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1 of 15 on vacation at the beach

My boyfriend and I are on a tight budget, which can be a bit of a problem considering that we are also slight wanderlusts. We crave getting out of the city at least every two months. We never like to say no to a wedding invitation because we love our friends. And we live for seeing new places and experiencing new things. So, in order for those habits and tastes to not totally destroy our bank accounts, we’ve had to learn to be pretty thrifty. Some would say we are downright scrappy. I say we’re clever. In fact, I’ve told my boyfriend before, “Even if we ever do become wealthy, I think I’d still like to travel like this—it feels fun, like we’re getting away with something.” If you tend to come back from trips spending more than you’d hoped, or if you’d like to make more room in your budget for travel, use these tips. Here are ways frugal couples vacation. Spills From Blender

We pack a blender

Forget $18 blended drinks by the pool. Sometimes we just pack our own blender, buy daiquiri mix, grab some discounted alcohol at BevMo and turn our hotel room into a pool bar. sandwich

We put lunch in the fridge

We tend to splurge on dinner for the experience but, when it comes time to just refuel on calories poolside for lunch, we don’t buy the $20 tuna melt. That’s absurd, and highway robbery. Before checking into our hotel, we do a grocery run and grab lunch supplies to put in our room’s mini fridge. holding hands standing up in convertible car and enjoying the sunset

We travel at night and work remotely

Not everyone has this option but if you do, consider it. Sometimes we squeeze in an extra day of vacation by asking to, for example, work remotely on Friday. Then we travel Thursday night so as to wake up at our destination Friday. It’s much better to work poolside or on a gorgeous hotel room balcony than in an office, and when the day is done, you get to have dinner in the magical location. And you don’t need to take a day off work aka lose income to do it. Pina Colada Cocktail Drinks

Virgin pina coladas at the bar; rum in the room

Sometimes, if they’re affordable, we’ll buy the virgin pina coladas, daiquiris, and such, at the pool bar (they can be half the price of the hard stuff), take them to our room, dump our own rum in them, and go back to the pool. couple preparing dinner cooking elderly middle age

We stay at AirBnbs with the host at home

If you’re willing to have company, one of the cheapest accommodations can be an AirBnb, where the host is home. You can usually still get a sweet and rather private setup—like the small apartment someone rents out over a garage or a guest house—for a fraction of a cost of a hotel or fully private AirBnb.


We go where breakfast is free

We always look for places that offer free breakfast. That can easily help us save $30 or $40 a morning and if we fill up enough, we can stay full until 5pm snacks with our beer. lying on blanket on a meadow eating apple

And we stock up at breakfast

We also get clever at the hotel breakfast and take some things to go. We’ll grab coffee cups and put a few hard-boiled eggs and pieces of fruit in them. We might make a PB&J sandwich for the road. That’s practically lunch for later. American woman pumping gas at gas station

We get gas in the cheaper area

We don’t fill up on gas in our city—which is a major one—because it’s the most expensive. We put a little road behind us and wait to fill up where gas prices are cheaper. hailing a taxi cab

We take Lyfts strategically

We plan our activities strategically, based on location. So we’ll find a show, restaurant, and bar we want to go to, all within walking distance of each other. That way, we only need to take two Lyfts the whole night—out and back. American bartender smiling in bar

We’re very nice to bartenders

Being nice to the bartenders and staff can go a long way. Let me tell you something: it’s very rare that customers ask the bartender about himself. And when you do, you may find he’s so appreciative that you get a free round. check in

We become regulars

Becoming regulars at spots helps, too. If we return to one hotel once a year for several years, we may have leeway to ask them to wave the resort fee for one night, or throw in some free drink vouchers. woman using smartphone and pulling suitcase, city skyline in view

Take the cheap flight w/ the layover

We can often find a much cheaper flight if we’re willing to tolerate a long layover. And we do that. We just make sure to pack food so we don’t spend a bunch of money at airport restaurants, and we bring work to work on during our layover. of a happy woman holding a credit card on the street and looking at the camera smiling

Get a card with a good rewards program

Having a credit card with a good rewards program for hotels and airlines really helps, too. online shopping with a credit card

Fill an online cart and abandon it

Next time you want to book a flight or hotel on one of the major booking sites, select the ones you want, and then abandon the site. You should probably find that, within 15 minutes, the site is emailing you with coupons and discount codes, trying to get you to come back and complete the purchase. relaxed on the pool loungers

Chill; don’t overdo it

We go on vacation to relax and to us, that doesn’t mean going to three museums, riding a submarine, and attending a show every day. We just sit by the pool and chill. It’s free. Well, kind of.

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