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10 Money-Saving Travel & Vacation Tips

Try these tips to s-t-r-e-t-c-h those travel dollars!

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The American vacation is becoming more and more expensive. Here are ten common sense tips to help you save money on your next vacation.

  • Rent a car. What sounds expensive can actually often save you money. Consider renting a car instead of using the airport shuttle. Many times the cost of the shuttle is more than that of a modest car rental – and you have the flexibility of having available transportation. Also, if you are driving to your destination, renting a car instead of using your own vehicle is often cheaper than the extra wear and tear on your own car. Take advantage of coupons to upgrade to a larger, and more comfortable, vehicle.

  • Eat breakfast where kids eat free and split meals. This can mean an enormous saving for a family of four or larger. Children are many times too excited or tired to eat much at a time. Restaurants that are kid friendly are more than happy to accommodate special requests for extra plates.

  • Eat lunch in your room. You'll be surprised how good a peanut butter sandwich, chips, and fresh fruit tastes away from home, and everyone gets a needed break from the heat and crowds of tourist destinations.

  • Take advantage of coupons. Whether it is for lodging, food, or attractions – coupons SAVE money! Find them everywhere... online, in local newspapers, at convenience stores, motels, etc. Always read the fine print carefully for terms of the coupon.

  • Bring your own stroller. This can save $12 to $15 a day at some of the attractions.

  • Bring along individual refillable water bottles. These can be refilled at the hotel and at attraction water fountains. A family of four could easily spend $20 or more a day buying water.

  • Take advantage of multi-day passes at the attractions. This is especially a good deal when they can be used anytime.

  • Make your own reservations. Many hotels and airlines offer additional discounts and specials for booking online.

  • Give each child a set amount to spend. You can tame the "gimmes", and your pocketbook at the same time, by giving children a pre-set spending limit for souvenirs. Also, invest in an autograph book (about $6 at most attractions) and watch the fun as the children collect the "autographs" of their favorite characters. My girls still cherish their "Barbie" autograph obtained at Epcot several years ago.

  • Spend the day away from the attractions. You're paying for that hotel swimming pool... use it! Spend the day at the beach or a nearby museum. The shopping areas near the major attractions (like Downtown Disney) have children's play areas, providing an inexpensive day of fun for the little ones.

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