6 Tricks to Save Money on Vacation BEFORE You Go

Have you ever been on vacation with your family and realized you went WAY over budget? Did you notice it was probably on a lot of little things adding up, that you hadn’t planned for? The thing is, you CAN save money on vacation before you even leave!

We have done this so many times I’ve lost count. I know the feeling well. Your trip was supposed to be relaxing and fun, but you came home feeling stressed because the finances are still following you.

Today I am sharing my best tips and reminders about the SURPRISING ways that you can save money and stress before you leave for your vacation! 

Do you tend to overspend on your vacations? I have 6 Money Saving Hacks for Your Next Vacation that are sure to be useful for you. These tricks have helped our family save hundreds of dollars.

Some of these tips may seem simple, but I’ll bet some have never crossed your mind before. 

I am also including a printable checklist you can keep so that every time you head out on a vacation you can make sure you return with no stress, just the memories of a great time! Before you read through this post, make sure to snag your copy of this FREE Vacation Checklist so you can add your notes. 

You will never have trouble keeping your vacation spending in check with this list. I recommend you print it and laminate it. Then you can make notes for each vacation using a dry erase marker. 

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6 Tricks to Save Money on Vacation Before You Go



Set a Vacation Budget

I cannot stress how important this step is, Pearls! Too often I hear of people overspending on their vacations, and then their vacation haunts them for a long time after because they are having to repay a credit card they used. 

I want your vacation to be a TRUE getaway, and one that only the memories of spending time with your loved ones follow you home. 

Remember to include things like: Gas to and from your destination, gas to get around while you’re there, lodging, snacks on the way there and home, groceries, eating out, entertainment, planned activities and miscellaneous. 

The miscellaneous budget is a few extra dollars for us to do things unexpended like stopping for ice cream on a hot day, admission to a quirky museum etc. 

Think back to another recent vacation you took. Were there things that you spent money on that you hadn’t planned for in advance? Make sure you include those items in your budget or just be mindful of where you tend to overspend on vacation.


Meal Planning for Success

You know me and my love of meal planning! If you saw my July 2019 Meal Plan, you will see that I included our vacation this month on the plan, but I ALSO included meals for the 2 days (at least) after we arrive back home. 

This is an area that is so often forgotten! You plan your vacation and stay on budget… yay Pearl. But then, you arrive home exhausted and without a plan! Drive thru here you come. 

We like to keep it simple like a crock pot meal or recipes that don’t include fresh ingredients like pasta or casseroles, that you can prepare in advance of your trip to be ready when you arrive home. 

Going to the drive thru isn’t the end of the world though, just make sure you include that into your budget if that’s your plan. Don’t let that purchase be a surprise because it can easily cost $20-$30 for our family of 5 to go through the drive thru. 


Freeze Food Items

Many people clean out their refrigerators before they go on a trip so that food doesn’t go bad, but have you ever considered freezing some of your items so they don’t go to waste? Here is a quick list of foods that do really well in the freezer. 

  • Milk
  • Meat
  • Lunch Meat
  • Cheeses, sour cream, butter. (shredded comes out great… cream and brick cheeses not as well but still works)
  • Chop up veggies like bell peppers and onions to freeze
  • Fruit can also be chopped up and used in smoothies
  • Bread/tortillas
  • Cooked foods like hamburger patties and bacon

Here are my top tips for saving money before you even go on vacation. Have you thought about how you can plan ahead and make saving money a routine for your family? These tricks have helped our family save hundreds of dollars.

Adjust Your Thermostat

Make sure you’re not leaving the AC or heater on around the clock when you aren’t home. If you have pets at home that someone is caring for, make sure you keep the house a comfortable temperature. 

It’s amazing how much money you can save when you’re away and not using the AC as much. On this same note, make sure all lights are turned off and any small appliances are unplugged from the outlets. 


Pack Snacks for Your Trip Home!

Many of us forget to pack snacks for the way home from our trip, but we are usually really good at packing them for the way to the trip. Being prepared can save you so much money because you won’t be relegated to stopping at a convenience store or other expensive place for snacks on the way home from your vacation. 

For our family, we pack 2 large gallon size ziploc bags for each kid that is filled with non perishable snacks like goldfish, pirates booty, pretzels, cookies etc. One bag is for snacks on the way to our vacation and one is for snacks on the way back. We love getting our snacks for a bargain at Costco

For snacks while we are at our destination, we usually buy snack items once we get there but the budget for that is already factored into our vacation budget so we don’t have to worry about overspending. 


Pack Your Families Medicines

You might not have anyone in your family sick currently, but chances are when you are off enjoying your time somebody will get sick, a tummy ache or even scrape their knee. 

By being prepared and having these items on hand with you (even if it means you have to stop at Target or Walmart too pick some up) it will save you so much money than paying triple the price at a gas station or other convenience store. Don’t forget the band aids too! 

Don’t forget about the printable checklist you can download above. 

I hope this post helps you think outside the box a little on more ways you can save money leading up to your much needed vacation. 


Talk to you soon, Xoxo



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