Author Topic: How to be frugal while vacationing  (Read 9028 times)

extremelyFRUGAL

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How to be frugal while vacationing
« on: January 07, 2015, 12:09:49 PM »
Hi All
I'm an extremely frugal early 20 year old. I'm married and we both have full time jobs. We save every penny. We dont have any debt and are just saving for a house in the future. One thing we do like to do is a yearly trip to the caribbean. The past 2 years we have spent around $2,000-2,300 for each trip (all-inclusive to boot!) I would just like to hear some tips and tricks on how to travel the caribbean at around the same price. So far, for different islands the price seems to be more like $3,000 for 2 including flights(little high for me). We've been to Punta Cana and Jamaica. I usually book through Expedia to keep up with my rewards points.

I'd like to travel within the US too but we are currently sticking to one big vacation a year. Anything would help!

Cromacster

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Re: How to be frugal while vacationing
« Reply #1 on: January 07, 2015, 12:49:24 PM »
I did my honeymoon to St. John USVI for around 1,600.  This included lodging, food, rental car, and entertainment.  We used miles for airfare.  With airfare it would have been around 2,600.  More recently 4 of us traveled to St John for about 1,400/person for a 10 day trip.

My go to for vacation rentals is Vacation Rental by Owner

Depending on the time of year flights to St Thomas (ferry to st john) are $400-$700.  Rental car will be around 500, but depending where you stay in st john you could go without a rental car, and if you decide you wanted one you could rent one for the day ($80-$100).

Other than finding deals or cashing in miles for airfare and rental cars, cooking a majority of your own food is going to be the best bang for your buck.  With that, I would suggest packing meat and eggs in a cooler and checking it on the plane.

I've never done an all inclusive in the Caribbean.  I've found I can do the trip cheaper on my own, unless I am going to Mexico.  The all inclusive prices there are hard to beat.

boarder42

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Re: How to be frugal while vacationing
« Reply #2 on: January 07, 2015, 12:55:44 PM »
subscribe to Travelzoo.com and shermans travel emails

they come out once a week on wednesday.  top 20 and top 25 respectively. 

be flexible with when/where you go and you can usually find deals for around 100/night all inclusive including air P/P from KC.  The also run some resorts that are <30 bucks a day per person.  You can book your own air with southwest if they fly to that island see below   

another option is a cruise. 


Celebrity runs promo's all the time mainly thru CruCon(subscribe to their emails). 

You can usually get a balcony cabin with booze food entertainment port fees and gratuities all included for around 750-800 per person. 


with the airfare use the SW CC travel hack to get a companion pass and then your airfare should be free  SW has started flying to some carribean islands and they are adding more all the time.  NOTE: You will have to do this next year as i'm pretty sure the promo is over

boarder42

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Re: How to be frugal while vacationing
« Reply #3 on: January 07, 2015, 01:10:12 PM »
My wife and i will spend 10days in hawaii next year using airline points this will cost us around 2000 bucks. 

This year we will spend 10days in a campervan exploring the great Utah National Parks.  This will cost around 1500 bucks. 

These are both pretty unmuastacian events but its what we like to do.

MakingSenseofCents

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Re: How to be frugal while vacationing
« Reply #4 on: January 07, 2015, 01:17:07 PM »
If you are good with credit cards, I would look at travel hacking. Me and my husband have signed up for 2 credit cards this year already so that we can get free travel and cash.

extremelyFRUGAL

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Re: How to be frugal while vacationing
« Reply #5 on: January 07, 2015, 01:19:37 PM »
We are very good with credit cards - though isnt there a yearly fee once you open? And it would hurt your credit if you cancel the card after a few years?

