Vacation Tips: Saving Money on Vacation

Vacations are supposed to be enjoyable. We save and eagerly wait all year for our long-awaited getaway. For some, spending more during vacation isdefinitely not a problem but for the majority of family vacationers, saving money while on vacation is a must. However, as much as people want to savemoney, they just don't know how to do it. A little pre-vacation planning will help you save money while on your trip, so that you can have the relaxedOuter Banks vacation that you hoped for.

Here are some budget-friendly tips that may help you save money easily while still getting the chance to recharge, connect with family and let stress meltaway.

Be flexible regarding your travel dates.

If possible, try to vacation during the off (non-peak) season. Although most people crave a summer vacation at the beach, the off season on the Outer Banks is one of our best kept secrets. Not only will you savemoney,you’ll avoid the crowds and get more time to enjoy the local attractions.

Choose an Outer Banks vacation rental instead of a hotel.

An oceanfront hotel room can cost as much as $299/night during the summer. The average cost per night, per person in an oceanfrontOuter Banks vacation rental home? As low as $45 a night! And the hotel room can’t boasta private gourmet kitchen, expansive multi-level decks, private pools, hot tubs and more.

Check out more reasons whyOuter Banks vacation rentals surpass hotels.

Make a list of expenditures.

Of course, your planning starts with where you are going. How long is your travel time and how are you getting there? Are you sharing the cost with anotherfamily? Does your Outer Banks vacation rental come with linens and towels and otherstandard amenities? How much can you pack in your vehicle? What grocery stores areavailable at your destination? Brainstorm all of the expenditures that you will have and make a list.

Take it on the road.

Keep in mind that driving can significantly cut your vacation transportation costs. To save money and to avoid fast food while traveling, try packing alunch, snacks and drinks for your road trip.

Don't be intimidated, either, by the idea of entertaining your kids while you drive. With ourroad trip games, you just might find that those hours you share in the car togetherare some of the best memories of all.

Also be sure plan for gas and tolls.

There's an app for that.

Use smartphone apps to your advantage while traveling. GasBuddy can help you find the cheapest gas near you and ATMHunter allows you to avoid fees whenwithdrawing money.

Save on meals.

It can be tempting to ignore the cost of food while you're on vacation. After all, you would spend money on food at home anyway. However, if you don't planahead, you can end up spending a lot more on vacation meals than you would at home.

  • Once you arrive, hit the local grocery store to stock the kitchen in your vacation rental home.
  • Create a vacation meal plan. Think about the number of meals you'll eat and decide how many will be at home and how often you'll dine out. Be sure toinclude breakfasts, lunches, dinners and snacks in your planning. A good idea is to plan for one night to be "clean out the fridge" night tohelp get rid of food before checking out.(However, if you do have unopened non-perishable food left, please bring it by our Kitty Hawk office so we may donate it to the local food pantry.)
  • It also helps if breakfasts and dinners are eaten in since many restaurants offer the same dinner menu at lunch - but with cheaper prices.
  • Many of our Outer Banks vacation rentals include a grill which helps when eating in.
  • If you are traveling with other families, splitting the menu planning will save you money and also give you a night off when it is someone else's turnin the kitchen.

Plan some down time.

You don't have to visit local Outer Banks attractions each and every dayof your vacation. Since the Outer Banks is known for its beautiful pristine beaches, why not spend your time relaxing on the sand and then cooling offin the refreshing Atlantic? You can also take advantage of the many amenities thatmost of our vacation rentals offer. Fromrec roomswith pool tables to private pools andhot tubs, spending time with your family hanging out in your Outer Banks vacation rental home, is another effective way to save money on your Outer Banksvacation.

Ask for coupons.

Ask the local Outer Banks Visitor's Bureau or Chamber of Commerce to send you free maps, coupons and a list of special events. You can also wait untilyou arrive as many local businesses have these books as well. With these local guides in your pocket, you'll save big on restaurants,attractions and localshopping.


You may go over budget, you may stay under budget, but don’t let the stress of money rob you from the pleasure of yourOuter Banks vacation. And if you feel that your budget is getting out of control, cutback a little and get dinner from a grocery store instead of that all-you-can-eat seafood buffet. Just don’t panic...a budget is worthless if youaren’t having fun.

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