Sep 13, 2010

Saving Tips for Travel (Carole)

This week we're going to respond to the request by Diana Banana to tell our favorite tips for saving money while traveling.

First, I've already written about how we fly free with Southwest Airlines by using their credit card through our office.  That is probably the biggest money saver we've ever done.  Check it out and see if it could work for you.

Second, because we live in a big city (and it happens to be a vacation destination) we have often headed downtown to a local hotel for a couple of days -- this works especially well for anniversaries.  Saves us both time and gasoline.  It's kinda' fun to play tourist in your own hometown.  Also, we can usually get a deal on a hotel and many shows because we are locals.  I don't know if that translates to other states, but it would be worth checking into.  Nevada residents can save up to 50% on many shows and hotels.  We also use personal contacts to get reduced hotel room prices or free upgrades and free show tickets.  We've seen Blue Man Group, Lord of the Dance, Mystere, Celine Dion, Lance Burton, Hans Klok, Donny and Marie Osmond, and Penn and Teller all for free because we knew someone who works behind the scenes.  These people usually get a few free tickets every month -- if you ask, they can be yours.

Lastly, the most typical way we save money while traveling, is to eat lunch and dinner from the grocery store rather than at a restaurant.  We have a typical menu for both breakfast and lunch that includes cold cereal, milk, yogurt, bananas, sandwich fixings, chips, juice and cookies.  (All of the perishables are kept cold either in the hotel fridge or in a garbage can filled with ice kept covered in the tub.)  Saving the total cost of both breakfast and lunch each day makes going out for dinner not seem so expensive.  And since we could never be mistaken for "foodies," we tend to choose reasonable establishments for our late meals.

How do stretch your travel dollars??


Saskia said...

When I fly, I see if I can save money by booking a flight with a layover. And I never pass up the opportunity to volunteer my seat in exchange for a free travel voucher.

I also always eat breakfast at home/in the hotel. In the summer, I'll try to eat lunch from the grocery store outside somewhere, but it's too cold to do that in the winter often.

And I visit museums on the "pay as you wish day", most big museums have them.

All pretty mundane tricks, but they help..

Megan said...

Right before my daughter was due, my husband had spring break. We didn't want to go far, since we didn't want to be miles and miles from our doctor, so we played tourist in our own town, too. It was a blast! I was off work, and he was off school, so we were able to do things we've never done in our city. Also, on week nights, lots of Bed and Breakfast places have deals, we got our room for two nights, on a buy-one-get-one free deal, so we chose a really fancy one, had a great time, and still saved!

Packrat said...

We often share a meal, just buy a $1.00 hamburger, or buy from the grocery store. When traveling by car, take drinks, fruit, veggies, yogurt, etc. with you in an ice chest. (Don't try to take fresh fruit and veggies into California unless is it peeled and cut up - then it depends on the person at the check station.) We always take our own sandwich fixings and a large jug of drinking water, too. Sitting out in the middle of the desert or mountains (or stuck in traffic because of an accident) without food or water isn't fun. We often have dinner from a grocery store deli. After traveling all day, we seldom feel like getting cleaned up to go out.

Leslie said...

Buy a local restaurant coupon on Such good deals!

Melanie said...

I'm also a fan of giving up my seat for a free voucher (some airlines are better than others about redeeming the voucher - Continental A+, Northwest, D) Taking photos instead of buying souvenirs also saves money.

Stephanie T said...

Hi Carole,
This is more of a question. But I am meeting 3 girlfriends in Vegas for a weekend of fun. We have planned on a few free things like the temple and chocolate facotry. Any other suggestions of cheap places to visit when we are there? We'll be there Oct. 14-17th. Any tips for saving on shows too? I heard there was a place to get discounted tickets the day of.
Thanks for any help!