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How We Saved Money On Vacation

By Erik Folgate

I hope you enjoyed the auto-themed posts by my buddy, Tim. He did a great job, and he even threw in a video post in there. Nice job, Tim! If you enjoyed his posts, be sure to contact me with your feedback. I took my wife on a vacation to Cancun, Mexico for our 3rd anniversary. We didn’t do much for our first two anniversaries, so I thought that a trip was in order. We went to Cancun for our honeymoon, and we loved the hotels and the water. There’s so much to do in Cancun that we still didn’t do everything we wanted to on our second trip there. Naturally, we were on a budget, and we make sure that we get the best deals for our money. Here are three different ways that we saved money while in Cancun.

  1. We did our research. Typically, a travel agency will be partnered with your hotel, and they will try to sell you trips to places such as Xel-Ha, Xcaret, Isla Mujeres, Scuba trips, fishing trips, and many other day-trip excursions. These agencies solicit their trips at a premium price. They’ll offer full-service accommodations, but they come at a big-ticket price. For instance, a trip to Xel-Ha, a famous ecological theme park, was selling for $120. The cost for admission is $75, so they charge an extra $45 dollars per person for a chartered bus trip back and forth. We found the same charter bus out of the downtown bus station selling round trip tickets for $11 dollars. The only difference is that you need to take a city bus into downtown and the trip takes about 30 to 45 minutes longer. Many tourists pay the full price without trying to haggle the price or seek their own means of transportation.
  2. We go all-inclusive. The all-inclusive packages in Mexico are the way to go. The food is not amazing, but definitely adequate. The drinks are not strong, but you can order whatever you want without wondering if you’ll like the drink. I believe that doing an all-inclusive package saves you a lot of money, because it takes away your two biggest variable expenses on vacation: food and drink. It’s so easy to spend $50 to $100 for two people at typical lunch or dinner while on vacation.
  3. We budget our spending money. We bought the tickets in advance and the price of the hotel for five nights with the all-inclusive package was a fixed price. Our spending money was budgeted for extra trips, going out at night, and beach fun such as wave runners and parasailing. We budget a certain amount for these expenses, otherwise, we would do everything that we saw. My wife and I love trying new things, so we make sure that keep a certain amount set aside for extras. This is a great way to keep yourself from using your credit card. Vacations will destroy your credit card if you bring one with you. I get in vacation mode when I’m on a beach sipping pina coladas. My diet is thrown out the window, and I want to spend money like it’s water. Take your spending money with you in cash, and when it runs out, you can still hang out at the pool and read a book!

Saving money is a way of life. It’s not something that you do every now and then. It’s a part of your life. Even if my wife and I went with $2500 in spending money, we would still look for deals and negotiate deals with the locals. Why? Because we deserve to pay a fair price for a good or service, not the “tourist” price. Watch out for the tourist trap as you go on your vacations this summer.

Erik Folgate
Erik and his wife, Lindzee, live in Orlando, Florida with a baby boy on the way. Erik works as an account manager for a marketing company, and considers counseling friends, family and the readers of Money Crashers his personal ministry to others. Erik became passionate about personal finance and helping others make wise financial decisions after racking up over $20k in credit card and student loan debt within the first two years of college.

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  • http://madsaver.com Mac

    Thanks for the good ideas. We have yet to go on an all-inclusive trip like that, but had been contemplating on a cruise in the recent past. Though some are all-inclusive and some are note. Others don’t include drinks in the package price. And the taxes seemed to be a bit high too. But sometimes you need to spend money to have a good vacation…something we haven’t had for far too long.

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