5 on Your Side

Airfare, hotels and yes, MEAT: How to make the most of your vacation money

Posted May 19, 2010

Vacations can get expensive, even when you make a real effort to get the most for your money!  Don't get me wrong-- when I vacation-- I don't like to penny-pinch the whole time!  But I do think there are easy ways to save in some areas so that you can splurge on "extras"-- whether it be a snorkel trip, horseback riding, or a really special meal!  For example, whenever I can, I rent a house or hotel room with a "kitchenette" so that we can make at least some meals in the room.  At the very least-- we always ask for a room refrigerator. Most hotels will bring one to you.  That allows you to keep enough items for a few meals.  It sure makes breakfast easy!  Get cereal and milk, or bagels and cream cheese--whatever you like-- the point is, you can just about spend the same amount on buying enough food for a full week of breakfast for the family as you would buying them one breakfast in a hotel restaurant!  

Last year we took a Caribbean trip with a group of friends and rented a house.   On the advice of a travel website-- we brought a cooler of frozen MEAT with us.  Seriously, FROZEN MEAT!  And of course, my "always willing to help" husband volunteered to carry it!  We were both a little worried about the dreaded moment we knew would happen--  when the TSA reps would pull us aside and... in front of everyone...  OPEN IT!  And how embarrassing if they started pulling out each steak, chicken breast and pork-chop?  O-K,  I'll admit it NOW--  I joined our friends in going a little ahead of my husband, pretending not to know him.  But what a relief when the TSA response was simply, "you must be going to the Caribbean!"  Anyway-- it turned out to be a HUGE money saver because 1) meat is A LOT less expensive here in the U-S(and it just LOOKS better), and 2) we ended up eating LUNCHES out-- which were much less expensive than dinners.  And we actually enjoyed relaxing and cooking dinners at the house!

Tonight at 5 Save money on your vacation with Five on Your Side

What are some other ways to save money on vacations? Thursday starting at 5 on WRAL-TV, we'll bring you a savings double-feature, including a little known way to save BIG on airfare AND also, how to get really low rates on hotel rooms-- just by asking the right questions!

So what about you? What do YOU do to make the most of your vacation money? Let me know your ideas so that we can share them will all of our viewers!


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  • TheAdmiral May 21, 2010

    I think it is time to invest in Euros!

  • NCSUPackfan May 20, 2010

    Maybe I should have waited until today to buy my money! Whew.

  • NCSUPackfan May 20, 2010

    I'm going to Europe next month. I went ahead and bought my Euros last week when the Euro plunged. I got the best rate ever this time!

  • froggytroat May 20, 2010

    Camp. When I was in college we'd stay a week at the beach and 4 people could sleep and shower for $12 a night.

    Sleeping in a tent is not that bad if you go when it's not hot.

  • kittiboo May 19, 2010

    Ask locals for the best places to eat- usually they'll recommend cheaper places that are just as good, if not better, than the expensive touristy places.

  • Made In USA May 19, 2010

    Take the family, if you have kids, on a seashell hunt along the shoreline. They will compete with each other in trying to find the best shell. Turn it into a contest between them. That would add to the fun.

  • Made In USA May 19, 2010

    Do your homework, and start early, searching the web for bargain motel rooms and airfares. Both of these items will have a lot of price variations from day to day...especially airfares. Getting a motel during the weekdays offers cheaper prices per night. If at the beach, enjoy beachwalks or surf fishing instead of going to establishments where you'll spend and spend and spend.

About this Blog:

In addition to the stories you see on TV, Monica is always looking for ways to help consumers find deals and avoid fraud. She'll blog about what you need to know here.