JoJo

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Re: How to be frugal while vacationing
« Reply #6 on: January 07, 2015, 01:21:01 PM »
Consider central america.  (Utila, Honduras for example)

Someone mentioned cruises but booze is not included for most lines (although you can add all you can drink for a huge price, but sometimes they have promotions where it's included).  Keep in mind that they don't include day activities so at minimum you will have some transportation or tour costs on the island.    www.cruisecritic.com has lots of good advice on saving money on shore excursions.  Don't even think about taking the ship tours which are 2-3x the cost of doing independently or with private companies.

Are you within driving distance of Florida?  I just did a fairly frugal trip there and loved the Keys & Everglades.  If you can camp, it's even cheaper.

MakingSenseofCents

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Re: How to be frugal while vacationing
« Reply #7 on: January 07, 2015, 01:24:13 PM »
We are very good with credit cards - though isnt there a yearly fee once you open? And it would hurt your credit if you cancel the card after a few years?

Many waive the annual fee the first year. I just signed up for the Chase Sapphire and it is waived. It might hurt your credit, but usually it's just by a few points. I have signed up for 3 or 4 credit cards in the past 3 months and my credit score actually went up - I am at 801 now even with all the credit card churning.

Will you be needing your credit score soon for anything? If not, then a few points really won't matter too much.

extremelyFRUGAL

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Re: How to be frugal while vacationing
« Reply #8 on: January 07, 2015, 01:30:17 PM »
Sadly, I'm not that close to Florida - but I've heard Siesta Keys and those areas are beautiful. My husband and I are looking to do a few more Caribbean trips before kids/house. We thought might as well do it now! We also looked into cruises but as people have mentioned - I hate additional costs when traveling! I'd rather pay for the all-inclusive to just chill and hang out all day and not paying for anything additional.

The credit card idea does seem to work for people I just dont want to get into anything that I know won't benefit me 5 years from now, such as the Chase travel card. We dont really need our credit score for another 3 years at least but still makes me nervous cancelling a cc.. just always been told not to do that.

Thanks for all the tips! Keep them coming!

Scandium

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Re: How to be frugal while vacationing
« Reply #9 on: January 07, 2015, 01:34:10 PM »
My wife and i will spend 10days in hawaii next year using airline points this will cost us around 2000 bucks. 

This year we will spend 10days in a campervan exploring the great Utah National Parks.  This will cost around 1500 bucks. 

These are both pretty unmuastacian events but its what we like to do.

Any tips for good websites for RV/campervan (are those the same thing?) rentals? I've never rented one but been thinking about it for future vacations. Some rental RVs I looked at were massive (even the smallest they had) and cost $250+/day! Hoped to find something better..

MakingSenseofCents

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Re: How to be frugal while vacationing
« Reply #10 on: January 07, 2015, 01:36:37 PM »
Sadly, I'm not that close to Florida - but I've heard Siesta Keys and those areas are beautiful. My husband and I are looking to do a few more Caribbean trips before kids/house. We thought might as well do it now! We also looked into cruises but as people have mentioned - I hate additional costs when traveling! I'd rather pay for the all-inclusive to just chill and hang out all day and not paying for anything additional.

The credit card idea does seem to work for people I just dont want to get into anything that I know won't benefit me 5 years from now, such as the Chase travel card. We dont really need our credit score for another 3 years at least but still makes me nervous cancelling a cc.. just always been told not to do that.

Thanks for all the tips! Keep them coming!

No problem. Credit card churning isn't meant for everyone. I don't know of too many people who do it except for other bloggers haha.

TerriM

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Re: How to be frugal while vacationing
« Reply #11 on: January 07, 2015, 01:38:27 PM »
We are very good with credit cards - though isnt there a yearly fee once you open? And it would hurt your credit if you cancel the card after a few years?

Many waive the annual fee the first year. I just signed up for the Chase Sapphire and it is waived. It might hurt your credit, but usually it's just by a few points. I have signed up for 3 or 4 credit cards in the past 3 months and my credit score actually went up - I am at 801 now even with all the credit card churning.

Will you be needing your credit score soon for anything? If not, then a few points really won't matter too much.

