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Three adults walking down a street
No matter how far away the trip is, there’s always ways to make it easier!
posted in: Lifestyle
by Sam Polczynski

From road trips to staycations, save money on your vacation!

If you or the kids are getting ready for a summer vacation or road trip, you might be worried about the hefty price tag that goes with it.  Or maybe you’re stumped on how to make your staycation fun.

As a college student who is always on the move, I am back with a few tips that are helpful to know before moving away from home.  Whether they are going to a new state or staying in the backyard, here are some useful ideas to pass along to your young traveler.

Road Trips

filling up gas tank
Check gas prices.

Prep for one of the biggest costs - gas.  Many people use apps like GasBuddy, but never use it to their full advantage!  GasBuddy has the option to filter for the type of fuel that you are looking for, find out what other amenities are offered at the gas station, determine the price range of gas near you, and view the low and high prices in the entire region. This will prevent your traveler from driving past a town with lower gas price. Worst.Feeling.Ever.

pulling cash out of a wallet
Keep cash on hand.

Many places charge a fee for using credit cards (yes even in 2018) to save themselves money.  If the stores in a specific area charge 2% on every transaction, this will add up to be a hefty bill (especially on top of everything else). To prevent all that spending, it is usually helpful to keep two days’ worth of expenses on hand in cash (this includes food and drink, gas, and any other expenses known ahead of time.)

couple on porch
Sleep easy on vacation.

While camping is a tried and true method, Airbnb and similar apps are great resources to utilize.  For example, hotels in Chicago average around $220 a night while an Airbnb in the same area is only $84!  And if you are worrying about your traveler staying in someone’s home, don’t forget they all have to go through extensive background checks. Using these apps is a much better idea than pulling off to a rest stop or parking lot…Trust me, no one should make the same mistake I did!  Talk about an awkward memory.

Get friendly with cashiers.

Even if I research places beforehand, it is always fun to talk with cashiers and other locals to find their favorite spots to eat, visit, and go out.  Make sure that your traveler talks with cashiers and waiters for insider tips. These spots will help visitors avoid tourist traps and enjoy the city as a local, all while saving money!


Enjoy the little things.

Most people think they know their town like the back of their hand, but there’s always a way to find something new. Take a new way home, go into a part of town you don’t visit frequently, or try walking places instead of driving.

walking out of building
Contact the local government.

One great resource for staying at home is your local Convention & Visitor’s Bureau.  They are often non-for-profit groups in the local area that have websites, pamphlets, and more with details about the events going on around home. 

group walking by river
Become a self-made tour guide.

My friends and I pretend we’re tour guides and come up with an itinerary for things to do in our hometown.  This forces us to get out of the house and do things we’d normally ignore.  One time I did this with my friends and we found a traveling library and being able to use it was SO COOL.

packed lunch
Finally try that new thing.

Whether it’s an order in meal box, a new Pinterest recipe, or taking a free class offered, try something new!  Whenever my friends and I can’t travel, we usually work on learning a new language.  Check out even more staycation tips and tricks!

From the front yard to the front of one of the national monuments (there are 129 of them!), these tips can help make the most of your trip!  Even though planning out your summer vacation may seem like a big task, we are here to help you #TakeSimpleSteps to make it the best one yet. With all of this increased savings, maybe you can plan a second trip this summer!  Thinking about going further for your vacation?  Take some simple steps for seeing the world.  For more tips on how to travel efficiently, check out our other traveling hacks!

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