How to Save Money on Vacation

Even though you’ve saved up hard for your vacation, it doesn’t mean that you have loads of cash to splash around whilst on your trip.  So how can you save money whilst on a trip?

Having been brought up by my mother’s frugal spending ways and spending much time as a cash-strapped backpacker, I have discovered quite a few tips to save costs on vacation, yet not impact on the experience.

So let’s learn how to save money while travelling?

Travel tips to save money on vacation. Learn ways to cut cost while on holiday

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6 Ways to Save Money on Vacation

1.  Choose the Accommodation that Meets ALL Your Needs.

Save money when you travel by choosing accommodation that provides all the services you need.

Choose the accommodation that has amenities and services you want

Choosing the right accommodation for you can save you money.

I’m not saying stay at the cheapest flea-bitten motel you can find.  I’m saying do your research.  Find accommodation that includes as many facilities and amenities that you want to utilise.

If you’re out all day sightseeing then a simple clean bed is possibly all you need.

However, if you are going to be relaxing at the resort with the occasional day trip you may be more interested in what a resort has to offer.  Is there breakfast included, a gymnasium available, additional sporting activities (like yoga or water aerobics) and free WiFi.

What about if you have kids, they need to be occupied ALL day.  Is there a complimentary kids club, games rooms, even a water park with water slides.  The more the resorts offer’s the less likely you will hear, “I’m bored.”

If staying at a resort is a little over the budget, consider a self-catering apartment or caravan park that has all these amenities.  The bonus – you are able to cut meal costs by packing food for self-catering.  Though of course, this means a little more work for you whilst on vacation.

Top Trip Tip
Take the time to research all the accommodation options at your destination to ensure you get the best fit your vacation.

Start researching your accommodations here on or Expedia.

2.  Look for More Inclusions.

Cut travel costs by getting more inclusions in your vacation package

Reduce additional vacation costs by getting more inclusions


If you don’t want to do the work of cooking and cleaning, worried about budget blowout of restaurants meals and looking for more options on how to save money on food while you travel.  Why not look for accommodation that has a set price for all meals included.

Up until a few years ago, I was never a fan of the all-inclusive holiday, thinking where is the adventure in that?  But after a stay at two of Bali’s all-inclusive resorts, I discovered there were some real benefits to the all-inclusive holiday vacation.  Three meals a day, snack, drinks, even the minibar – all included.  When it comes time to check out – nothing more to pay!

Top Trip Tip
If booking an all-inclusive vacation read the fine print of inclusions and time frames.  We found some hotels offer free alcoholic drinks all day, others only after 5pm.

3.  Pack Snacks

Pack snacks in your luggage to save money on vacation

Pack snacks to save money on holiday

Got fussy eaters in your travel party?  What about including snacks in your travel packing.

When my son was young all he would eat on holiday was toast, hot chips and pizza.  By packing snacks I ensured that his diet had a bit more substance.

I also find bringing snacks from home helps to reduce the amount of junk food being eaten by all of us.  I choose to pack items like rice wheels, crackers with cheese dip, boxes of dried fruit, and muesli bars.

Top Trip Tip
Look for products that provide individual pre-packaged snack-size options for ease of carrying and cleaning up.

4.  Utilise the Mini-Mart/Supermarket

Cut costs on vacation by shopping at the supermarket

Empty the minibar and load up at the supermarket

Meanwhile, other snacks just don’t travel well in transit like small pots of yoghurt.  The answer visit the mini-mart or supermarket.  Your local mini-mart will become your friend for cost saving on holiday.

This is what I do.  As soon as we arrive at our room I check the minibar fridge.  If it is stocked I call to have it emptied (or empty it myself).  Then it is free for me to fill.  Next, we visit the mini-mart purchase drinks, any additional snacks and water.

In many hotels, it is unsafe to drink the tap water, whilst most provide a free bottle of drinking water it is by no means nearly enough for your daily intake.

Top Trip Tip
If you empty the minibar ensure you advise reception and leave items in full view so that housekeeping does not charge you.

5. Handwash the Laundry

The other thing many mini-marts include is a laundry service.  If you are away for more than a week you will probably need your clothes cleaned.  I get our clothes washed and dried, but not ironed (to save money) and there’s an iron in the room should need be.

An even cheaper option is handwashing.  I’ve spent years of my travels handwashing.  I kinda loathe it now that I wash for a family, but it is a great frugal travel tip.

Basically, handwashing or using the local laundrette is a far cheaper option than paying for hotel dry cleaning.

Top Trip Tip
Get the right tools for your handwashing.  Most of these are cheap, lightweight and space-saving to help you pack light for your vacation.

6.  Live Like a Local

Save money on food while travelling by eating out at local eateries

Save money on food while travelling – eat local

Utilising services like the laundrette is one step toward living like a local.  Another was shopping at the supermarket.

Go one more step and use public transport rather than taxis or hire cars.

We’re big fans of using public transport it is cheap, efficient, allows you to talk to the locals and the added bonus for us is my son finds it a novelty as we rarely use public transport at home.

The other local thing to try is to eat out at food courts, it is a great way to save money on vacation meals.

Top Trip Tip
Not sure which food stall to choose?  Watch which ones the locals queue for, they know what’s good.

Which ways do you save money while travelling?

Travel tips on how to save money on holiday. These frugal travle tips will help you cut cost while on vacation.

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lounge chairs by the beach - don't pay and you will save money on vacation

local market food is a way to save money on travels

father ans son in resort splash park saving money by not going out

Hi, I'm a Perth born and bred travel tips blogger/writer with 20+ years experience in airlines, hospitality and tourism. I love sharing my travel lessons learned to help you plan for your travel dream with my travel tips for trips. Please follow along to receive all my travel planning tips, packing lists and destination inspirations.
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10 Responses to “How to Save Money on Vacation

  • I don’t care much for handwashing as I find it really hard to tell when the clothes are clean if they weren’t muddy (or obviously dirty) to begin with, so I probably scrub for a lot longer than I need to. And doing it in a tiny hotel sink is even more frustrating because there’s no space to scrub properly! Mad props to you for doing it for an entire family, although I feel your kids and husband should pitch in too!

    • That’s why I have now stopped hand washing Michelle, not much of a vacation when you have to handwash the entire families clothes every evening.

  • Good tips,Sally, but to be very honest with you I don’t really feel like saving money when I go on vacation. It’s the one time when I don’t want to worry about it. I worry enough about “saving” all the other days of the year…

    • I hear you Anda, you’ve saved hard for your vacation now is the time to sit back relax and splurge a little.

  • We’ve become big fans of staying close to the sites we’re most interested in so that we can walk or use public transport as much as possible. As a bonus, that gets you out among the locals, so you can find those places locals go to eat and shop. #TheWeeklyPostcard

  • Can relate to most of these! We often bring snacks with us or stop at the grocery store closest to the hotel. We also bring our own laundry detergent in a bottle! #TheWeeklyPostcard!

  • Anisa Karen AlhiAnisa lali
    2 years ago

    Great tips. Packing food can really save money. I always bring along protein bars I can have for breakfast. I also try to utilize public transportation and only rent a car if absolutely necessary. #TheWeeklyPostcard

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