Going on vacation is a very exciting opportunity and one that many take for granted. Often times people want to make the most of their getaway and choose to save money for a long period of time in order to be able to travel in style. If you are a Travel Freak, you understand that you don’t have to have a million dollars to explore the world and have a great time. But if you are interested in traveling in style, we have some tips for you for your next adventure.
If you are a style maven and strive to look the part at all times, be on the lookout for designer luggage that will go on sale from time to time at major department stores. For example, Macy’s often has great designer luggage marked down during various times of the year. Coupled with a coupon, you can save big money and have a luggage set that will surely make you feel great as you walk through the airport.
Take a Limo
Take a limo to and from the airport. While this may sound expensive, it may actually be cheaper than parking your car at the airport for the week while you are away. Look for deals on travel websites that often offer sales for transportation services. If you begin looking ahead, you will be able to find a good deal on limo service to and from the airport which may even save you money in parking, tolls, and gas. Not to mention, taking a limo to the airport is sure to turn heads.
Book a hair appointment and makeover before going out on the town. Most cities can offer a great salon experience while you are away from your home stylist. Check cities for blowout bars or head to a local mall to get a beauty makeover. In fact, many department stores will provide a free makeover if you purchase a couple of beauty products. After a day of beauty, you will surely feel like a night out on the town with your friends or sweetheart.
Look for coupon codes for activities. There are certainly many things you will do before you set off to your vacation destination. Be sure to keep an eye out for coupons or promotions for the city you will be vacationing. You can find great deals on food, excursions, and other activities weeks in advance. By planning ahead you can save over 25% off of regular prices!
When to Shop
Shop all year round for your vacation clothes. If you are planning a great vacation a year in advance, you can begin to shop for your vacation clothes early on in the planning process. The best time to shop for stylish, designer threads is after the season. If you are traveling next summer, be sure to check the sale and clearance racks at the end of this summer. You will likely be able to find a great swimsuit, cover-up, and sandals for up to 75% off! That is a huge savings!
What are your best tips for heading out in style?
Taking a Large Group to Orlando on a Budget
My family loves to visit Orlando. During the year one or more of us visit at different times. Once a year I take on the task of planning a trip for the entire family to enjoy together. Four generations head to Orlando early each June for 8 days of family fun and togetherness. There is no doubt that Orlando can be an expensive destination. Over the years I have found ways to save on our yearly trips so that everyone can have the experience they want.
Orlando is best known for Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando, but there’s so much more to the area. Vacationing in Orlando with 8, 10 or 12 people on a budget can be pretty easy with the right mind-set. As soon as I realized that hotels just won’t work, especially a Walt Disney World or Universal resort, my planning became so much easier. Having space for a large group can get expensive when you think about needing 2, 3 or 4 rooms to accommodate everyone in a hotel or resort.
Vacation Home Rental
Once I realized that renting at least 3 or 4 hotel rooms could easily explode my budget, I began looking at vacation home rentals in Orlando. Fortunately I found one that my family loves and we have now used many times.
The positive side of renting a vacation home is cost. Even the cheapest hotel room times four rooms can easily cost $500 or more per night. Times 7 nights, well, that’s lots of money. We can rent an entire home that sleeps up to 16 for much less. Each member of the family also has their own space with private areas so there is never a feeling of crowding each other. The home my family really loves, and has used many times, is Characters Corner Vacation Home. I will admit I was a little concerned going into our trip this year since we have added a new baby. Bringing a 5 month old along was definitely something I haven’t done in a long time. My mom, at 85, is also having a much harder time getting around. The home is set up so well and provides everything a family needs (2 cribs, high chair, ground floor bedrooms with bathrooms) that I was worried for nothing! Six bedrooms and two convertible sofa beds, 4 bathrooms, a movie theater and a pool/kiddie pool/hot tub! What more can a family want! Everything you need is in the home to make your family feel comfortable, relaxed and ready to have a great vacation. All dishes, linens, washer/dryer, Wi-Fi, pool towels, etc., are provided and the home is wheel chair accessible.
My new grandson was also able to experience his first pool time without worry that he would get splashed or afraid in a large resort pool with many other people around.
