Tuesday, September 26, 2023


Last-minute tips to stretch your vacation dollars

According to popular surveys, American families are vacationing in record numbers, especially this 4th of July weekend. With fuel prices continuing to rise, as well as increasing campground fees, families are doing all they can to stretch their vacation dollars. Here are a few suggestions for you…

How to stretch vacation dollars

  • Search Groupon, eBay, Craigslist, and other local media outlets for discount tickets on attractions, movies, and more.
  • Take photos instead of buying souvenir trinkets. You’ll spend less and enjoy the memories much longer.
  • Choose to eat out at lunch. Prices are usually less than what you’ll pay for dinner. And if you choose local diners and lesser-known venues, you might save some additional money.
  • Divide and conquer. You know your 3-year-old won’t enjoy putt-putt golf like your 10-year-old will. So, while Dad takes the little one to the campground swimming pool, Mom and the 10-year-old can have one-on-one time over a game of golf.
  • Check with the local parks and recreation department to see if discount tickets are available for local attractions. Inquire about “free days” or discounts for certain days of the week and plan your visit accordingly.
  • Walk. Ride bikes. Hike. All of these activities are free and what’s more, most kids love them! Time your excursions for the coolest parts of your day for everyone’s enjoyment.
  • Form a group. Many times, tourist attractions will offer discounted tickets for a group. Talk to your campsite neighbors to see if they’d be interested in joining together to visit a local venue. Just because you purchase tickets together doesn’t mean you must stay together once you enter the attraction.
  • Check reciprocal programs. For example, your membership to your hometown museum may grant you discounted (or free) tickets to a museum in the city you’re visiting.
  • BYOF (bring your own food). Always check to see if the venue you plan to visit allows you to bring your own food and drink inside. You’ll save a bundle by packing a cooler with water, sandwiches, and snacks.
  • Movie night in. Sure, everyone loves going to the movies, but you can save a lot by watching at home in your RV. You can pop your own popcorn and enjoy your favorite beverage, too! All without spending a lot of cash. Many popular movies are available via streaming. Or check out a family favorite from your local library before you begin your trip.
  • Free walking tours. Many localities offer free walking tours of their municipalities. Call city hall to find out if towns near your campground participate.
  • Picnic instead of eating out. Kids will love it! And so will your wallet.

How do you stretch your vacation dollars? Please share your tips in the comments below.


Gail Marsh
Gail Marsh
Gail Marsh is an avid RVer and occasional work camper. Retired from 30+ years in the field of education as an author and educator, she now enjoys sharing tips and tricks that make RVing easier and more enjoyable.


  1. We check out books at the library, buy books at the yearly library book sale and swap books for credit at the used book stores. Then we read them aloud to each other.
    Also DVD’s from the library.
    We do as many of the repairs or upgrades on our RV as we can ourselves.
    We used to stay on the higher priced lakeside or deluxe spaces at campgrounds but not anymore.
    Won’t be buying a new cell phone for a long time.
    Get 13 months on our inspection sticker each year by dropping it off after-hours on the last day of the month for inspection to be done on the first day of the 13th month. Saves 8.5%!
    Use Gas Buddy ALL the time instead of sometimes.
    Cancelled magazine subscriptions and spend that reading time outdoors making vitamin D for free.

  2. Always ask if there are AAA, Good Sam, AARP, senior or similiar discounts available even if they’re not posted.

  3. When available, use dispersed camping (BLM). Most are free and it helps offset the high cost at RV resorts.

  4. We never go to chain restaurants unless there is no choice. Local chains and mom and pop places always get our vote.
    Both prices and servings are better.


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