By: Cheryl Maguire
I love to travel, but costs can add up quickly. So here are some tips to help you save money when you travel and how I applied those tips when we went to Storyland, an amusement park in New Hampshire for a few days.
MONEY SAVING TIP: Ask Friends and Family Before You Book
The best way to find out information about an area you plan to visit is to ask people who have been there. They can let you know what they liked or disliked about the hotels, sites, restaurants, or other relevant information. Compile a list of questions and ask as many people as possible.
I asked friends and family about their experience traveling to North Conway, NH. After doing so I was able to book a hotel that would best suit our needs and was the least expensive option for a family of five. I also learned that if we went to Storyland (an amusement park for children) at 2:00 pm, the next day would be free.
MONEY SAVING TIP: Travel Off Season
The day and time of year that you travel will influence the price of transportation, hotels, and restaurants. Sometimes if you are able to travel on a Wednesday instead of a Saturday you can reduce your expenses. Even if you travel during the high season, these rates can vary according to the time of day, day of the week (weekend vs. weekday), or month (May vs. July). Ask travel agents, hotel staff, or airline representatives when the least expensive rates are available. You can also do an online search with different dates and times to compare prices.
Even though we went on Memorial Day weekend, which is considered the summer season or more expensive, this time of year was less expensive than visiting in July or August. Even the admission to Storyland was $4 less per person or $20 less for our family. The hotel rates were about $100 less per night than if we had visited in July or August.
MONEY SAVING TIP: Purchase Souvenirs and Other Items Before You Travel
The more preparation and items you purchase before you travel, the more money you can save. Souvenirs and other items are expensive at tourist locations. You can purchase souvenirs before you travel and your children will never know the difference. You can also purchase restaurant gift certificates and attraction fees prior to your travel to save money.
We did not purchase any souvenirs before or during the trip which is the best way to save money. But we did bring lots of other items like toiletries and clothes so that we would not have to purchase any in the store or hotel.
MONEY SAVING TIP: BYO Drinks and Snacks
Even if you are traveling without children, when you bring your own snacks and drinks you will save money and time. If you are driving, you will avoid the need to stop to purchase these items if you already have food and drinks in the car. Ideally, bring food items which could be a snack or a meal, such as cereal bars.
This was a wonderful money and time saver for us. I brought enough snacks and drinks for the entire weekend. I used them in the car, hotel, and at the amusement park.
MONEY SAVING TIP: Ask Your Hotel About Amenities
If you are staying at a hotel, ask about the hotel amenities and if it is possible to get a free upgrade when you check in. Some hotels offer free Internet service, free movies, free childcare/children’s activities, or free toiletries upon request. Also if you become sick ask if the hotel offers medical services or medicine before you purchase it.
Our hotel offered some great amenities, such as free “make your own ice cream sundaes” every night, free movies, and children’s activities.
MONEY SAVING TIP: Browse Local Guides and Newspapers
Local newspapers will list events or activities (which may be free) available while you are visiting. Both guides and newspapers also contain coupons for restaurants, activities, or site-seeing.
I found a coupon for Pizza Hut (which we were going to anyway) in a free travel guide pamphlet.