Hacks for Flying Free, Dining for Less, and Saving More on Vacation

Late last year, I published a survey asking what it is you want to see more of on Side Hustle Mom and what I can do more of to benefit you! 

Much to my surprise, one of the biggest responses was that you didn’t want generic daily remote job listings, but instead more money saving tips that are easy to apply to your every day life.

I heard you loud and clear, which is why I have been trying to share deals that I have run across, as well as brainstorm topics that would be most beneficial to other busy parents! If your family is anything like mine, you LOVE to travel and LOVE to get a good deal, which is why I wanted to share a few of our money saving tips and tricks that nearly anyone can use!

Without further ado, I present to you our Secret Hacks for Flying Free, Dining for Less, and Saving More on Vacation!

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To give you a little background, my husband and I love to travel (it is seriously our love language... which I guess would translate to quality time?), and are always planning our next vacation. With my husband and I both being cheap — err, I mean thrifty — we are always looking for ways to save. 

A few little snippets from our 3 nights in Vegas.

A few little snippets from our 3 nights in Vegas.

This year, we celebrated our 5th wedding anniversary and went back and forth on where we wanted to go. Since my parents volunteered to watch the boys for 3 nights, we decided to opt for somewhere close by, which is why we decided on Vegas! While we did do a little splurging (we set a couple hundred aside to gamble with, saw a show, ride the open bar High Roller, and my hubby surprised me with a helicopter tour of the city), we also did some serious saving.

Without further ado, here is how we saved on our trip to Vegas (and got both a free flight and hotel!):

1.) Rewards Credit Card: Okay, I am a HUGE follower/fan of Dave Ramsey and I know he hates credit cards and advises against ever having one, but... we have a Visa Sapphire Preferred card, which we charge literally everything on and pay off multiple times a month (it’s linked to our bank account, so we treat it like a debit card and only spend money we actually have). The reason we decided on this card in particular is because your money back can all be applied toward 25% more in travel redemption, so we were able to get both a free Southwest flight (to and from) and a free 3-night stay at Planet Hollywood with lots of points left over to go toward our trip to Disney later this year! Now, I know that method isn’t for everyone, but if you are good about paying off your card each month (which can be easier said than done, I know), we highly recommend looking into the Visa Sapphire Preferred.

2.) BYOB: I’m not necessarily proud of this one, but I am going to share it anyway, as we saved a lot by bringing booze in our checked bag. As you probably know/figured, alcohol in Vegas is EXPENSIVE (but totally worth it, as where else can you carry an open can of beer down the street?), especially in restaurants or from vendors who sell the colorful mixed drinks in souvenir cups. While buying your drink of choice from one of the Strip CVS’ or Walgreens will save you a buck or two, hitting up your hometown discount liquor store before the trip (and then packing it securely in your checked bag) will literally cut your bill down by at least one-third. 

We brought a few bottles to make mixed drinks with, made the drinks in our room, and then took them with us  down the Strip.

Trashy/sketchy/ridiculous? Totally.

Worth it? You betcha.

3.) Groupon: Does anyone else go a little crazy with the Groupons whenever they go on vacation?? One of our favorite ways to use the discount site -- whether we are at home or on the road -- is on food, so be sure to check out any available deals before you go! (Tip: ALWAYS read the fine print before you buy, as some deals may only apply on certain days.) For our last two Vegas trips, we have taken advantage of the 1/2 off Pampas Churrascaria Brazilian Grille (inside Planet Hollywood) Groupon, which comes with not only an all-you-can-eat spread brought right to your table, but also bottomless mimosas, beer, and/or sangria. Cheers! 

4.) Opt for the free memberships: Free is good... especially when it comes with something beneficial! It seems like every casino has a special member's club they want you to join, boasting free play, drinks, buffets, etc., so be sure to sign up! (It really wasn't much of a hassle; we simply went up to the pay-out counters to sign up... it took maybe 3 minutes and we got free table play.)

Obviously, some of these hacks apply more so toward Vegas than anywhere else, but I will plan to make another post in the future with any other tricks I pick up along the way! In the meantime, what do you do to save on vacation?