Traveling on a Budget: Saves and Splurges

Under the Oaks blog: Traveling on a Budget: Saves and SplurgesIt is only days before our trip to Denver to see one of my great friends tie the knot! It’s the classic “last week before vacation”. Things are super crazy at work for both Jason and I, we’re trying to tie up some loose ends at home before we leave, cramming in laundry, running the dog to his sitter and the cats to their sitter on opposite ends of the city the night before, packing, trying to get my running miles in (since I just signed up for my first 10K!!), planning our first few days away, and generally making an effort to not lose my mind!

In the midst of all of this, I have been trying to remind myself that traveling isn’t a free pass to let my routines fall by the waist-side. Eating habits, exercise routines, not sleeping in to noon, and sticking to a regular budget as best you can are all things that I have a difficult time sticking to when my responsibilities disappear on vacation. Since we are going away for so long, we have to be conscious of how we spend our money and time because 8 nights of eating out is expensive no matter where you are! So here’s a list of ideas I have for our trip to help us save a few bucks where we can to feel a little less guilty spending where we want.

1. Find a place on Airbnb. We found an awesome condo to rent in the heart of the areas of Denver we wanted to be in. We have a doorman, a view, free breakfast on the weekend, and a full size kitchen. Comparing prices to the hotels in the area, we are saving over $300 by going this unconventional route. I always get a little nervous before we go, not knowing how the place will actually be when we get there but we’ve never had a bad experience. We rely heavily on the reviews for each listing so if you ever rent off Airbnb or another type of house share site, please leave reviews, good or bad!

2. Go grocery shopping. I’m not talking a whole weeks worth like you’d do at home but pick up items that you know you’ll miss during the week, like grab-and-go granola bars or fresh fruit. If you’re staying someplace that has a full kitchen, plan a few meals at home to relax and recharge before another day of site seeing or on rainy days when you don’t feel like heading out.

3. Download money-saving restaurant apps or utilize Restaurant.com. Here in Raleigh I use Restaurant.com for some of my fave local restaurants. The website partners with restaurants to offer gift certificates at a discounted rate. Usually you have to purchase a minimum dollar amount of food (and sometimes drinks) in order to use the certificate but it’s usually worthwhile depending on the type of restaurant and how many people go. There are several apps like this also. I just downloaded the app called ScoutMob since Denver is one of the 13 cities it’s in. They have a great website online with a Shoppe but ScoutMob’s app allows you to search nearby restaurants, save them, and see the deals they currently have or get alerts when a new ones are available. Yelp is also a favorite of mine when traveling to see what the locals love and view the deals around town.

4. Buy only items you can’t get back home. Just because you’re on vacation, doesn’t mean you can splurge on that Anthro top you’ve had your eye on. Vacation-mode does funny things to people and makes that money burn a lot faster than normal-day life. Make sure, if you’re the type of person who likes to bring back souvenirs, that whatever you buy has some significance to the place you travel to.

5. Take all the items you need. I am notorious for leaving certain toiletries at home because I know I can just pick them up at the grocery store. Normally we take only carry-ons so I’m more concerned with the bulkiness of my bags and things spilling but this trip we’re flying Southwest so we will be checking a bag or two. There’s no excuse not to pack our normal full-size necessities this time. Or anytime really.

What tips do you have for saving money on vacation?
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