Friday, October 28, 2011

Cutting Costs on Vacation

As you are reading this, I am most likely running around like a maniac trying to get the last minute details finished before we leave for our vacation to sunny Orlando, FL!  I cannot imagine how difficult it is to prepare children for vacation because it is a real feat to get everything taken care of for our feathered and furry critters when we go away!

I have written about ways we save on vacation in the past, but I am going to do it again.  I love the fact that we are able to travel and experience new places every year based on the fact that we cut corners and save money even while we are on vacation!  Many people like to sit by the pool or ocean for an entire week reading books, but we are not that type of couple.  We like to go!-go!-go! on vacation!!

These are a few tips we use while traveling:

Pack Light
My mother is probably laughing hysterically at this first tip because I was (and still am) horrible at packing.  When we went to Antigua for my mother’s wedding back in 2003, my luggage was bulging at the seams with too many shoes, clothes and accessories.  I ended up wearing only a few of the outfits that were packed.  If I remember correctly, the bag was over 40 lbs! 

Now, I like to try to get everything to fit into a carry-on bag.  What I’m taking on this trip: 1 pair of sandals (I will wear my walking shoes on the plane,) 2 capris, 5 shirts, 1 long sleeve shirt, 1 pair of jammies, toiletries, laptop, iPod, camera and all the power chords.

Todd and I bought an inexpensive backpack a few years ago that we take on every trip.  I don’t like to carry my purse so we throw my wallet into the backpack with some snacks/drinks and go on our way.  This helps to save room, and keeps our hands free if we go out shopping or pick up brochures while traveling.  Also, this can be used to transport anything you may have purchased back home on the plane.

Food & Drink
To save money on eating out, we go to the grocery store the first night we are in a new town to pick up items for breakfast (if a continental is not provided) as well as snacks.  The snacks are for the hotel room and to take with us when out and about.  I cant tell you how many times an apple or a granola bar has curbed our appetite enough to wait another couple of hours until lunner*, which we usually eat around 2 or 3 on vacation so that we only have to purchase one meal a day. (Not to mention if you eat around 2 or 3, you still only pay lunch prices in many restaurants!)

Generally, we like to rent cabins or small houses that have a washer/dryer when we go away.  On this trip, we will be staying at a very nice hotel.  Instead of packing 9 pairs of socks and undergarments, I will be taking 4-5 pairs of each and washing them in the room.  We are taking our own laundry detergent and will hand-wash clothes in the bathroom sink to cut down on the amount we have to pack.

We bought these for $1 at Dollar Tree to put laundry detergent in

Public Transportation
I would have never considered this as an option in the past, but last year when we went to Miami Florida for a trip in early December, we used public transportation.  Let me tell you, we met some of the nicest people on the bus!

This year, while in a different part of Florida, we will be using public transportation to get to where we need to go.  For $16/person, we will be able to travel to the grocery stores, all of the Disney parks, flea markets, restaurants or wherever else we want to go for the entire week!

I don’t understand how the whole bus system works, but luckily Todd does!  Orlando’s public transportation website has an awesome feature that you can put in your starting address and your destination, and it will tell you what bus to take, what time the bus will be at the bus stop to pick you up, the length of time in transit and all of the important information!  This takes the guess work out of public transportation (thank goodness.)  And did I mention it will only cost $16/person for the entire week in bus fares?!? Cant beat it!

Free Activities
After I found the awesome public transportation website for Orlando, I decided to see what the city had to offer.  I Googled “Free Activities Orlando, FL” and instantly, a link with 40 free things to do in Orlando popped up.  The list includes a bonsai garden, butterfly garden, art gallery, historic Kissimmee, sculptures, flea markets, farmers markets, parks and recreation and the like!   Everything we need to stay busy and make the most of our trip.

Warning:  There will most likely be a lot of pictures to be posted on FaceBook while we are on vacation.  If you don’t already “like” Sparing-Change on FB, please do so now!  I would love to hear about how you save money on vacation.

How do you save money on vacation?

Lunner: Meal eaten between “normal” lunch and dinner time


  1. You have it all down pat! Have fun in FL. IT is rainy today, but tomorrow should be great. Enjoy!

  2. We left 30 degree weather - this 70+ degree weather is GREAT! :-) We are tired from all the travel today, but look forward to the farmer's market and flea market tomorrow morning, and whatever else the day may bring. :-)