How to Save While on Vacation Without Skimping on the Fun

If you are planning a vacation, you have probably already thought about how you can save money. Tips such as booking your airline flights on a specific day, looking for last-minute deals, and avoiding the peak season are all great opportunities to save money. However, once you’ve already planned for and paid for the airfare, hotel, and other details, you need to think about what you will do once you actually are on vacation.

Vacations can be very costly, and your savings don’t have to stop after you make all your big purchases. By planning affordable activities, cooking for yourself, and finding other easy ways to save, you can lower your total costs in addition to your bigger expenses. Thankfully, you don’t have to miss out on the fun — you can save money and find interesting and affordable things to do. Here are five ways to save without missing out.

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1. Hit the beach or park

Many of us really depend on our electronic devices, and it can be difficult to turn them off (and keep them off) while on vacation. If you spend too much time inside, it can be easy to simply turn away from your family or friends for a few minutes to check your phone or tablet. There are many beaches and parks that are completely free, and many people love spending time outside together; getting out of your hotel room can leave more time for bonding and enjoying your trip together.

Countless hours can be spent at the beach, with little entertainment besides the sand and water. State parks are another great and affordable way to spend time outside exploring if you are planning to stay in the U.S. for your vacation. You can search for a park near your destination on the America’s State Parks website. Beaches and state parks can be a great affordable alternative to amusement or water parks.

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2. Find a free museum

You’re bound to face at least one bad weather day, and planning ahead can help. Most tourist areas have free tours you can partake in, as well as local attractions such as museums. According to USA Today, there are many wonderful free museums across the world, so if you are planning to head to another country, you might be able to fit in a free museum visit. Some of locations include Paris, London, Copenhagen, Berlin, and Sydney.

If you are staying in the U.S. and you already have a museum pass to a local museum where you live, be sure to check online to see if your membership will give you free reciprocal admission to a museum near your destination. If you have children, you can search the Association of Children’s Museums’ website.

3. Find a festival

One of the best ways to learn about a specific destination is to take part in a tradition. Many places have annual festivals that celebrate some aspect of the area’s history or primary means of commerce, such as a corn festival. Some festivals are free, while others cost a small amount. Usually you will pay the most for food or specific activities, but you can often attend the festival itself for free or for a very small cost.

Festivals can be fun for singles, couples, or the whole family. There are so many festivals that depending on where you are going and when, you may be able to find a festival related to food, music, a particular season, and even a specific culture. is a great place to start looking. 4. Bring a hobby

Find a way to incorporate your individual interests into your vacation. If you love photography, travel around your destination looking for unique and beautiful photo opportunities. If your spouse loves game night, pack up some of your favorite games and head out to a new location to add something special to a regular routine (such as playing cards at the zoo instead of at home).

Read a book by the ocean or have your art-loving son or daughter collect leaves in the woods in order to make a collage. While vacations do require you to get away from your regular routine, sometimes incorporating hobbies you love into your vacation can make it truly memorable. Plus, these activities are often free or nearly free.

5. Save on food

Restaurants are expensive, and in big tourist areas, this can be especially true. Although hotel rooms that come with a kitchenette are often more expensive, you may find that you will actually save money by purchasing a room that comes with a fridge, and, if possible, an oven. You can then make all of or most of your food at home. This is an easy way to save money once you arrive at your vacation spot.

Even if you don’t have a kitchenette, you can still pack a lot of non-perishable foods (or purchase them at a local grocery store). Also, if you decide to go camping, cooking over the fire can be a great way to save money, but it is also a wonderful way to bond and have fun with your friends or family. If you do need to eat out a restaurants, look for less obvious choices, like small local restaurants.

There are so many affordable and fun activities that you can do on vacation without missing out on fun. You also don’t need to eat at restaurants all the time just because you’re on a trip. Sometimes eating in can be a great way to spend time with the people you traveled with. Sometimes just booking the trip itself — the hotel, plane, rental car — can be very expensive, but your time once you get to your destination doesn’t have to be. Let the destination itself be the main attraction, and go explore.

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