Packing + Getting Around. Baggage fees continue to rise, so travel light (especially if you’re headed for the beach). Be sure your checked luggage weighs less than regulations permit to avoid a hefty fee at the airport, but don’t skip out packing essentials, like sunscreen, in favor of a lighter bag. Some travelers plan to purchase toiletries once they arrive but bringing along what you already own will allow you to use your vacation funds on a cone of honey-lavender ice cream instead of a tube of toothpaste. Once you arrive, it’s tempting to hail a cab or order a car riding service, but if it’s possible, walk! You’ll get to see things you wouldn’t have from a car, plus you’ll save on fares and stay on budget.
Food + Dining. Going out for coffee and pastries every morning at the charming café near your hotel can definitely make you feel like a local-in-the-know, but those foamy lattes and buttery scones can set you back up to $15 per person for every visit. If you know you’ll be tempted by cute coffee shops, book a hotel that serves continental breakfast, which is cheaper than eating out every morning and is built into the price of your hotel stay.
Of course, it’s fun to dine out, especially when you find spots with five-star reviews and mouth-watering photos, but it may not be within your travel budget to enjoy every meal at a restaurant. Try food stalls or food trucks - where dishes can be half the price of those in restaurants - and people watch or wander around while you dig in. If you’re traveling in a family of four, you could save up to $100 just by choosing restaurant alternatives for two meals.
It’s easy to pop in to a bakery or food hall when you get a mid-afternoon hunger pang and need a quick bite, but those small purchases each day of your trip could cause you to overspend. Instead, pack snacks or stop into a nearby grocery store to stock up on your favorite treats. Depending where you’re visiting, you may even discover something new you haven’t tried before.
Attractions + Events. Once you arrive, take a look at the community calendar. You’ll find plenty of free or cheap activities, like movies in the park, salsa lessons, or guided walks through the botanic gardens. If you have little ones, most community calendars include activities for them, too, like story time or discounted pricing at waterparks.
Additionally, most museums and aquariums have at least one free day per month - and some museums are even free year-round. Find the museum you want to visit and scour their website for information on free days.
If your budget allows, go ahead and splurge on a little souvenir - a small token to keep on your office desk or bedside nightstand to remind you of your travels. Or, better yet, set aside the money you saved on this trip for your next great adventure.