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Old 06-03-2009, 06:44 PM
 
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It's that time of year! (well, it is always a good time of year for a vacation, lol). Please share your frugal vacation tips and information!!!
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Old 06-04-2009, 05:51 AM
Status: "I cannot wait for the heat to break..." (set 3 days ago)
 
Location: Where the sun likes to shine!!
20,368 posts, read 25,483,948 times
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Camping is one of the least expensive vacations I can think of which I am sure you know, lol.

When you do go on vacation try to stay where you can make most of your own meals. Pack lunches and drinks when you do out during the day.


I also just found an article about National Parks offering Free Fee weekends. Here is the link:

http://www.city-data.com/forum/9128434-post1.html
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Old 06-04-2009, 06:14 AM
 
Location: Hallandale, FL
204 posts, read 725,995 times
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I took a vacation to Vegas earlier this year that was insanely cheap.

I don't gamble much, but I have the Harrahs card and a special offer came in for a comped room for 4 nights. I got in on Southwest.com half price airfare to Vegas. On the way out there, we took a bumped flight and got Southwest credit for $150 more than what we had paid roundtrip for airfare - we arrived in Vegas about 2.5 hours later. We did some things off strip (like hiking) and the only thing we paid for the whole trip was food. We broke even on gambling which gave us plenty of drinks.

A great, cheap vacation
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Old 06-04-2009, 06:52 AM
 
Location: Hampton Roads, Virginia
1,123 posts, read 4,702,308 times
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We like to go to warm, sunny places - and our summer is the 'off season' in Florida, Caribbean, and for cruises. When the kids were little, we also traveled in early fall - when traveling was the cheapest and all the other kids were in school.

My new favorite website is restaurants.com - where I can get restuarant gift certificates for CHEAP.

We try to stay at hotels that have continental breakfast - that can save us $40!

I also book all my own travel - I search every travel website, as well as the hotel, airline or car sites directly to find the best price. It is surprising how much rates can vary between the well known travel sites. I also used discount codes for our rental car this year that I found just by googling 'car rental discount codes' and saved around $50.

My husband has a rule when traveling - no chain restaurants. So we are always trying to find where the locals eat, little hole in the wall places are much cheaper than the touristly restaurants.

We also buy bottled water from a local Walmart, grocery store etc to keep with us. Much cheaper than paying $2 or $3 a bottle at an attraction. This year we are flying to Vegas and AZ, so on our first day we are hunting down the Walmart to get that water AND a cheapo cooler for our trip.

I have also found that the best vacation experiences were NOT the expensive theme parks or fancy dinners. They are usually something that happens along the way, that was unexpected and free. 2 years ago we traveled from Va to FL. We stopped at Parris Island, SC to take their driving tour of the base (since DS wants to go in the military). We all really enjoyed seeing boot camp in action and it didn't cost us a thing. I never expected that to be the highlight of the trip.
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Old 06-04-2009, 10:40 AM
 
Location: Ocean Shores, WA
5,082 posts, read 12,577,145 times
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The best part of a "Vacation" for me has always been getting back home to my normal routine.

Now, whenever I feel like I need a vacation, I go to the beach and watch the tourists fly kites and cavort in the ice cold water.

Then I'll go to McDonalds, buy a shake, and watch them wander around like zombies in and out of the tourist shops.

Then I'll drive the three blocks home, take a nap and wake up feeling renewed and refreshed.

And I won't need another vacation for probably at least two weeks.
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Old 06-04-2009, 12:15 PM
 
Location: We_tside PNW (Columbia Gorge) / CO / SA TX / Thailand
20,774 posts, read 37,441,293 times
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Cruises are pretty cheap these days (Well under $100 / day) (check 'vacations to go' and 'cheap cruises')

I use (and host) private guest homes ~$20 for 2. Very handy internationally. (they have host profile and accommodations, so you can tailor your trip to your interests and needs.)

