How to save money while on vacation?

When planning for a trip, you have enough time to think about all the different ways you can save money, including comparing discount travel sites, travelling just before or just after peak times, and lightening your load to avoid charges for checked baggage. But once you get there, how do you avoid tourist traps and get to enjoy yourself like a local?

Here are some ways to cut costs without reducing your vacation enjoyment:

1. Sample restaurant dishes during mid-day meals

Food is usually one of the biggest expenses when travelling. If there are some restaurants that you want to try out, consider making your lunch bigger than dinner. This is because restaurants typically offer more expensive menus for dinner compared to lunch, yet all customers get a fair share of their signature items. Alternatively, purchase gift certificates on Restaurant.com for the restaurants you would like to visit.

2. Visit the grocery store

To further reduce your food expenditure, stock up on packaged meals such as cereal, fresh fruit, bread, peanut butter, other snacks, and bottled drinks from a nearby grocery store. If you have your car or a rented vehicle, carry as many of these food items as you can from home to avoid spending money on breakfast, lunch/dinner, and snacks during the trip.

3. Score local deals

When you arrive, ask your hotel concierge for any deals within the hotel and around town. They may be aware of deals and discounts at local attractions and restaurants. Go a step farther and download free apps like Foursquare, Happy Hour Finder, Scoutmob, Groupon, or LivingSocial to help you find deals and discounts in the area. These apps also give you a better sense of things to do in the area.

4. Explore public transportation

Many popular tourist attractions have extensive public transportation systems that allow you to make huge savings on transport by using a bus or train rather than an Uber. Even if you are not dropped off on the doorstep, you can walk the rest of the distance to enjoy the new environment or spend much less on a cab.

5. Limit souvenirs

There are other ways to cherish your memories besides bringing home branded t-shirts, caps, and shot glasses. Consider creating a high quality photobook using tools on Shutterfly and Blurb to showcase your best vacation photos in style.

Going on vacation does not necessarily have to mean going on a spending spree. Although it is acceptable to splurge when on vacation, you can use the money instead on things that matter, like traveling further or doing more activities.

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