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As a mom of three, traveling can become difficult if I don’t plan ahead. Learning how to save money while traveling starts at home, but sometimes even the planning stages can have you seeing too many dollar signs! While many money-saving tips apply easily to road trips, they can also apply to other kinds of travel if you’re savvy.

How to Save Money While Traveling

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Vacations are meant to be splurges, but they don’t have to put you into debt to be fun. Allow yourself the flexibility to spend money while taking steps to ensure you don’t overspend. It’s easy to save money while traveling, especially if you follow these tips and ideas.

Prepare for Travel Beforehand

Before we leave for a road trip, we check the car. It sounds basic, but these checks help save us money by ensuring the car is in shape for travel. We check the oil and all fluid levels. We check to ensure everything sounds okay, then fill the gas tank the night before. 

Clean Out the Car and Prep Food

Packed car before a trip
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Also, clean out the car a few days before travel as well. Save a spot for a cooler and a bag of food within reach of the parents. Packing a few drinks and snacks saves time and money while on the road.

Occasionally, we will pack food for lunches. However we usually stop to use the restroom somewhere, so we might as well eat and save from having to clean out the crumbs and old french fries later!

Teach Kids About Budgets

Arcade games make up the second floor of the Margaritaville Resort.

When we stop to sightsee, a gift shop or prize machine is usually involved. If you’ve got older kids, set spending limits before your trip begins.

Even better, let them control their cash; when it runs out, it runs out. This will help your bottom line and teach children about budgeting and decision-making.

Take Advantage of Reward Programs

Save money on travel with free entertainment like hotel pool.

If you’re staying overnight at hotels, look into one that has a reward program. For example, a “stay two nights get the 3rd-night free” promotion or one with a free continental breakfast.

Finding a place with a pool open until at least 10 pm or one with free WiFi will also provide entertainment at no extra charge during your stay.

Saving Money While Flying

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Lastly, flying can be expensive and not always an option, but you can save money. Consider airlines that allow your bags to fly free. Southwest Airlines is a favorite of our family for this reason. It may seem like their prices are higher, but considering other airline baggage fees, they actually save us money in the long run.

Additionally, other airlines have very inexpensive flights and charge for everything else. Frontier Airlines is a great example of this.

If you don’t need too many bags or care about boarding/seating assignments or eating while on the plane, you can save a lot of money flying with them.