How to Save Money on Vacations


I launched FinanceSuperhero in April 2016 to help others save money, get out of debt, earn more money, and live the best life possible. Send me an e-mail or a comment if I can help you in your journey. Thanks for reading!

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16 Responses

  1. Great suggestions! Especially love how you are utilizing Digit. I’ve been doing the exact same thing and have been using it as my travel fund money. I’ve always had enough in there to cover my airfare.

    There’s a funny tension (as you can probably recognize) between booking your travel way ahead vs. waiting until the last minute. If you are a risk taker, you can often get discounted hotels if you wait until the last minute using apps like Hotel Tonight. Same with Airbnb. If you wait until the last minute with an Airbnb, you can usually snag a place for cheaper, especially if the host is just looking to fill the place.

    As an example, for my own Airbnb room that Ms. FP and I rent out, the prices are typically the most expensive the farther out you are. I then start dropping prices as the date gets nearer, until it reaches rock bottom prices. It’s a risky play, but definitely a way to save on lodging.

    • Hero says:

      Thanks for the tip about Hotels Tonight and Airbnb, FP. That tension between planning ahead and waiting until the very last minute is a tough one for a lot of vacationers to navigate.

  2. Good stuff here and the main focus of planning ahead is huge. Both in saving money and time. Planning your vacation ahead where and when you can should usually save money and helps avoid wasting time by deciding what you are going to do for the day. Thanks for the tips!

  3. Looking forward to your Vegas posts! We have yet to go there – but it is in the plans for the next few years. Following the “school calendar” is definitely a budget buster for many vacations. We were looking on Southwest and we can get round trip flights for about 11,000 miles (and we have a Companion pass) during February mid-week (and not near President’s Day). Going that week costs more than 4X the number of miles!

  4. Man, you guys are in for a treat in Vegas with the restaurants! I know, I know, Chicago’s a restaurant town. I dig Gibson’s and Topolobampo as much as anybody. But Vegas has really done it with the restaurant scene lately.

    Since it sounds like y’all are gonna eat breakfast out, you might dig Eggslut. It’s an LA transplant that I’ve never seen (in LA) without lines longer than the DMV.

    I’ve heard Guy Savoy pretty much has the best French food outside of Europe, but I haven’t been. A good friend spends way too much time in Vegas and has eaten there a couple of times and talks about it more than is healthy. But I gather eating there costs almost as much as flying to Paris, so I’d probably only go if he were gonna pay.

    Really, my feeling is the general level of execution at Vegas restaurants is so high right now that you guys can’t go wrong. If, by the way, you’re looking for a third-wheel to tag along and help you eat, I’d see what I can do. Have fun! That’s gonna be a great trip!

  5. Nice tips here, hero. I have to say, I don’t enjoy vacation planning the way some people do. It’s super stressful to me – not sure if it is the money that is the real stress or the fear of getting on a plane! But the money is a big one and these are some good tips. Eating out is a big one – especially when you have kids. It is actually pretty unpleasant to have every meal in a restaurant with children for any extended period. We always look for alternatives for breakfast and lunch. And sometimes dinner!

    • Hero says:

      To be honest, I usually find it stressful, too, Linda. I think I have a hard time planning because I want to try to squeeze in as much as possible. We have hard to start prioritizing a to-do list and narrowing things down. That has alleviated much of the stress for me.

  6. Travelling during off-peak is huge. Not only is your trip a lot cheaper, but you also get to avoid the crowds. I’ve used this technique a few times and endorse it whole-heartedly!

    • Hero says:

      I’m really big on avoiding crowds. I think we might run into a decent crowd over Columbus Day weekend, but it won’t be as bad as other weekends.

  7. Great tips!

    We are last minute vacation people, and we’ve gotten some nice deals that way. With the kiddo, we like places that have kitchens, because eating in saves some money. Other than that, we try to be flexible where we are going, and look at different options to see what makes financial sense. And off-peak traveling is the best perk of having our kid in a year-round school.

  8. Vegas is a great place to have some fun in the sun on the cheap, as long as you stay away from those greedy casinos! I think the last time we went to Vegas our hotel room was something like $40/night.

    • Hero says:

      That’s an outstanding deal, FF. Mrs. Superhero has a specific hotel in mind, so I don’t think we’ll score a deal THAT good. We’re looking to book something in the next day or two.

  9. Awesome tips to planning a vacation. I love seeing cirque du soleil shows even though they aren’t always the most cost effective.

    Little known tip about reserving your hotel in Vegas if you haven’t already. You can find good deals at hotels on the strip through Airbnb or similar sites. Often times they will be someone’s vacation rental or condo that they will rent out for an awesome rate but you’ll still get a majority of the hotel amenities!

  10. ZJ Thorne says:

    I love using Groupon in other cities – for food and things to do that I would not have known about.

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