Search My Frugal Miser

Thursday, January 5

How to Spend Less on Vacations Without Sacrificing Fun

Biscayne Bay in Miami
The premise of My Frugal Miser is that I spend money on experiences while cutting everything else to the bone.  I derive very little pleasure from buying clothes, paying the water bill or putting gas in the car... unless I'm gassing up for a road trip!

However, vacationing becomes stressful when the credit card bill arrives (conveniently, after you've been home for a few weeks and are toiling away at your day job) and you have to pay the piper.

In 2011 I spent $3,219 on vacations as well as $3,023 on gambling, which generally happens while I'm on vacation.  The easy solution would be to find a recreational activity that costs less than $3,023 to occupy my time when I am on vacation.

Here are a few almost painless ways I am planning to reduce my spending on vacations and gambling:

  • Food.  Eating while traveling is part of the fun, right?  Well, that doesn't mean I have to spend a ton of money at an expensive restaurant.  I can still experience local food by buying from local markets and preparing the meal myself.  Why not buy fresh seafood from a roadside stand and prepare it myself?  The only change this entails is planning ahead by bringing pans and utensils to cook with.  Another way to reduce this expense is by eating out at lunch rather than dinner.  If breakfast is free at the hotel, I will eat enough to last so that we can eat a late lunch, followed by a light dinner of fruit, granola bars or something similarly simple.
  • Entertainment.  There's no excuse for spending over $3,000 gambling.  More than $.07 out of every $1.00 that I spent in 2011 was spent at a casino.  There's nothing wrong with moderation.  If I go to a casino in 2012, I will set a budget and stick to it, no excuses.  I will find other, less expensive ways to occupy my time such as going to the movies, hiking, or even riding around exploring how the locals live.
  • Getting There.  This is one of the harder ones.  A major expense last year was the actual cost of going to my destination, whether by flying or driving.  I can certainly reduce the cost of driving by mystery shopping gas stations along the way.  The only ways I can reduce spending on air travel would be to plan ahead or to fly less.
I feel confident that I can significantly reduce my spending in these areas without feeling like I am sacrificing anything in the process. 


  1. I love to vacation in Key West, by searching on line I found several BOGO free drink coupons (and I don't mean "pop"). I found even there they have Happy Hour, we always stay at a free breakfast hotel and try eat eat dinner from 4pm to 6pm(usually half price!) Oh how I love "Sitting on the dock of the Bay!"

  2. @Marilyn - I experienced Key West for the first time on my cruise in November. It was so much fun. I'm definitely planning to return and spend a few days this time.