Places like Southwest/American will charge a fee, but for 30000 miles or whatever they're offering, it's worth it.

Chase Sapphire shouldn't be charging you at all.  I'm pretty sure we have one of their cards, and have no annual fee.

Scandium

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Re: How to be frugal while vacationing
« Reply #12 on: January 07, 2015, 01:45:09 PM »
We are very good with credit cards - though isnt there a yearly fee once you open? And it would hurt your credit if you cancel the card after a few years?

Many waive the annual fee the first year. I just signed up for the Chase Sapphire and it is waived. It might hurt your credit, but usually it's just by a few points. I have signed up for 3 or 4 credit cards in the past 3 months and my credit score actually went up - I am at 801 now even with all the credit card churning.

Will you be needing your credit score soon for anything? If not, then a few points really won't matter too much.

Places like Southwest/American will charge a fee, but for 30000 miles or whatever they're offering, it's worth it.

Chase Sapphire shouldn't be charging you at all.  I'm pretty sure we have one of their cards, and have no annual fee.
I just got a Chase Sapphire card. It has a $95/year fee, waived the first year. I plan to take the 40K points and cancel after 11 months.

jordanread

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Re: How to be frugal while vacationing
« Reply #13 on: January 07, 2015, 01:51:58 PM »
I did my honeymoon to St. John USVI for around 1,600.  This included lodging, food, rental car, and entertainment.  We used miles for airfare.  With airfare it would have been around 2,600.  More recently 4 of us traveled to St John for about 1,400/person for a 10 day trip.

My go to for vacation rentals is Vacation Rental by Owner

Depending on the time of year flights to St Thomas (ferry to st john) are $400-$700.  Rental car will be around 500, but depending where you stay in st john you could go without a rental car, and if you decide you wanted one you could rent one for the day ($80-$100).

Other than finding deals or cashing in miles for airfare and rental cars, cooking a majority of your own food is going to be the best bang for your buck.  With that, I would suggest packing meat and eggs in a cooler and checking it on the plane.

I've never done an all inclusive in the Caribbean.  I've found I can do the trip cheaper on my own, unless I am going to Mexico.  The all inclusive prices there are hard to beat.

Outstanding site. I may not get any more work done today due to that link you so nonchalantly dropped.

boarder42

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Re: How to be frugal while vacationing
« Reply #14 on: January 07, 2015, 02:25:31 PM »
My wife and i will spend 10days in hawaii next year using airline points this will cost us around 2000 bucks. 

This year we will spend 10days in a campervan exploring the great Utah National Parks.  This will cost around 1500 bucks. 

These are both pretty unmuastacian events but its what we like to do.

Any tips for good websites for RV/campervan (are those the same thing?) rentals? I've never rented one but been thinking about it for future vacations. Some rental RVs I looked at were massive (even the smallest they had) and cost $250+/day! Hoped to find something better..

we are using escapecampervans.  works out to around 100 bucks a day and includes everything but your gas.  best one i could find in the states.  more of your typical barebones campervan than an RV though

boarder42

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Re: How to be frugal while vacationing
« Reply #15 on: January 07, 2015, 02:26:37 PM »
I did my honeymoon to St. John USVI for around 1,600.  This included lodging, food, rental car, and entertainment.  We used miles for airfare.  With airfare it would have been around 2,600.  More recently 4 of us traveled to St John for about 1,400/person for a 10 day trip.

My go to for vacation rentals is Vacation Rental by Owner

Depending on the time of year flights to St Thomas (ferry to st john) are $400-$700.  Rental car will be around 500, but depending where you stay in st john you could go without a rental car, and if you decide you wanted one you could rent one for the day ($80-$100).

Other than finding deals or cashing in miles for airfare and rental cars, cooking a majority of your own food is going to be the best bang for your buck.  With that, I would suggest packing meat and eggs in a cooler and checking it on the plane.

I've never done an all inclusive in the Caribbean.  I've found I can do the trip cheaper on my own, unless I am going to Mexico.  The all inclusive prices there are hard to beat.

