September 19, 2018
By Mary Beth Eastman

$100 Vacations to Get You Off the Couch

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Simple. Thrifty. Living.

Just because you’re on a budget doesn’t mean that you can’t take a vacation or plan a special getaway. If you can work just $100 into your vacation budget, you can plan a great trip for you and your family. The trick is in the planning. Here are some tips to help you plan a $100 vacation that can get you off the couch.

Timing is everything, especially when planning a vacation or getaway. Pick off-peak times for your travel. For example, if you’re planning a day at the beach, summer is the most popular time to go, so you should plan to travel there during the spring or fall months. You also can save money by skipping weekend getaways and traveling between Sunday and Thursday.

Traveling by car is typically the most affordable option, but there are some steps you can take to increase your car’s fuel efficiency for the trip. Right before your trip, be sure to check the tire pressure, replace the air filter, if necessary, and get an oil change. You also want to be on the lookout for the best gas rates on your trip or fill up at discounted gas stations, such as Sam’s Club and Costco.

Your accommodations likely will be the most expensive part of your trip, so plan accordingly. If you want to save as much money as possible, then pitch a tent and stay at a campground. You will find the most campgrounds offer significantly lower rates than hotels.

That doesn’t mean that you can’t find great rates on hotels. Check out some online discount sites, like Orbitz, or grab a hotel coupon book at a gas station or restaurant along the way and see if you can snag a deal.

Your best bet for getting a great rate on your hotel stay, however, is to contact the hotel directly. If you’re ok waiting until the last minute to book your hotel, you will find that hotels are more willing to negotiate cheaper rates after 4 p.m. or 5 p.m. — or maybe even upgrade you.

Don’t waste money eating out at restaurants. Instead, pack food from home. Bring a cooler along to store any perishable food. Most hotels offer free, or low-cost ice, right on-site, so keeping your cooler cold shouldn’t be a problem. In addition, look for hotels that offer free breakfast and/or have a microwave or fridge, so you can easily make your meals right in your room.

Many places have numerous free, or inexpensive, events and activities, such as community concerts, fairs, and festivals, geared towards visitors. Check out the tourist Facebook page for the town you plan to visit to get information about upcoming events or request a visitor guide for the area to gain access to many great coupons and special deals.

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