Friday, May 30, 2008

Saving Money While Traveling

We don't travel very often, but when we do we try to save as much money as we can and still have fun. Most of our travel for the past five years has been going to our son's music competitions. We travel to Highland Games all over the southeast about six to ten weekends a year. Our expenses include gas, lodging, food, entrance fees and his competition fee. We have learned to save in several ways:
1. We drive our most fuel-efficient car
2. We pack snacks and lunch for the road
3. We buy water bottles at the grocery store rather than at the Games
4. We bring our lunch into the Games rather than buy from vendors on-site
5. We avoid the souvenirs and printed programs (This can be hard when we know David's name is printed inside that program as a trophy winner the previous year!)
6. We volunteer to help at the Games if it means a free admission
7. When the competition is also a band event, David's lodging is free. We just have to pay for half the room for the accompanying parent/family.

The difficulty we have always had is eating dinner economically. Because we are so far from home it isn't feasible to bring our dinner for two nights. Restaurants are expensive. Fast food is ok now and then for lunch, but it really isn't adequate for dinner.

Last weekend at the Highland Games in Gatlinburg, an expensive tourist destination, we just happened to be assigned a hotel room with a little kitchen. David and I were very excited; we could use the microwave to heat a grocery store-purchased dinner! Off we went to the local market, bypassing all the bad, overpriced restaurants downtown. I even had my coupon book along. We chose salad makings and a microwavable frozen seafood pasta pouch for two (I used a coupon). And a tiny cheesecake for dessert. We looked around for a container to heat the pasta in, and in the "Dollar Daze" section we found a three-pack of large microwavable plastic salad bowls. Just one dollar. We also picked up our lunch fixings and more snacks. We spent just under $20 for it all. And it was the best dinner we have ever had in Gatlinburg.


Meredith said...

Very smart!

Jamie said...

are things really that tight in the USA?