For stateside I usually drive my 50 mpg VW's (Passats and Rabbits, of course, they'll run on 'cooking oil' too) or my 20mpg mini motorhome (rialta).
Travel with a cooler and a very small camp stove
Use grocery stores for food needs, ~ $5 / day max (Includes an occasional 'treat' at Wendy's... $1.99 Root Beer Float, if I've been good) drink water, no coffee or alcohol.
Drop into a Costco for free food 'samples'; when really hungry, buy a rotisserie chicken and eat like a king for a few meals.

(and tent for necessity if guest home is not near)
Use city parks / fairgrounds for camping, often free.
Take showers at community pools or mtn lakes.

If I fly, I try to use SWA (Just booked $65 trip from PDX to DEN, again...)
as mentioned...Volunteer for getting bumped on over booked flights, We took bumps on 2 flights & got $1440 credits on one of our 'home school field trips', and were only delayed a few hours. That bought us 3 more trips. (book on Friday and Monday to get most probably bump)
Priceline 'u-name-price'; $12-$16/ day rental cars

Libraries are cheap entertainment on rainy days

Have been known to get a small job enroute to earn some travel $$


I like to bike trip too, but it isn't as cheap (fuel for inefficient propulsion device, flat tires, too many 'overnights')
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Old 06-04-2009, 11:58 PM
 
Location: We_tside PNW (Columbia Gorge) / CO / SA TX / Thailand
20,774 posts, read 37,441,293 times
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Forgot something that I REALLY enjoy in my econo-travels

I have a 'motor-aid' water heater in one of my rigs, it uses the engine heat transfer as a domestic hot water heater. It is great for 'cup-o-soup', hot coco after a cold night, or taking a nice warm shower. It only holds 8 gal, but it is plenty of water for most needs, and it is REALLY hot, so you can add cold water for a longer shower. (I have a pump and outside shower connection)

Working on farms at harvest time can get you some good food, and tire you out for a good, but short night's sleep. The last wheat harvest job I did was 5 AM till 10:30 pm; fuel vehicles (~300gal / day @ $4.gal, shower, and then eat supper about midnight. I slept in the back of my pickup for a few weeks, but it was an adventure. Even got to fight a few 'harvest-fires' (that really makes you appreciate the midnight shower.)

my idea of a fun vacation
http://imageevent.com/spdesigns/whea...=0&y=1&z=2&l=0

http://photos.imageevent.com/spdesig...//100_2722.jpg

Last edited by StealthRabbit; 06-05-2009 at 12:14 AM..
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Old 06-05-2009, 09:30 PM
 
458 posts, read 1,446,852 times
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Our yearly vacation for the last five years has been to go visit my husband's family across the country. It's fun.
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Old 06-06-2009, 05:08 AM
 
943 posts, read 2,706,331 times
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I also use www.restaurant.com I noticed that here in the greater Washington DC area, many more mainstream restaurants that use to be quite chic and crowded are getting slow and have showed up in restaurant.com I use it also in a variety of cities we travel to and have saved hundreds this year. Register via your email account and you will get notifications for sales where on occasion you can get a $25 gift certificate for as little as $2. You just have to spend at least $35 at the specific restaurant. So a $35 meal will just cost $12

The best way to save money traveling is the "name your own price option" with Priceline. www.priceline.com We find the lowest price for a certain star level in a specific part of town on Orbitz and then bid 50% less than that $ figure on Priceline and are usually successful. We have saved thousands of dollars over the last 10 years using the "name your own price option" on hotels on Priceline.

Finally, download the DING Fare Option on your computer from Southwest Airlines. It will give you special access to fares 40% off what the general public can use on that airline.

Last edited by Weekend Traveler; 06-06-2009 at 05:43 AM..
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Old 06-07-2009, 12:51 AM
 
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We like doing "staycations". It's where you take time off from work and school and the usual things, and go out and enjoy the area you live in but perhaps don't get to enjoy as often as you'd like to! We live in Oregon, so there's lots to see and do here, especially during the summer months, and lots of places to go just to relax and enjoy the beauty of it all, too. We do a lot of camping, too. Our favorite is yurt camping on the coast.

Everytime we've travelled far... where we've had to spend money on plane tickets or rental cars or hotels or meals or whatever... we've always come home wishing we had just kept that money in the bank and had fun exploring our own area more closer to home. So finally, we just decided to just do that. "Staycations".
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