Monday Saving Monday Tip #15 – Frugal Vacations

By glblguy


Every Monday, I provide tip(s) on things you can do to save Money. This article is part of that series.

We recently took a long weekend to the mountains for some well deserved R&R and family time. Given our focus on being debt free we didn’t want to spend a lot of money and therefore tried to be as frugal as possible. Of course having our debit card stolen and our account cleaned out made it even more frugal.

Anyway, here’s a few tips to help you make your next vacation a little more frugal:

Go camping

Granted, not everyone enjoys camping but this can be a really great way to add some fun to your vacation and save a great deal of money. We have a large tent, some Wal-Mart sleeping bags, and some cheap basics(camping light, cooler, fold down chairs, etc.).

When we go to the mountains, we stay on our in-laws land, so no cost to us. If you don’t have this kind of option, consider: national parks and private campgrounds.  Many times the campgrounds themselves will have lots of free and low cost activities for you to do.

Bring your own food

Before leaving, we pack lots of snacks and drinks. This keeps us from having to pay convenience store prices for these items. Once we get to where we are going, we head out to the local grocery store to purchase food. Many people are in the habit of eating out while on vacation. Not only is preparing your own food generally more healthy, it is considerably cheaper.

Do free or low cost activities

As I mentioned before, we like to explore the various campgrounds and the activities they offer when staying. Another option to save on costs though is to research free or low cost activities. There are tons of state or city run historical areas you can visit, hiking trails to explore, water falls to find, museums to see, etc. Activities such as theme parks, water parks, etc. don’t have to be the only options.

Spending some time upfront before your trip researching activities in the area you will be visiting will be well worth your time.

Vacation at home

Another option that I like is just staying home. Have you ever been on vacation only to return home and find you need another vacation? I like to just take a week off, spend time with my wife, work on our house, and even visit areas where I live I haven’t had a chance to visit.

Honestly, for me staying home is the least expensive and most restful vacation I could do.

Go during the off season

When traveling out of time, we try to go during the areas off-season. For example, we seldom visit the beach during the summer. For one, it’s just too hot, and second it’s really expensive. We like to go in late spring or early fall. Rates are cheaper and it’s far less crowded.

Our neighbors recently visiting Disney World in Florida, and went during December. They saved an incredible amount of money. When we last visited, we went during the summer, paid almost twice as much as they did, and were miserable due to the heat and crowds!

Take time to research “off-seasons”, you’ll save money and have a more restful vacation.

Of course these are just a few things you can do to save money. I am sure you have tips of your own. Please share your tips by adding a comment!

4 Responses (including trackbacks) to “Monday Saving Monday Tip #15 – Frugal Vacations”

  1. Mrs. Micah Says:

    Vacationing at home sounds right to me. :) In fact, we should have honeymooned at home, since we’d just moved to DC. Would have saved on eating out (and allowed us to go out once or twice to nice places) and there’s so much to see! Oh well, hindsight is 20/20. As it was, we stayed in a place with a real kitchen for the 2nd week (parents’ time share) and that saved us a lot of money.

  2. Mindy McClung Says:

    In addition there are low cost campgrounds at A lot of them are for RVS but some are not and the cost is $10 and under.

  3. glblguy Says:

    @Mindy, that’s great info. I’ll take a look. Thanks for the link!

  4. Molly Says:

    Ok, I’m a little late to the party, but I HIGHLY agree with buying food from grocery stores while on vacation. It’s closer to my normal diet, which means my body is happier, it’s cheaper, and it’s faster than going out every meal! I can grab some fruit and granola bars and keep sightseeing instead of stopping 3x a day for a restaurant meal.