Avoid Vacation Spending Traps

You probably know how easy it is to spend a lot of money while on vacation. The best way to avoid overspending is to know the problem areas and be prepared before you go. Here are five typical vacation spending traps (and tips to avoid them):



  1. Paying full price. If you plan on going to an amusement park or a fair, most offer pre-sale discounts or set aside days with special rates. Some examples include half-price admission days, opening day, closing day or certain days during the week. In addition to admission discounts, you can often find discounted ride tickets or coupons for food or attractions the day before heading to the attraction.

  2. Falling for carnival or arcade gimmicks. All you need to do is make one of three basketball shots to win that huge pink gorilla. Or maybe you think you can master that claw machine and snag a new iPhone! Don’t fall for it. Chances are the rim is one foot higher, two inches narrower and the ball might even be egg-shaped. Go ahead and give it a try for fun — just try not to get frustrated if you don’t hit the shot. Carnival and arcade games can be a good time if you have the right mindset. Treat them as entertainment with a spending limit, not a way to easily win a valuable prize.

  3. Not having a food strategy. Do you really need that whole deep-fried onion? Or that entire bucket of fries? Set aside some money for fun food items, but decide on a dollar limit before arriving at your destination. Also consider preparing some of your own meals to cut down on your overall food budget.

  4. Impulse buying. Souvenir shops are great, aren't they? The problem is you (or your kids!) may want to get something at every stop. Identify the shopping areas you would like to visit ahead of time and set a spending limit for both you and your kids.

  5. Ignoring the weather. All it takes is a pop-up thunderstorm or unexpected heat wave and you can watch the prices on ponchos and bottled water shoot up faster than Old Faithful at Yellowstone National Park. Before you go, check the weather, bring appropriate gear and find out where you can get water.

Vacations are a great way to spend a late summer day and make some memories. Saving some cash with some savvy decisions makes it even better!

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