or HOW TO GET THE MOST BANG FOR YOUR BUCK DURING SPRING BREAK- Wondering how to save money during your spring break travels? Luckily frugal family travel tips abound, and we use them, not just during the school holidays, but year round. Here are some of our favorites:
Do check Groupon for offers. 1/2 price bowling, snorkeling with manatees, and more. We love Groupon!
Do use your AAA card for additional discounts. You can purchase discounted tickets at AAA offices– we did Rock City, The Incline Railway and Ruby Falls in Chatanoogee Tennessee that way. I always ask if there’s an AAA discount- seriously. There is no harm in asking!
Do consider camping. Have tent will travel! If the thought of being too close to nature sends you squirming, try www.priceline.com or www.hotwire.com for hotel deals, or consider joining a hotel reward program for discounts.
Do bring your own water. Two purchased bottles of water tend to be the same as buying a pack. We bring water everywhere. Staying hydrated is the number one rule, but it’s cheaper bringing along your own!
Do consider bringing your own lunch. I discovered fast that Polk County attractions are not self-sufficient and started packing picnics when the kids were toddlers. Now we enjoy eating out- outside that is, like by the creek at Amicalola Falls.
If you are in a theme park/attraction, do consider leaving the park to dine. Food is cheaper (with more of a selection) when you are not a captured audience. Just get that hand stamped for when you return!
If you are at the beach, the restaurants off the beach are usually cheaper than those with the seaside view. But of course, if you like that seaside view……
Do consider a meze/tapas meal: a meal of appetizers. Seriously, there are whole places that are devoted to serving appetizers! But if you are in a restaurant, sharing a bunch of appetizers can be cheaper and make for more of a social meal. Calamari and mozzarella sticks anyone?
Do share a meal. Some places charge for sharing, others don’t mind. In Helen, Georgia, our German Sampler platter for two stuffed four of us!
Do check for kids-eat-free nights. Mid-week, some eateries offer a buy and adult meal, get a kid one for free. Check out websites for these deals (or ask around).
Speaking of eating: Do stay in a place that offers free breakfast. These free breakfast with room deals seem to be the norm in the chain-hotel world, and they are competing with one another now: some with omelette stations and fresh pancakes, (Embassy Suites) others with make your own waffles and biscuits and gravy, like at our stay in Apalachicola. Feed the family with free breakfast, have a late lunch (lunch is always cheaper than dinner) and have a snack later instead of dinner!
Do carry snacks. Snacks don’t have to equate to junk food. On road trips, we’ve munched on cherries, gobbled grapes and passed around pre-made bags of trail mix (though someone did extract all those chocolate chips!)
Do bring a swim bag-If you are in a warm climate, bring swim suits and towels, and a plastic bag to put them in later. This is great for those spontanious spring swims, or side trips to a creek. Also saves on last minute purchases when you find out there’s a Splash Zone at an attraction!
Ditto on spare clothes. When you are adventuring, you never know what will happen, and there’s no sense in letting a slip into the river ruin an outing!
Do set a limit to those souvenirs. My husband avoids souvenir shops like the plague, but will stop at those backwater cabins filled to the brim with crafts and flea-market buys. We give the kids a set amount of money each and it is up to them to decide what to spend it on.
Do talk to the locals. Seriously, they KNOW where the cheapest restaurants are and the best swimming holes and the least crowded beaches. That’s how we found the Devil’s Elbow, and took that trek to The Edge of the World- really. And chances are you will meet so colorful characters along the way!
How do you save money on your travels with kids?