Here are a few tips we can share:
- Plan ahead. Making reservations for airlines and hotels well in advance can result in substantial savings.
- Pick a hotel within walking or public transportation distance of the places you want to visit. Also, check to see if your hotel offers airport and around-town shuttle bus transportation.
- For sportscations, purchase tickets directly from colleges or professional teams the day they go on sale. You can get great seats from resellers like StubHub, but you may pay twice as much.
- Pay a little extra to check a bag and carry a Hotel Traveling Meal Kit. We like to eat out, but it can be hard on the waistline as well as the pocketbook. Here's what we carry so we can have breakfast, snacks, and dinner in our room. I've done it with a carry-on using plastic cutlery, but that doesn't leave much room for clothes.
- Get a grocery store discount card for your destination and keep it for future trips. Why pay full price when free cards give you lower prices.
- Grocery store delis have items you can purchase for dinners in your room. We like baked chicken, tuna salad, cooked spaghetti, meatballs, and lasagna. Many hotels have a small refrigerator and some have microwave ovens.
- Round out hotel room dinners with salads in a bag with dressing, deli salads, fresh fruit, or even pie. Or make it a special evening, get a bottle of wine and don't worry about a designated driver.
- Many hotels offer a free breakfast. If not, purchase hard boiled eggs, muffins, cereal, berries, bananas, or apples with peanut butter. You can make coffee in the room, but we like to splurge with coffee and cream from the hotel restaurant or a Starbucks. Large cartons of milk are hard to fit into a small fridge. We like to get individual untra-pasturized milk cartons. One small carton gives us enough for two bowls of cereal. I can't find it everywhere, so I put some in our checked bag.
- Pack a collapsible cooler bag. It comes in handy for carrying perishables from hotel to hotel, picnics, or to keep food fresh if your hotel doesn't offer a refrigerator. I have a plastic tray that fits in the bottom so melting ice doesn't make a mess. With it's lid, it doubles as a carry case for my utensils and condiments in the suitcase.
- Turn off the TV and Internet as much as possible, and get out and see all that your vacation destination has to offer!
Here's to many enjoyable vacation trips in your future. May they be lots of fun and stress free. -- Margy