Summer is upon us and that means vacations and trips. I just finished a trip to Charleston, South Carolina and Atlanta, Georgia driving from the DC area. Going on vacation is fun but planning a vacation is stressful especially when you’re trying to avoid breaking the bank. While vacations are meant to be relaxing and enjoyable, the worries of cost and how much you spend on vacation may be on the back of your mind. Here are some ways I avoid not breaking the bank while on vacation.
Make sure your car is in good shape
I have a 13 year old car with a 188,000 miles on it and it still runs like new. When you go on a road trip, the last thing you want to worry about is your car breaking down and the cost of fixing it while out of town. I changed my oil and checked everything to ensure it was long distance travel ready.
Pack road trip meals
Long road trips means multiple pit stops. Avoid making too many pit stops. Try packing your road trip meals and eat in the car or at a rest stop. It saves time and also saves money.
Get rewarded for gas
For road trips, you’re going to consume gas unless you have an electric car. Gas is getting more and more expensive. What if you can get some money back for every gallon you fill up? Checkout51 is an app where you can get some money back for eligible purchases you make including gas by uploading your receipts. There’s a section to see if gas stations are participating and how much they are willing to give you. The most I’ve seen is $.25 per gallon so if you’re filling up 10 gallons, that’s $2.50 you’re going to get back.
Get rewarded for receipts
I use a number of apps to scan receipts and get rewarded. Here are a list of apps I use on a daily basis.
Fetch Rewards is an app where you just upload your receipts and you earn points. Once you earn enough points you can redeem them for gift cards. It takes receipts such as grocery receipts, gas receipts, restaurants, etc. Use this Fetch Rewards link to get signed up.
ReceiptPal is another app I use to scan just about any receipt I have. One good thing about this app is that it takes more than just groceries and gas station receipts. I’ve scanned restaurant receipts, dry cleaning receipts, office store receipts, and others. Use this ReceiptPal link to get signed up. I recently redeemed to get a $100 Amazon gift card!
Ibotta is an app where you can get cash back on items such as groceries and alcohol. All you have to do is identify an item that qualifies a cash back, scan your receipt, and if needed scan the barcode of the item. It’s a win win situation. Getting cash back for items you buy. Use this Ibotta link to get signed up.
Dosh is the latest cash rewards app I signed up for. You register your credit cards and if you purchase items at any of the eligible places in the app, you’ll get the cash back that’s being offered. Dosh tracks your credit card transactions. I was at Office Depot and I bought a gift card using my credit card. Immediately, I received a notification of an eligible cash back transaction. Use my referral link to sign up.
Find less expensive hotels
If you’re going to stay in the heart of a tourist town like downtown Charleston, SC, you’re going to pay premium prices. Look further outside the area and you maybe able to find less expensive hotels. Hotels in downtown Charleston were going for over $400 per night. 20 minutes away I stayed at a very nice hotel for $99 per night. I didn’t mind the drive into the city. Also, we found great places to eat where we stayed by the water so it turned out to be a great location.
Look for local deals
Whether you’re going to a restaurant or a tourist attraction, always look for a deal or a coupon. Groupon is an app that has deals in your location. I went on a Charleston horse carriage ride and there was a Groupon discount. Restaurants sometimes have happy hours on certain days and times. Hotels will have those rack of coupon booklets. I always pick a few of those and browse through them.
If you are in the military, emergency responder, fire fighter, police, or other similar job, ask about any discounts. I’ve seen military folks get a discount at outlet shopping stores. I am a federal employee and there is a site called Fedrooms that will offer participating hotel rooms at government rate while on personal travel.
Traveling with a pet
I have a new dog named Benny and we love taking him everywhere we go. But we know there are limitations such as going out to restaurants, doing tours, and other touristy things that you can’t take you pet along with you. So we started using Rover. It’s a pet baby sitting service and it’s great. We boarded Benny for two nights in Charleston. He had a great time with his sitter and we were able to enjoy Charleston. Plus it was less expensive than having him stay at the hotel with us.
Vacations are meant to be enjoyable. Don’t let the financial stresses get in the way of it and the worries of not breaking the bank while on vacation. I’m sure there are many other ways and ideas out there. These are ways how I try to minimize the financial burden from vacationing. If you are interested in following my journey, email subscribe to get alerts of latest posts or follow me on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest.
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