Planning a vacation can be exhausting and frustrating, especially when you are trying to stay within a budget.
I’ve learned some amazing secrets over the years and I want to share them so your family can benefit. Wouldn’t it be great to take more vacations and spend less money? I am frugal to the bone.
I am currently away on a solo retreat, AKA, Soulcation…just me…alone…with no one to care for.
I know, mom to mom, this is what we dream of! Do not get me wrong, I love my family for sure, but there are seasons where some alone time can really be beneficial for our soul. This post is not about that topic, however it is about how I managed to get away for FOUR nights at a FIVE star resort with airfare for about $150, including meals.
If you prefer to check out the Facebook Live I did, you can watch here, otherwise I will give you the written tips here!
Credit card perks
Okay, if you are a Dave Ramsey fan, you will likely not agree with this section, but just hear me out. I will say this, if you can not pay off your credit card each and every month, please skip this section. Now, if you can use a credit card to your advantage, by collecting it’s perks while purchasing your normal, everyday purchases, then pick one or two that will benefit you.
For our family we have two different airline credit cards which are used in order to accrue mileage to locations we desire to go, like Hawaii. In February 2018 our family of three went to Hawaii for literally free. We paid taxes on our airline ticket and we had a hotel room for six nights for free. More on that in the next section.
A few tips with credit cards.
Pick an airline that has routes you desire to travel to and from. This can take a bit of research, but well worth your time. For our family, we like Hawaii and the Pacific Coast, so one of the cards we chose was Alaska Airlines. It works well for our needs.
Look at the yearly fee. I know we will pay a yearly fee on a credit card that gives us great rewards, we consider it a cost of doing business and getting “free” stuff. You can be smart to find a card with the lowest fee and the perks you desire.
Pay the card off each month. This is non-negotiable. If you are carrying a balance on your credit card, you’ve lost any “reward” perk you could have earned. Paying interest is just not smart.
My husband travels for a living and we do a lot of side travel as well. For us, having one hotel company we try to stay at consistently has proven to have huge benefits. With frequent stays at the same hotel (Hilton, Hyatt, Marriott) you will accrue points when you sign up with their free loyalty programs. The hotel we chose had us moving up that program fairly quickly and we soon had free nights to redeem.
We redeemed six nights in Hawaii last February and it was amazing. An ocean front room with a club lounge for breakfast and evening appetizers, which also ends up saving you a bit of money with food expenses.
You can also get free room upgrades, special gifts from the hotel and more. We’ve also decided to snag this hotel chains credit card as well, because we can earn that much quicker. It’s been a huge benefit and has additional rewards.
I just returned from four nights in Huntington Beach where I had an ocean view deluxe room for free. I also redeem airline miles for a ticket and paid $11.
When you pick a hotel chain to stay with consistently it does end up paying off with rewards and perks.
Uber for the win
When you are traveling by air, truly look at your options for getting around. Sometimes, the parking fees at resorts is expensive. The hassle of driving around, finding locations and driving in new areas can be stressful. If you are going to a resort and pretty much staying put, consider not renting a car and using Uber to get around.
Lately when I’ve been traveling, I have ditched the rental car and used Uber to get form the airport to the hotel as well as traveling a few places during my stay. It has saved me money since I was not paying for a car and paying for parking.
Uber Eats, Grub Hub, Door Dash
Traveling with a family is expensive, but there are always new ways to save. Consider doing Uber Eats, Grub Hub or Door Dash for a few meals while on the road. I recently used Uber Eats for several meals and saved a lot over dining on the resort property or ordering poolside. I actually purchased for two meals, lunch and dinner. I ate the hot entree and usually put a salad in the hotel refrigerator so I could enjoy that later.
Room service is nice for sure, but it is costly. Those fees add up. You can still enjoy dining from your balcony but just a bit differently when you order in using one of these services.
Amazon Prime Now and Instacart
Another great tip for food and supplies while at a hotel with out a rental car is using a delivery service like Amazon Prime Now or Instacart. I mean, you’re on vacation, who needs the hassle of grocery shopping?
Amazon Prime Now is a Free APP – and I have used it to get bottled water delivered, wine, kombucha, fresh fruit, personal care products we’ve forgotten and more. If you order a certain amount, usually $40 delivery is free, you just pay a tip.
Instacart is a service which is paid service, so you will be paying a fee for delivery. Depending on your area, this may be the only option. I recently visited Salt Lake City and instacart was the only option for grocery delivery. It was much easier to just pay the delivery fee than venture out and carry my items myself. So much easier.
This is a special one for all the busy mamas!!! I have used Zeel for massages while traveling and it’s been one of my best discoveries!! You can even grab a membership and use it in your own home town, unfortunately it’s not available where I live, so I can only benefit when I travel.
You simply type in your zip code and if they service your area, you can book a massage. The provider comes to your location, no going anywhere and you can choose from a variety a massages and durations. The prices are so reasonable and I simply have loved not having to leave our rental home or hotel room.
Be sure to check it out the next time you travel, or if you are wanting a little self-care for you, make an appointment for when your little ones are napping!! WIN, WIN!
What tip did you find the most helpful?