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12 Tips for Saving Before and During a Family Vacation

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and Walmart Family Mobile. All opinions are mine alone. #Save4Summer #CollectiveBias

My husband loves taking road trips and being out in nature. Whether it’s close to the beach or driving up towards the mountains, he loves getting away from home and exploring the world. I, on the other hand, am more at comfortable in our home, being a homebody. But, since it’s summer and my husband is currently off of work for 2 weeks, what better way to celebrate Father’s Day & show him how much we love him than with a little staycation here in San Diego!

12 Tips for Saving Before and During a Family Vacation #Save4Summer #FamilyMobile

Now, I completely understand that traveling can get VERY expensive, VERY fast. But, there are some things you can do before, and during, your trip to make the cost a little more affordable.

12 Tips for Saving Before and During a Family Vacation #Save4Summer #FamilyMobile
  1. Cut back on bills. We did this by not only getting rid of cable but by switching to Walmart Family Mobile for our cell phones. We pay $29.88/month (for the first line) Unlimited Talk, Text & Data service plan which includes up to 1G of 4G LTE data. That’s a big savings when you think about it and start looking at other services (especially if they don’t offer data! That adds up quickly!)
  2. Find a location that is closer to home. Being able to save money on airfare will bring down the cost of your trip a lot. Think of places you’ve never been before and ask friends that might know of a place that you’ve never heard of or thought of. Lakes, rivers, camping, the beach, a local amusement park with a fun hotel visit…all super fun and more affordable if you stay closer to home!
  3. When you go to book a hotel, motel or campsite, Google to see if you can find a coupon that will save you a little money (I actually do this with any online purchase). Sites like Groupon, RetailMeNot and HotelCoupons.com are great places to start and see if you can save a little extra money.
  4. When booking a place to stay, try to find one with a refrigerator and microwave, at the very least. Finding a place with a small kitchen is great too, but not always doable. Having a fridge where you can put snacks, drinks, fresh fruit & more in, is a great way to save money on your trip.
  5. If possible, try to plan a trip during the week, instead of on a weekend. Not only will it be less crowded, you’ll get a better rate on a room.
  6. Google for free or low-cost things to do BEFORE you head out on your trip. Lots of people write blog posts about things to do in the area and it can be really helpful for your trip. I have a post on How to Visit San Diego on a Budget.
  7. Stop eating out before you go. As a family that LOVES to eat out, this is a hard one for us. But, with a visit to our favorite local restaurant costing us $70 with tax & tip (sometimes more!), just saying no to eating out once a month (and putting that money in a safe place to put towards out vacation), while add up pretty fast!
12 Tips for Saving Before and During a Family Vacation #Save4Summer #FamilyMobile
12 Tips for Saving Before and During a Family Vacation #Save4Summer #FamilyMobile
  1. Bring your own snacks & breakfast foods. If you can find a room with a small kitchen (or at least a fridge & microwave), you can bring food items from home that are cheaper and probably healthier for you, too. Eat breakfast in your room and reserve eating out for lunch and dinner. Snacks and drinks can be placed in your fridge and then put into a cooler or insulated bag for your daily activities.
  2. Some hotels and motels offer a free breakfast, so make sure to check that out while you’re booking a place to stay. Even if it’s just cereal or pastries, that saves a lot of money when traveling!
  3. Bring some entertainment with you! Sometimes we forget that kids just like hanging out IN the hotel room. That alone can be an adventure for them! Remember to bring some simple card games and small travel games to not only play on the car ride but when you’re having down time in the room, too. You can even buy a new DVD and watch a movie that is completely new to them.
  4. Finding a restaurant to eat at in a place you aren’t familiar with can be hard. It’s hard not to judge a restaurant by the way it looks on the outside but I think we all know that when we’re at home, we eat at little hole-in-the-wall places that are fantastic! Use apps like Yelp, Hooked Deals and Living Social to find deals and reviews on local restaurants.
  5. If you don’t want to bring a lot of food with you, find a local grocery store and buy fresh fruit and snacks. Steer clear of gas stations, as the prices are always higher than grocery stores.
12 Tips for Saving Before and During a Family Vacation #Save4Summer #FamilyMobile12 Tips for Saving Before and During a Family Vacation #Save4Summer #FamilyMobile

Saving a little money here and there, will add up and let you take a great vacation or staycation. But saving money doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice everything you love either! While I do love technology, I don’t like paying high prices for new phones and since I have been saving with the Walmart Family Mobile plan, I decided it was time for a new phone, but not one that would break our staycation budget! When I visited Walmart, I decided to go with the Alcatel One Touch Pop Astro phone. At just $64.88, this phone has all of the things I need in a phone but for a lot less money than a lot of the other phones out there. With a 4.5″ touchscreen display, 960 x 540 resolution, a rear-facing 5 megapixel camera, 1.5GHz quad-core processor, 1GB RAM/4GB ROM, it’s also 4G LTE capable. That means that I can download things faster, upload pictures in less and search for directions quicker when we’re on the road this summer.

12 Tips for Saving Before and During a Family Vacation #Save4Summer #FamilyMobile12 Tips for Saving Before and During a Family Vacation #Save4Summer #FamilyMobile12 Tips for Saving Before and During a Family Vacation #Save4Summer #FamilyMobile

I have been a loyal Walmart Family Mobile customer for a year now. I’ve always been one to have a pre-paid (or in the case of WFM, a post-paid) cell phone plane but Walmart Family Mobile has been the best I have ever used. Not only because of the price but because of the quality of service (the other non-contract cell phone services don’t work well in our area) and the helpful customer service I have received. We’re looked around at other services and while a couple of them sound a little cheaper in the beginning, when we figured out how much data I use and how much it would cost on another service where it wasn’t unlimited…well, there was no comparison! Walmart Family Mobile is the best service for the best price!

How are you celebrating Dad this Father’s Day? Taking a trip, out to eat or buying him a special gift? Leave a comment and let me know!

Disclaimer: All prices for phones and plans included in this post are accurate as of the date of posting; however, these prices are subject to change. Please refer to http://cbi.as/8e03 or your local Walmart for current pricing.

Check out these other posts before you travel!

Free Things to do in San DiegoHow to Visit San Diego on a Budget
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Tara is a blogger and a homeschooling mom, who lives with her fiancée and 3 kids in Southern California. A Spectacled Owl was started in June 2012 because Tara loved entering giveaways on other blogs & wanted to do the same thing for other people. It's quickly grown & turned into much more than she could ever have imagined.
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  1. Joann Woolley June 22, 2015

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