Outstanding site. I may not get any more work done today due to that link you so nonchalantly dropped.

Yes it is i've been using it for a few years too.

We plan to use this in Hawaii to get a house with ocean views overlooking the bay west of maui during whale season.  probably gonna cost 100 a night for a 1 bedroom house

themagicman

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Re: How to be frugal while vacationing
« Reply #16 on: January 07, 2015, 03:25:12 PM »
Hi All
I'm an extremely frugal early 20 year old. I'm married and we both have full time jobs. We save every penny. We dont have any debt and are just saving for a house in the future. One thing we do like to do is a yearly trip to the caribbean. The past 2 years we have spent around $2,000-2,300 for each trip (all-inclusive to boot!) I would just like to hear some tips and tricks on how to travel the caribbean at around the same price. So far, for different islands the price seems to be more like $3,000 for 2 including flights(little high for me). We've been to Punta Cana and Jamaica. I usually book through Expedia to keep up with my rewards points.

I'd like to travel within the US too but we are currently sticking to one big vacation a year. Anything would help!

My wife and I take cruises to the caribbean quite often and we love them. They are a very good deal and are all inclusive minus alcohol. All of your food and entertainment are covered. We have gone on many 5 night cruises for around $250 a person so it is a great deal!

southern granny

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Re: How to be frugal while vacationing
« Reply #17 on: January 07, 2015, 08:00:15 PM »
we also use vrbo.com for booking our vacation rentals.  However, we have never booked anything outside the U.S.  We have never had a bad experience.  We used it last month to book a three day stay at a farmhouse outside of Bardstown, KY. 

steveo

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Re: How to be frugal while vacationing
« Reply #18 on: January 07, 2015, 08:33:09 PM »
Myself and my wife and 3 kids simply have stay at home vacations. They are great.

RyanAtTanagra

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Re: How to be frugal while vacationing
« Reply #19 on: January 08, 2015, 11:40:21 AM »
What my parents do is book a cottage or in-law suite for a weekly rate.  Cheaper than a hotel, and has to have a kitchen.  Then my dad puts a bunch of frozen steaks in his checked suitcase.  This saves them from eating out all the time, or even spending a lot at the grocery store, since they have meat covered.

lakemom

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Re: How to be frugal while vacationing
« Reply #20 on: January 09, 2015, 06:12:01 AM »
Have you checked into Key West, FL?  Fly into Miami and rent a car to drive down (beautiful drive!), stay in a rental cottage, walk/bike everywhere and enjoy the night life and beaches.  Dh and I have been once without the kids and once with the two youngest and its a great vacation destination.  You can save quite a bit by doing breakfast and dinner at home and eating lunches out.  Also, there don't seem to be any container laws so we would have a couple of drinks with dinner than take one with us when we walked downtown.  Then we'd only buy 1 or 2 drinks each while enjoying the night life (this was when we didn't have the kids, a lot less alcohol when they were with us lol).  Another thing we do is set a spending budget before going on vacation to limit the amount of impulse buys.  If you know you've only allotted $100 per person for "stuff" then buying the $150 whatnot is no longer to tempting.  Also, plan what you will be doing each day ahead of time and try and search out any discounts there may be (windsurfing, snorkeling, fishing, etc.).
« Last Edit: January 09, 2015, 06:17:29 AM by lakemom »

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Re: How to be frugal while vacationing
« Reply #21 on: January 09, 2015, 07:18:55 AM »
We are very good with credit cards - though isnt there a yearly fee once you open? And it would hurt your credit if you cancel the card after a few years?

We only open ones that waive the first year fee. Then we cancel. The credit score takes a ding, but it is meaningless to us because it is highly unlikely we are going to take out any sort of loan in the next 5 to 10 years (we just bought a house 2 years ago, I just paid cash for my new car, my husband already has a PhD that he was paid to do, and I paid cash for my Master's degree and won't start my PhD until work pays it, etc) and because our credit is excellent so the ding isn't that big of a deal anyway.

