Camera, sunscreen, golf clubs, a good book — when it comes to vacation necessities do not forget to bring along your wise spending habits. They will not take up any room in your suitcase and even better, they might just result in a richer yet less expensive vacation experience.

According to financial planners, making the effort to stretch your vacation dollar may give you more options on your trip to relax while seeing and doing more. Individuals may even be able to stretch their vacation a little longer than originally planned. All you really need is a nose for finding deals (access to the Internet helps, but is not essential). Here are some tips for uncovering the best deals:

  • Hunt online. “Sites such as Groupon, Living Social,, and can save you money on meals, activities, services, sightseeing and amusements specific to the area you are visiting,” said FPA member Amy Hoffman, CFP®
  • Scour kiosks and displays. Visitors bureaus, tourist information centers, even hotels and restaurants, have racks full of discount flyers, coupons and info on special deals.
  • Take advantage of the eat-in option. You can run up quite a tab eating out three times a day. So if you are staying in a rental property with a kitchen, or a hotel/motel with an in-room fridge, microwave or kitchenette, make a point of preparing at least some simple meals.
  • Pounce on meal deals. Many hotels/motels offer free breakfast. Also, look for two for one and kids-eat-free deals at local restaurants. 
  • Pick up a discount card from a local grocery store. Whether it’s for meals or just for snacks, buying groceries with a discount card can provide significant savings. Use the discount grocery card to buy supplies for a picnic you pack for your day’s destination, whether it is a beach, park, or local attraction.
  • Use public transportation instead of renting a car. Vehicle rental and parking can be really pricey, especially in cities and during high vacation season. Check with the transit authority in the area you are staying to see about short-term passes that provide unlimited transit ridership.
  • Check in early. If you are traveling by air, check in early by computer and prepay the baggage fee for the return flight. It can be cheaper that way.


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