Thursday, July 5, 2018

8 Easy Ways to Save Money on Vacation

We just got back from a really fun road trip to Florida.  The kids did amazingly well in the car (13 hours each way) and we had the best time.  I felt like we hit a milestone where the kids were old enough to really enjoy the trip and their routines were pretty flexible.

We worked hard to plan ahead so we could save some money here and there.  All those little savings really add up!

Let me show you...

I look forward to going to the outlet malls every year when we go to the ocean.  It's one of my favorite things.  We made a super quick trip there this year and I found some cute tops at Loft.  Aren't these prints so fun!?!  I've been on the hunt for some lemon print for my wardrobe and I finally found it.  Everything was at least 40% off.  We also had good luck at the Croc outlet and the Disney store.  Not everything is a good deal so try hard to scoop up things that are on sale.

We packed a lot of food in coolers for the car and had almost everything we needed for easy snacks and lunches.  I chopped veggies ahead of time and made everything really grab and go.  The kids were happy to have their favorite snacks and we all felt great because we were eating healthy foods and not junk food the entire drive.  We had slices of cheese, cheese sticks, cucumbers, pepperoni, carrots and a variety of drinks.

This $14 cooler from Sams was a life saver!  It was such a good size.  The label says it holds 30 cans of soda and it kept everything really cold.  There are three exterior pockets and a lift flap top for easy access.  We used it in the car and took it to the ocean every day.  This would be a great gift or purchase for your family!

We packed our chain restaurant coupons and made sure to have restaurant apps on our phones.  We used the McDonalds app to save several times, used Hardees coupons and opted to buy a whole key lime pie at Publix for $7 instead of paying about $5 a slice for key lime pie at a restaurant.  We also bought a giant tub of Blue Bell ice cream for $7 and we ate it all week long.  It was a lot cheaper than going out for ice cream every night.

We rarely bought things other than gas at gas stations.  The candy is marked up three or four times the price you usually pay at a grocery store.  I stocked up on our favorite road trip snacks ahead of time.  I made sure to pack favorite snacks for everyone.  These air heads are $1.99 at the store and I saw them for sale for $3.49 at a gas station.  We did splurge on candy a time or two to surprise the kids and add some fun to our trip.  They were thrilled to pick out a candy treat of their choice and it was an instant mood boost for the drive.

We would go out to dinner most night and arrive somewhere between 4:00-5:00.  Very popular, delicious restaurants were ghost towns at that hour.  It was wonderful!  Many places have early bird specials before 6:00.  We rarely waited longer than 15 minutes anywhere which was perfect for dining out with two little kids.  We ate take out a few times to save money and to make life easier.  I know we saved money by not buying drinks, having to pay at tip or ordering more than we needed.

Pay attention to the free fun options wherever you go.  My kids LOVED strolling along the docks checking out the boats, fish and pelicans.  There was so much to look at.  We played at the ocean every day, went back for sunset strolls along the ocean in the evenings, swam in the pool, watching the free firework show one night and watched some movies at the condo in the afternoons.

7. FOOD in the CONDO
Bring food with you if you have room and stock up at the grocery store.  It'll be much cheaper to make burgers or sandwiches at home instead of going out to eat.  We brought down lots of pantry type things.  Then we ran to the store for fresh fruit, refrigerated items and frozen things.

We save a lot of money buying our beach toys and gear ahead of time.  It's plentiful everywhere you go in Florida, but it's pricey.  We got shovels, sand toys, squirt guns and these fun Tommy Bahama chairs before we left Indiana.  My MIL said these chairs are around $120 in Florida, but she found them for $50 at TJ Maxx in Indiana.  BIG savings to buy ahead!!

How do you save money when you're on vacation???


  1. Yes to all of these tips!! We basically did all the same things on our vacation!
    I did a big shopping trip at Aldi before we left to stock up on staples. We hit up a grocery store in the town of our beach cottage and got milk, fruits, veggies and lunch meat and ice cream. We ate all our meals at home except for a “fancy” dinner out and ordering pizza one night. We stopped for chick fil a for lunch on the way to the beach- but then ate peanut butter sandwiches on the way home. It’s all about planning! And I think by not going out for every meal, it makes it so much more fun and special when you do!

  2. Awesome tips! I do a lot of these when I travel also! My trip to Aruba was so cheap last year just by having an English muffin everyday for breakfast in my hotel room and Subway for dinner! Thanks for the tips!

  3. Thank you for this post! We're headed out on a long road trip this month, and I've been thinking about trying to only eat out once a day. I'm definitely going to pick up pepperoni and string cheese to add to my travel snacks. So far I've planned to take our favorite mini candy bars, individual snack packs of peanut butter, crackers and pretzels. I've never considered take out as a cost savings, but you're so right! Such a great tip!

  4. We do bring a lot of snacks and staples to our beach house. We also bring our own sand toys. But I am totally willing to rent umbrellas and chairs so I can pay for the set up. It is so worth it to me to not have to haul that stuff back and forth every day. I really like finding all the local ice cream places, restaurants, etc. I grew up about half an hour from the beach and we went often. Part of the fun was always hitting the same French fry place (it's kinda famous there haha), the same popcorn place, the same picture by the big anchor, etc. To me, building those traditions of going back to the same places is part of what makes the beach so fun, and so I don't necessarily worry about saving money too much.

  5. We packed a ton of food on our road trip and it saved us so much money! Having a house with a kitchen is huge too!

  6. Mac dreads any time we go somewhere near outlets because I can never pass them up lol. Much to his dismay, Loft Outlet is now online!


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