we're out on a family vacation and i thought i'd share some tidbits on how we save money while on vacation.
first, we go on a family vacation once a year with my in-laws. they own a timeshare, so the accommodations are totally taken care of. that saves us a bunch of money right off the bat. i know not everyone will be able to take advantage of such a situation, but being able to trim housing costs is a great way to save. visiting friends, going camping, and planning your vacation around hotel deals are alternative methods that we like to use when we're not mooching off of the in-laws.
second, we eat in a lot when we're vacationing. everyone pitches in a prepares a meal or two. yesterday, i made dinner for 10, which included all the trimmings of a bbq dinner for perhaps 30 or 40 bucks, with leftovers enough for today's lunch. if we had gone out to even to a casual dining restaurant, it would have easily been $100, but probably much, much more.
next, we don't shop for fun. i know a lot of people love shopping and a lot of people love to shop when they are on vacation. we're not big shoppers, so it's easy for us to not-shop while on vacation. now, we do go window shopping, especially if it's a famous landmark, but generally speaking, we don't end up buying a whole lot of stuff to take home with us.
museums, zoos, beaches, and parks are great places for outings and way less expensive than amusement parks. we love the outdoors and love walking and hiking, so we usually end up spending one day doing that type of thing. a quick stop at the grocery store on the way out to buy a sandwich (or even better: some bread, deli cuts, etc) and we're set for a day.
now, don't get me wrong, we definitely do enjoy ourselves and eat out and hit the big tourist attractions -- it would be wrong not too, but we just don't do it every day. and being able to trim just one of those days off a vacation could result in some decent vacation savings.