Cleanliness and customer satisfaction are the top priorities for the owners and there is a property manager nearby, just a phone call away in case of a problem.
Location – Location – Location!
Location is an important factor for us. Characters Corner Vacation Home is ideal. The home is a short 10 minute drive onto Walt Disney World property (2.5 miles away) and a 15 minute drive to Universal Orlando, Sea World and all the restaurants, shopping and attractions on the heart of International Drive (I-Drive). Multiple large name grocery stores are within a few minutes drive, as well as many restaurants, shops and attractions.
The home is located in a private, gated community so is a very safe and secure spot for a family.
Dining Out vs. Eating In
No one really wants to go on vacation and cook. When a large group also means a large cost to eat out, cooking easy meals is necessary for the budget. When we first arrive at the rental home, one of the first things I do is head to the grocery store. Not only do I buy a few easy fix meals for the week, I buy breakfast for each day as well as bottled water and snacks to take with us on our trips to local attractions. You’ll be surprised how much you can save by eating breakfast at the house and taking along your own snacks and water! Some evenings we may return to the house before dinner. There is a gas grill provided for easy meals like hamburgers and hot dogs. There are also several local restaurants that will deliver to the community. Pizza and a movie in the theater are a great way to spend a relaxing evening together!
Discount Attraction Tickets
Each member of my family likes to do something different. My granddaughter only wants to go to Walt Disney World. My daughter-in-law and son love Universal. I like Sea World. My daughter likes it all! Even though we travel together I am a firm believer in everyone getting to do what they like. Sometimes it’s necessary to split up and go our separate ways. We have a family meeting each year and everyone gets to say what they want to do and where they want to go. I then use discount sites to purchase the tickets and passes based on the list of things each family member wants to do. If only 2 want to visit Universal, I purchase tickets for those 2 only for one day. If all want to go to Walt Disney World, I purchase park passes for everyone making sure to not purchase tickets for every day of our trip. I try to build in days to see other things or to relax around the pool. My favorite site for saving on park and attraction passes is Undercover Tourist.
Free is Always Good on the Budget
There is so much more to Orlando than theme parks! There are many free and super cheap things to do in the area.
Disney Springs is a great way to get a Disney experience without the cost of the theme parks. With shopping, dining, and diverse entertainment, you’ll be able to spend an entire day here. You can even pack a lunch, find a shady spot and enjoy a family picnic!
Clearwater Beach Morse Museum of American Art offers free admission for children under 12, as well as free admission for everyone on Fridays from 4PM til 8PM (November through April). Morse Museum is technically in Winter Park but is less than 20 minutes from downtown Orlando.
A one-of-a-kind Holocaust Memorial has both permanent and traveling exhibits to communicate the history of the Holocaust. Admission is free.
For the adults in the group, Orlando Brewing Company offers free tours. Call ahead to find out hours and other information.
Several companies offer air boat rides, alligator tours, and more. While the prices aren’t too high, it could get expensive with a large family so be sure everyone wants to go before purchasing tickets.
What are your best tips when visiting Orlando with a group?
How to Do Nashville on a Budget
Nashville on a Budget
Nashville is one of the most affordable vacation spots in the country. Tourists visit for the music and old country atmosphere. Nashville is one of those cities you just keep going back to over and over, even if you’ve already seen it all. The people, the music, the food… it’s tough to choose a top reason to visit because everything is great!
Chances are, you’ll want to drive in or rent a car if you fly. The scenery in Tennessee is second to none so if you can drive in, do it! Nashville isn’t the only city in Tennessee that’s worth visiting.
Eat for Cheap!
Nashville has delicious food, and it’s cheap! Picture the typical Midwest/Southern food: BBQ, fried catfish, pulled pork, baked beans, and more. The portions are nice, too, so get a to-go box for when you’re hungry later.
The “hole in the wall” restaurants are usually the best to eat at. Avoid chain restaurants, and be sure to check Yelp and TripAdvisor before heading to a new joint or you might be sorely disappointed! Fortunately, I don’t think there is bad food in Nashville, so you should be safe. 🙂
Snag Attraction and Museum Deals
Stalk Groupon, Yelp, TripAdvisor, and other deal sites for coupons before you visit any Nashville museums. Here’s a list of the best Nashville museums according to visitors and locals. You can save 50% or more with Groupon and other sites! It’s definitely worth planning ahead to save that much.