If you plan to apply for a mortgage soon, or need good credit to get other types of loans then it isn't as  good of a deal.

We went to cancel one of the cards this year, and they gave us a statement credit in the amount of the annual fee and a bonus for each month we used it.  So we'll try to cancel it again next year, and then we will open the same card, but in my name this time :)

We don't do this with TOO many cards because we just can't spend enough to keep it all up, but some are worth it.



How to be frugal on vacation isn't something I'm great at. Vacations are my splurge, but we make wise choices like sharing meals, eating in the hotel room, or staying at less expensive places to help with the costs.  We also walk a lot to avoid taxis when possible.

medstudent

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Re: How to be frugal while vacationing
« Reply #22 on: January 09, 2015, 01:38:02 PM »
My roommate and I went to an all inclusive in Jamaica last month for $600 each, 4 days/3 nights, including the flight. It wasn't the fanciest place (Holiday inn) but it was clean, the food and water were totally fine, drinks and some watersports at the resort were included, and, come on, it's Jamaica!  We did a little sightseeing beyond the resort, but outside of that the only thing we paid was cab fare to and from the airport.

We booked through cheapcarribean.com. I won't lie, I was a little terrified that it was going to be a scam based on that web address but it was actually totally fine. We never had any trouble with either the flight or hotel reservations, and everything was as expected. I would highly recommend it. Just shop around for a deal and wait till you find one that includes your dates, etc.

I also took my mother on a trip to Turks and Caicos through Groupon - it was $30 per person per night for 5 days/4 nights. (This was not all inclusive and the flight was separate, so this was more expensive, though still cheap for the carribean). Again, we never had trouble with reservations and enjoyed our trip. The place wasn't fancy, but it was a clean, safe building with air conditioning, free breakfast, and a wonderfully helpful staff.

hope this helps!

extremelyFRUGAL

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Re: How to be frugal while vacationing
« Reply #23 on: January 09, 2015, 01:38:33 PM »
Yeah we plan on using our credit score in 3 years, even though we have excellent credit I still wouldnt like to take a risk of hurting us. I play life pretty safe which will probably hurt me in the long run (investing mainly) but hey I'm young and just trying to learn now. We have no loans, emergency fund, and savings so I think we are doing pretty well right now. I do like to vacation! I mean who doesnt - but I still like to budget and I will still try to get everything as cheap as possible :)

Thanks guys, I need to keep Florida in mind.

FLBiker

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Re: How to be frugal while vacationing
« Reply #24 on: January 09, 2015, 01:55:47 PM »

norabird

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Re: How to be frugal while vacationing
« Reply #25 on: January 09, 2015, 03:31:52 PM »
Being cautious is one thing, but it seems to me (depending on what you guys are normally spending each month) that you are leaving free miles on the table by worrying about credit dings. Maybe just start with something like Chase sapphire, you don't have to open a bunch of cards at once. I would definitely do it if I could spend enough to get the bonuses (which I can't),

http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2014/10/13/credit-card-churning-for-mustachians-or-sucka-consumers/

jeromedawg

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Re: How to be frugal while vacationing
« Reply #26 on: January 09, 2015, 03:41:58 PM »
I know a couple who honeymooned in Tahiti and heard that the wife brought canned food,etc with her to avoid having to eat out there! lol... not saying you should do this but it is an option :)

Typically, when we are travelling, and I guess depending where, usually one meal of the day gets skipped (either that or one meal is very scarce). This helps out... what's better is if the hotel (s) you're staying at have breakfast included. You can usually take additional items (like rolls, bread, eggs, fruit etc) for later. Then you can just buy lunch meat and have lunch for cheap. This is something my parents instilled in me, except I don't like doing that a whole lot these days.
« Last Edit: January 09, 2015, 03:45:10 PM by jplee3 »