I am not a vacation expert! I thought I would warn you that what works for me does not work for everyone! Here are 10 ways I save money on a vacation:
1) FREE samples of cereal and snacks in the mail-I pack these goodies in a small suitcase (make sure the exp. date is after vacay date) I have enough cereal to feed our vacation party of 4 breakfast for our whole trip to Disney in April.
2) FREE or Cheap after rebate or coupons -snacks, juice, paper plates, paper bowls, and plastic silverware can provide you with enough supplies to serve up breakfast and snacks for a whole trip.
3) FREE toiletries samples by mail will prevent you from having to buy minis and the fact is not all hotels have everything you need. I have tooth floss and mouthwash samples that I can but, don't want to live with out. This is also a good time to use up perfume samples and others.
4) FREE after coupon items in stores like the bandaids and Johnsons first aid kits I got for free at Target this week can make life easier if placed in your purse or glovebox during a trip.
5) Reusable water bottles can be a lifesaver and moneysaver. Staying hydrated with plenty of water is smart and FREE if you use these.
6) Use items you have already to entertain your kids on the road. I heard of many people buying new toys or STUFF ( I don't like STUFF) to entertain kids. How about printing off puzzles or games, pulling out something that they haven't played with for like forever, using a clipboard to draw what they did on vacay or write postcards(on the way back) to relatives and friends(we are doing homework since we are going during the school year), borrow a portable dvd player from a friend (I'm doing this-Thanks you guys), and maybe just maybe enjoy your trip by looking out the window and enjoying the sights!
7) Keep a look out for new deals that come up after you book your vacation. Disney let us add a deal to our vacation package($300 gift card which will pay for our lunches and dinners during our stay) that my husband found(YES!!! there is hope for him yet to join the frugal side)!
8) Get FREE vacation related materials to have as keepsakes. You can get a free autographed picture of your favorite Disney character. Just send a letter to:
Walt Disney Company
ATTN: Fan Mail Department
500 S. Buena Vista Street
Burbank, CA 91521
You need to include the name of your favorite Disney character and the address you want the autographed photo mailed to. These would be great to take with you to disney and get signed instead of buying them there. These do take a lil' while to get so, do this in advance! You can also find color pages or pictures of anything online to have autographed on your vacation no matter where you go.
9) Set a spending limit and stick to it. My sons spending limit is what he saves up until the vacation. He has saved some Christmas money and sold some of his old toys and a bed set to increase his spending limit.
10) PLAN ahead! This is a big one! You don't want to forget something you need and have to buy new.