5 sneaky ways to save money on vacation

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I’m embarking on a girls’ trip to Mexico next week, and I couldn’t be more excited! But this vacation is no excuse to throw my budget to the wind for the week. It might seem impossible to keep spending in check when you’re letting loose, but you needn’t pay top dollar to have a top-notch experience.

Here are five sneaky ways you can save a buck on vacation, without sacrificing the fun.

Disguise booze in your luggage

Going on a cruise? Avoid a three digit bar tab by bringing your own liquor. Due to strict rules prohibiting outside alcohol on cruises, you’ll have to get sneaky about how you smuggle your sauce on the ship. My favorite trick is to add a few drops of blue food coloring to a liter of vodka, then pour it into an empty bottle of mouthwash. Anyone who rifles through your bag will pass it off as an everyday toiletry, and you’ll have enough liquor to mix up blue vodka lemonades for days, free of charge.

Pack a water bottle

When your travel mates are shelling out for overpriced bottled water, you’ll be happy you brought your own reusable bottle. Not only will your Camelback save you money on bottled water, carrying it will help you stay hydrated when you’re out and about, and discourage you from ordering pricy cocktails when your thirst hits. But exercise caution about where you fill it up: be sure the water from the tap is safe to drink.

Wait out the crowd

If your vacation locale is popular for tourists, you won’t need to go far from your hotel to find activities, attractions, and sightseeing opportunities. But avoid the temptation to get started early in the day. If you wait until after noon, local guides will be more amenable to drop their prices to ensure they win business for that day. Negotiation is key, folks.

Prepare your own meals

Sampling local restaurants can be the best part of the trip, while also becoming a massive expense. But you can get acquainted with local flavors without ever picking up a menu. Instead of dining out, visit a local market, pick up the freshest ingredients you can find, throw them together at the hotel, and eat in. Even if it’s just mangoes for breakfast in Mexico, or bread and cheese for an afternoon snack in Italy, you can eat lavishly abroad without doing much cooking or spending a lot of money.

Get creative with your souvenirs

Local vendors prey on your promises to bring home special gifts for every sibling, friend, and co-worker. But souvenirs can be pricy. So put down that ugly tchotchke, and impart gifts that barely cost a thing: photos! Put the megapixels in your phone to use by capturing photos of beautiful scenery on the trip. Then when you return home, order 8×10 inch prints to give as gifts. Not only will your photos be cheaper and lovelier than an ugly t-shirt, the recipient will be thankful to receive a meaningful gift that lets them be a part of your journey.

Are there any tips or tricks you can offer for saving money on vacation? Tweet me or share in the comments.

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