Frugal Foodie Mama: 5 Ways to Save Money on Day Trips

Monday, June 8, 2015

5 Ways to Save Money on Day Trips

This post is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group® and Brita, but all my opinions are my own. #pmedia #BritaOnTheGo 
Though we tend to travel and take little road trips all year round, summer seems to be when we really get out there and hit the road for a little family vacation time. My oldest is out from school for a couple of months, and we are pretty much free to pick and go when an opportunity or urge arises. But one thing that I have learned about summer travel is that the expenses of taking a trip- even what seems like a little weekend getaway- can add up fast. I can snag a great deal on a hotel or B&B. We can find the best price on gas and fuel up before heading out. But what I was finding is that those little day trips we took to get out and about and explore once we arrived at our destination were just eating up our travel budget. Walk around a little town or explore an area of a city, and you will find that there all kinds of ways to spend money around every corner. I soon discovered that those little day trips were eating up our travel budget for that trip quick, so I implemented a few changes over the past year or so. These changes have saved us hundreds of dollars. And money saved means more stays in our travel fund for the year which equals more trips and family time! :) 
So, what haveI done to save my family money as we explore and discover the areas that we love traveling to? I gathered up my five top tips for you all below...

1. Make a plan ahead of time. Before you leave for that next weekend getaway or family vacation, sit down, do a little research, and sketch out a game plan for the days you plan on venturing out and exploring your destination. Local tourism departments for the area you are traveling to are a great place to start. You can often find a listing of upcoming local festivals (most are usually free to enter) and a calendar of local events. You can also find listings for free attractions and events in the area. Some of our personal favorites that usually are free to get into to or maybe have a nominal entrance fee (sometimes even just a small voluntary donation is asked for) are farmers markets, parks, local gardens, and tours of local farms or shops that make their products on-site.

2. Check online discount sites before leaving home. We often find great deals on guided tours, local attractions, and restaurants by searching online discount sites like Groupon, Livingsocial, and  I usually start checking these sites a couple of times a week about a month or two before our planned trip to the area. When I see a good deal on something we would like to do or experience while on our vacation, I go ahead and snag it. Often times, most of the places that we plan on visiting and the restaurants we want to try have already been paid for before we even head out the door. :) My #1 tip for using online discount sites to save money on your day excursions while traveling? Always check the expiration dates for the offers and read the fine print. There may be only certain locations the discount can be used at or selected dates may be blacked out for using them.

3. Always ask the front desk or concierge. Once we arrive at our destination and get checked in, I always make a point to visit the front desk or concierge to ask for their recommendations on affordable things to do and restaurants to visit in the area during our stay. Who better to know these things than the very people who live and work in the area? Bonus? Often times, the front desk or concierge will have complimentary passes or discount coupons that they are free to hand out for local attractions or restaurants. If we happen to be visiting an area with a lot of wineries nearby, the front desk almost always has free wine tasting passes from a few local wineries they can offer to interested guests. ;) But you can never know how much money they can help save you if you don't at least ask!

4. Pack snacks. It is almost inevitable that this will happen while you are out exploring a city or an area. In between meals, one of the kiddos will exclaim how hungry that they are and that they need a snack. Am I right, folks? And if you headed out on your day adventure ill prepared, you are suddenly finding yourself standing in line at a local ice cream place about to drop an unexpected $20 or more on scoops of ice cream for a family of four. Avoid this and save money by packing your own snacks. I always throw some pouches of fruit snacks and a few granola bars in my bag for the day. When a snack attack hits and we still have a few hours before our next meal, I just toss them a snack from my bag. 

Brita water bottles are lightweight, easy to use, and can filter water from anywhere thanks to the built-in filters. #BritaOnTheGo #Pmedia #ad
5. Take along a few of your own water bottles. No matter where I travel, there always seems to be one item that I will end up getting suckered into spending WAY more than I should on if I didn't head out prepared- Bottled water. Water should be the cheapest thing to buy. I mean, it is water. But when you have been walking around for a few hours in the sun, sometimes the best thing is a bottle of cold water. And retailers in tourist areas know this. There have been times that I have forked over $5 or more for a simple bottle of water, and I paid it because I was hot and thirsty and not very trusting of the water coming out of the local water fountains. But not anymore, folks. Not since I discovered Brita Water Bottles in the hardware section of my local Walmart!  :) I love them because they are lightweight (we fill them as when we are out and get thirsty), easy to use, and can filter water from anywhere thanks to the built in filters in each Brita Water Bottle. The bottles basically filter the water as you drink! 

Brita water bottles are lightweight, easy to use, and can filter water from anywhere thanks to the built-in filters. #BritaOnTheGo #Pmedia #ad

Our BPA-Free Brita Water Bottles have become my new go-to for saving money while traveling. When you consider that a bottle of water can cost you anywhere from $2-$5 and then multiply that by 5-7 days per member of your family, then I think you all can get the gist of just how much you can save by avoiding the bottled water money pit while out and about on your next vacation. ;)
Brita water bottles are lightweight, easy to use, and can filter water from anywhere thanks to the built-in filters. #BritaOnTheGo #Pmedia #ad

What is your number #1 tip for saving money while out exploring for the day when on a vacation?

Be sure to follow Brita on Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram, & Twitter for money-saving offers and a look at new products coming to the Brita family! :)

Be sure to visit my Family Travel page for more travel tips, accommodation reviews, and family friendly travel guides!