Beaman Park – Located about 15 minutes from downtown Nashville, you’ll feel like you’re in a beautiful country oasis getaway… not just a short drive from the city. The waterfalls and streams, along with unique plant life, make this a top spot to visit when you’re in Nashville.
Called the “Oasis in the City”, Radnor Lake State Park is worth spending an afternoon at. You’ll have no shortage of scenery to take in (and take photos of!). Pack a picnic and enjoy the serenity of this beautiful protected wildlife area and lake.
Once an 800 acre farm, Bells Bend Park is now open to the public (since 2007). If you’re a birdwatcher, this is the park for you! Lock Two Park is off the beaten path, not nearly as popular as the other parks, but still just as worthy of a visit. If you’re a history buff, photographer, birdwatcher, or just overall nature lover, you will enjoy an adventure to Lock Two Park. The view of the river is second to none!
There are so many parks to visit, there’s no way to get them all!
Nashville gets cold in the winter, so some things (like visiting Farmer’s Markets) are best done during the other seasons. Spend some time checking out the best markets in Nashville.
What’s the best way to save money in Nashville? Let me know in the comments!
Previous Posts in the 2017 Traveling on a Budget Series:
Visiting San Antonio is always a great experience! It’s one of the best cities to visit on a budget, too. Traveling mid-week will save you quite a bit on hotel and airfare compared to the weekends. If you’re traveling with a large family or staying for more than a few days, it might be worth finding a vacation rental or timeshare instead of a downtown hotel.
San Antonio has some awesome weather. Get out and enjoy it – for free! The Alamo grounds are free to visit, and even if you aren’t a history buff it’s interesting enough to attract nearly 3 million visitors a year.
Chances are if you’re traveling to Anaheim, you’re going to visit Disneyland. There are many ways to do Disney on a budget, but that’s another blog post in itself! Disneyland isn’t the only thing to do in Anaheim. There are plenty of other ways to have fun on a budget – and even for free – while visiting.
The Great Outdoors . . .
Covering nearly 30 acres, this lush botanical garden is the largest in Orange County. Fullerton Arboretumwas established in 1979 and boasts over 4,000 plants and trees. Admission is free, with a suggested donation of $5.
Yorba Regional Park has a parking fee of $3 per vehicle, but admission is free. Yorba is a great park for families! A beautiful setting on nearly 150 acres, the park has 400 picnic tables (many with shade). If the fishing doesn’t wear the kids out, the playgrounds will!
Learn a Thing or Two
Bowers Museum is free for kids under 12, and tickets for adults are $13. Exhibits change but some recent ones include Frida Kahlo (who is amazing!), Sacred Realms, Ancient Arts of China, and more. This museum features more than 130,000 works of art!
Visiting Muzeo is kind of tricky: you think you’re just having fun, but in reality, you’re learning something! You’ll erts, entertainment, education, and culture. Muzeo Museum isn’t free; there are different prices for each event. Some are $5 while others are $35. Check the upcoming schedule of events to see if it’ll fit into your budget.
Have Some Fun!
World famous Huntington Beach is the largest in Southern California. It boasts 10 miles of sunny, sandy beaches and isn’t far from Disney. Catch a wave or chill on the beach. Either way, you could spend an entire day here!
Rock City Climbingis an indoor rock climbing gym. Admission is only $12 but check Groupon to see if you can get a better deal.
Training home to the Mighty Ducks, The Rinksis a great place to go ice skating. Cost is $10.
Love sports? See the Angelsplay for as little as ten bucks.
Nothing beats Disney, but if you’re on a budget or all Disney’d out, check out these two:
A season pass to Knott’s Berry Farm costs about the same as a 1-Day pass to Disney. Live entertainment and rides will keep you busy all day long!
Admission to Adventure City is less than $20, and it’s a great experience! The roller coasters, rides, and other attractions along with the family atmosphere is what makes people come to Adventure City year after year.
Have you visited Anaheim? What was your favorite spot? Let me know in the comments!
Previous Posts in the 2017 Traveling on a Budget Series: