealthy + expensive airport food. Take a water bottle and fill it up with water there or get a small coffee at Starbucks and ask for a Venti iced water (it’s free).
Hotel Stays: If you do need to book a hotel be sure to, again, sign up for reward points and use your Triple A discount when you make the reservation. Don’t have Triple A?…(they never ask for it anyhow, just sayn). Get the most out of your stay. Take advantage of the business center printing area if you have work to do, free toiletries, toilet paper, tissue box, continental breakfast (and stock up on fruit and mini cereal boxes for later). Yes, I’m serious. I also ALWAYS ask the front desk for a tooth brush and toothpaste. I hate traveling with my tooth brush and this is always free. You can also opt for places that have a mini fridge, coffee maker and microwave. What can you eat with that? You can buy edamame, popcorn, oatmeal, bottled water, juices/smoothies, tea, wraps, etc. Get creative and you can still eat healthy with a mini kitchen.
Work: Some of us have the ability to work remote and some do not. Either way, try to put in some extra hours at work the weeks prior so you aren’t an email checking stressed mess during your vaca week. See how much you can get done to offset your travel week. Do work on the plane or in the car (if you’re not the driver) and add that as another work day. Talk to your boss and see if they may allow you to work one or two days remote while there. Let them know everything you’ll be covering and get add extra data for $10 for that month only to your phone to act as a hot spot so you can work on the go. Maybe offer to still check email once in the AM and once in the PM and to take a couple conference calls for allowing you to work remote. Only you know if this will allow you to enjoy your trip to the max.
Other Shameless Tips n Tricks: Before I road trip it I stock up on napkins and mini condiment packets when dining out the month prior. This has helped avoid buying things like lemon juice, tobacco sauce, napkins/paper towels, ketchup, salt/pepper, pancake syrup, sugar, coffee creamer…you name it. I always washer detergent (if the place has a washer) and do my laundry the last day to have one less thing to do once home. Do not waste $20 buying travel sized anything. Use old containers from face creams etc to squeeze shampoo/face wash/lotion etc into. These “little” purchases add up. Skip the wanted mani/pedi prior and do it yourself.
The Essential Packing List:
*Try to stick to one main wardrobe color to avoid having to bring a black and brown purse, multiple going out shoes/sandals etc.
*Pack extra zip lock bags and garbage bags for dirty clothes, toiletries etc.
*Pack band aids/Advil/Dramamine/allergy meds, etc to avoid drug store trips and $$.
*Leave a little space for anything you might bring home.
*Get cash and quarters out from your local ATM to avoid fees.
*Your Airport snacks: hard boiled egg, trail mix, almond, fruit bars, apple, mini peanut butter
If you know someone going on an up coming trip or who is super cheap like us, send them this article;)
XO Rachel-The Beauty Boost