1) To fly or not to fly…that is the question. Calculate the cost of driving vs. flying if you aren’t going too far it may be wise to plan a roadtrip. There are lots of websites that have cost calculators for gas expenses. I like to use mapquest. For example, I live in Northern CA. My family and I are planning to go to Las Vegas for a few days. The average price to fly would be around $400…this is vs. $200 for gas to drive there. Just have to factor in additional time to drive so basically what it comes down to is do we sacrifice 2 days of vacation time to drive?
2) Where to stay? First of all do you have family or friends in the area you’re traveling to? If so you can save big by staying with them. If not, plan ahead. Shop last minute room deals on discount travel websites. I like Kayak because it pulls everything from all the other websites as well to compare prices and get you the lowest possible price. Also, if you can help it, plan your vacation for during the week. Weekend rates are much higher, because frankly, the hotels know rooms are more in demand and weekend travels have to have a place to stay.
3) Where to eat? Plan your stops ahead of time. Check out Restaurant.com to purchase gift certificates for a fraction of the normal cost. Also, another good tip is avoid the dinner crowd by being an early bird and save big. Dinner prices are normally double the price of lunch and breakfast. Maybe plan to grab fast food later that night for a huge savings or just a snack. Do not order room service. This is a huge dining expense. Get out and see the area.
4) What to do? Plan your entertainment. Search the internet for discount coupons or gift certificates. You can also find tickets to events on ebay at a fraction of the normal cost.