Summer is here. Your vacation plans are finalized and you can’t wait to head out on a fun adventure with the whole family in tow. Before you hop in the car consider these tips to help you save money along the way.
Bring As Much As You Can Carry
Before you leave the house stock up on easy to eat, hand held snacks. The list may include items like apples, granola bars, snack mixes, pretzels and mixed nuts. Pack handfuls of goodies into snack-sized bags and pack those bags into a larger backpack that is lightweight and easy to carry.
If you plan to travel by plane you’ll need to think carefully about how large and heavy this bag should be. If you are traveling by car then you can pack it to the brim and also bring a cooler. This Orca cooler, sold by L.L. Bean, is guaranteed to keep food cold for days.
The key is to have food on hand whenever hunger strikes. By packing snacks you can avoid extreme hunger, cranky family members and high priced convenience foods.
Bring as much as you can from home. If you have room in your car bring paper products like toilet paper and paper towels. You can do the same with trash bags, dish soap and laundry detergent. Try to find items that are packaged in smaller units. Grab a handful of laundry pods if you will have a washer and dryer and a handful of dryer sheets. Place a few in a plastic container or sandwich bag and bring them along. They don’t take up much space in the car and they aren’t heavy. You can purchase these items when they go on sale at home rather than paying full price at the grocery store once you get there.
If you are staying in a place with a full-sized kitchen bring a bunch of recipes and spices along for the ride. Measure the ingredients in advance and place them in plastic bags or take the environmentally friendly solution by placing them into tiny glass containers.
If you have access to a grill, bring along homemade marinade mixes. You can find many recipes online that require nothing more than spices and olive oil. If you won’t have access to a grill, but have extra room in your car, bring along a grill of your own. This Coleman grill collapses for easy transport. Then pack a cooler with dry ice and stock up on meat and poultry purchased at your local big box store.
If you are driving to your destination search for fruit and veggie stands along the way. The produce is typically in better condition than you’ll find in grocery stores and the price is usually much cheaper too. It’s best to look for stands that are slightly off the beaten path. You’ll pay more for ones with prime locations right along the main roads.
Clip coupons for chain restaurants that you’ll pass between your house and your final destination. Many sandwich shops like Subway and Quiznos provide printable coupons. Store them in your glove compartment so you have them on hand if you spot a favorite restaurant along the way.
Once you arrive keep an eye out for coupon booklets at gas stations and convenience stores. You’ll often find discounts for free appetizers and buy-one-get-one free meals along with a whole host of other coupons.
Of course, you don’t always want to pinch pennies on vacation, so if you pass a tasty restaurant and decide to stop in for dinner or find a local seafood market and spend large sums of money on steamed shrimp, mussels and crabs you should not feel guilty. With these money saving tips you’ll find plenty of extra money to splurge.