Most people seem to take a vacation from saving money when they're away from home, but why? Just because you're taking a vacation or already on one doesn't mean saving opportunities aren't all around you. I'm talking about all aspects of couponing. Using printable coupons on items such as toiletries and groceries, coupons codes for hotel stays, and even coupons for local activities while on your trip. Using coupons is easy and doesn't require a lot of time. When you see the savings add up, you'll see why you'll want to stretch your vacation dollars this way too.
Here are eight essential tips to saving money by couponing on vacation.
1. Use online coupon codes
We've all heard and have probably used sites like Expedia.com, but what some people don't realize is that they are packed with online coupon and promotional codes. Expect to see additional savings like 20% off a weekly car rental, 15% off a three-night hotel stay, or 10% savings on round-trip airline tickets. I love using coupon codes on Expedia and RetailMeNot.com. All I have to do is copy the discount code and enter it into the promotional box to instantly receive savings.
2. Take advantage of photo coupon codes
It's typical to take hundreds of photos on vacation—unless, of course, your trip is to Disney World where the average number of photos taken is in the thousands. Either way, while it's great to show pictures on your phone or upload them to the computer, many people still enjoy the fun of having pictures made into photo books, collages or prints. Before heading to somewhere like Walgreens to order prints, look for coupon codes. On our site we often feature deals on free 8x10s, collages and more by using coupon codes.
3. Check deal sites
The popularity of deal sites like Groupon or LivingSocial has grown quickly. While national deals are available, each deal site has local offers that often include up to 50% off at restaurants and on activities. For example, in Chicago, I've seen deals that can save you 50% on ice skating at the hot tourist destination, Millennium Park.
4. Utilize social media
These days the best way to get notifications for great deals or coupons is to follow airline, hotel and rental companies on sites like Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. “Like” the companies you'll be using on Facebook, and pin places you're going to on Pinterest. You'll receive special offers from companies since you're a follower. Also, create a separate list or board for travel—this will keep you organized and give you a summary of deals available.
5. Bring your binder
Yes, take your coupon binder on your trip! The top drugstores—Walgreens, CVS and Rite Aid—are nationwide. More than likely, you'll see one of the three in the place you're vacationing. I visit many blogs regularly and see that CVS is a top drugstore for great deals. Since there isn't a CVS where I live, I was excited to see that the city we'll be vacationing in has a CVS. You can be certain I'll be stopping in to take advantage of those deals!
6. Use apps
Gas Buddy and KidsEatFree are two of my favorite money-saving apps. I can find places where my kids eat free with a paying adult or where they'll receive a discount. Gas Buddy is a popular app that finds the best gas prices in your surrounding location, which comes in handy when you're on a long road trip.
7. Read blogs
Check out blogs that are all about the city you'll be visiting. Many city-specific blogs offer tons of information on free things to do in that city and also provide lists of places like restaurants that offer discounts. Since I'm planning a trip to Chicago, I've started following ChicagoKids.com. It gives me ideas on what to do and how to save money doing it!
8. Collect coupon inserts
I mentioned bringing your coupon binder on vacation. Now is the time to have fun finding regional coupons and savings you don't typically see at home. In the past, I have collected newspaper inserts from hotel lobbies, restaurants and even local libraries. I have even grabbed coupons from newspapers at the airport!
I'm not sure what I enjoy more—the excitement during the moments leading up to a vacation, the vacation itself, or the thrill of seeing how much money I can save in a new place. Try couponing the next time you're on vacation—it's more fun than you think!