5 on Your Side

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

Posted May 19, 2010 4:41 p.m. EDT
Updated May 19, 2010 6:58 p.m. EDT

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!

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!

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.