3 Travel Tips to Save Money on Your Next Trip

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Does anyone else out there LOVE to travel?  My husband and I love taking trips, especially when we can bring our two “fur-kids” along for the ride.  My husband has a golf trip to Myrtle Beach, SC next week, and I’m flying to Florida at the beginning of September, plus we have lots of other road trips planned in between (visiting my in-laws at their Michigan lake house, spending a week on Seabrook Island, SC with my family, trying out an amusement park in Indiana, and more!).

Traveling is a blast, but it can be expensive.  Even if you search and search for the best deals on flights or you vow to only eat out once a day while on your trip, little expenses can turn into a big surprise at the end of your trip when you get back to reality and check your bank account.  Here are three of my top tips for saving money on your next trip.

Kicked Up Snack Mix

Pack Snacks & Drinks

I’m not much of a snack-eater when I’m at home, but I get a horrible case of the munchies when I’m in the car or on a plane.  When we’re driving it seems like we stop every 3 or 4 hours for a bathroom break or to fill up the tank, and if I’m not careful, I’ll catch myself running into the gas station or convenience store for a snack and a soda nearly every time.  If the average expense of a snack and soda is $5, and we stop 3 or 4 times each road trip, that adds up to $15 or $20.  If my husband does the same thing, that is $40 which is a pretty big chunk of change, like a meal out.

Avoid spending money on snacks and drinks by planning ahead.  Whether you think you’ll eat them or not, pack a “snacks bag” and a “drinks bag” (those phrases were coined by my husband to make being frugal seem more fun).  Go to the dollar store and buy a couple of bags of salty snacks, sour snacks, sweet snacks, and chewing gum.  You can even make your own snack mix to make things special. (i.e. our Kicked Up Snack Mix recipe.)Buy a couple bottles of water, a few bottles of soda, juice, and maybe even an energy drink and pack them in a cooler.  You’ll wind up spending a small fraction of what you’d spend on impulse purchases along the route.

Iphone, Mobile Phone, Smart Phone.

Redeem Rewards Points

It seems like almost every store has a rewards program, but they often don’t add up to much.  Maybe a few dollars here or there. However, if you time it right and put some planning into it, you could really use those rewards to make your next trip less expensive. Does your local grocery store offer fuel discounts when you buy retailer gift cards?  Make a list of places you KNOW you’ll go on your next trip – restaurants, stores at the mall, or even gas stations along your route.  Buy those gift cards ahead of time to use like cash, and redeem those fuel discounts along the way.

Check all of your online rewards companies such as survey companies apps where you redeem your grocery store receipts and cash out if you can.  An extra $5 or $10 can be a meal or a snack or a souvenir on your next trip!

Cambria Hotel Suites Fort Lauderdale

Stay at a Choice Hotel

This tip goes hand-in-hand with my second tip about rewards points.  Choice Hotels just launched brand new loyalty program upgrades for Choice Privileges Members, with perks including free nights at certain point levels, instant digital gift cards and points that never expire!  Here are just a few ways that the Choice Privileges program rewards you for staying at Choice Brand Hotels:

Earn a special reward as soon as you check-in on a weekday.  For each qualifying stay that includes at least 1 weekday night (any night Sunday through Thursday), you can earn a reward of your choice varying from savings at the fuel pump at participating Shell stations, Amazon.com credit, and more.  Redeem reward points via the mobile app for gift cards that you can use immediately.  No more waiting around for a gift card to arrive in the mail!  Talk about instant gratification! 😉  As long as you complete a qualifying activity once every 18 months, you get to keep your points – they won’t expire!  Plus, earn 10 points per $1 spent at Choice Hotels.

For full information about the new Choice Privileges rewards program, visit www.choicehotels.com/choice-privileges.

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What trips do you have coming up?  What tips do you have for saving money while traveling?  Let us know in the comments below!

About Ashley

Ashley is a work from home virtual assistant, who loves her husband and their four-legged child, Baxter. When she isn't finding the hottest deals, she is spending time cheering on her favorite sports teams: The Cincinnati Bengals and the Michigan Wolverines!


  1. The only time I travel lately is for medical care.We do try and turn it into a vacation. We stop at tourist sites along the way and always have plenty of snacks and beverages!

  2. I couldn’t agree more on how much you can save by packing your own snacks! We have a Disney trip coming up and we will be driving. So I’m definitely loading up our goodies.

  3. We always pack snacks and the reason why became apparent when we ran out of snacks and had to pick some up at an over-priced side-of-the-road joint. Your points are well received, here.

  4. Shauna Torres says:

    We always pack snacks and little boxes of cereal so that we have it on hand for breakfasts, lunches, or just snacks 🙂 THese are great tips… and that Choice hotel sounds amazing. Thanks for sharing

  5. These are great tips for saving money on travel. Choice Hotels privilege rewards sound like a really good idea. I’ll have to look into those the next time we plan a trip.

  6. You really can make the most of your budget by redeeming travel rewards and using hotel memberships. Things have gotten so easy being able to apply and redeem online. Thanks for the link! I’m going to check out Choice Hotels.

  7. Great tips! I’m always looking for ways that I can save money. Traveling is something I always need to save money on. I think bringing some of your own food is always a great idea.

  8. These are great tips! As a family of 5, packing snacks is a HUGE money saver for us!

  9. Christina A. says:

    We may take a road trip over Memorial Day weekend but I’m not sure yet. We will be in San Francisco in July and in Virginia in December!

    I have found some really good plane travel deals with skyscanner.com. I’m a fan of that site!

  10. I need to definitely take your advice! I’m all about saving money, and if I just used rewards points, I could save a TON!

  11. Christina G. says:

    That’s a good idea to pack snacks and drinks on a trip. They can really add up. Thanks for sharing!

  12. Stacie Vaughan says:

    Using your rewards to save money when you travel is a great idea. Thanks for the great tips.

  13. Elizabeth Lampman says:

    I would love to travel more if it was not so expensive. These are great ways to save money travelling. I am going to see what rewards programs i can enroll in.

  14. Ann Bacciaglia says:

    I just saved a ton on my last trip redeeming my travel miles. I was able to go on a trip i would not have been able to go on without them.

  15. I just booked two nights at a Comfort Inn with my points. They have faster better rewards!


  16. Ronni Keller says:

    On my last trip to Florida we used points at the hotel. It most definitely saved us a ton!

  17. My favorite tip is the one about packing your own snacks and drinks. This is important because we have to eat, feed our children and snack. If we pack our own, we can save a significant amount of money.

  18. Melissa Mitchell says:

    We always pack our own snacks when we go on trips! It is such a big saver!

  19. Ryan Escat says:

    I need to follow your advice, we love to travel and I’m sure this could help me Thanks!

  20. Cindy Brooks says:

    We always bring our own snacks, especially if flying!

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