Summer months mean no school and longer days and for my family that means lots of day trips.
While a single day trip is a lot less expensive, but often just as fun, than a traditional longer vacation- multiple trips over the summer can add up to a lot of money. How to beat those budget busters? A little planning!
For us- the three biggest costs of a day trip are : How to get there, What to do there and What to there.
Gas can be the biggest cost in a day trip, especially if you drive a larger vehicle like a mini van (Me! Me!) Using a credit card that offers fuel savings or earning fuel rewards from Lowes Foods’ fuel promo can help alleviate that budget buster. Lowes Foods offers $0.05 per gallon of gas savings for every $100 spent in the store. You don’t have to spend all $100 at once- it will accumulate over time. The accumulated spending never expires but the earned fuel rewards do expire in 30 days. (Find all the Lowes Foods deals- even fuel rewards here)
To save on activities while day trippin’ I use discount sites such as Groupon for activities or attractions in the area we are visiting. Discounts on admission or tickets can often be over 50%! Be careful to check the fine print because there are often blackout dates, minimum purchase or other restrictions.
Also look for free or inexpensive outings. Now that I live in Raleigh- we find ourselves at the free museums downtown often. The exhibits change and it’s like a new place to visit over & over! Pullen Park in Raleigh is also so much fun! It’s only $1 to ride the train or carousal and the paddle boats are $6 each (up to 4 people). Every city has a lot to offer that doesn’t cost much so start looking at what’s available around you! Don’t forget public parks too- there are often free events going on during the weekends.
Whenever possible, we bring lunch and snacks with us rather than eating out. It is much less expensive to pack food from the grocery store, especially if purchased on sale and with coupons, however that isn’t always possible. If we are going to eat at a restaurant, I check with sites such as Restaurant.com for discount offers for restaurants in the area. Often we can get a voucher that saves us 50 percent. Sites like Groupon have dining discounts as well. Again, checking the fine print is very important to avoid issues after ordering. Even just packing drinks and snacks can reduce the cost of a day trip significantly. Stopping at a gas station to buy 6 individual cold drinks can cost over $10- but grabbing a 6 pk at the grocery store on sale and tossing it in a cooler with ice can be a huge cost savings.