I know that I’ve talked about how to travel on a dime quite a bit on here, but thanks to Budgets are Sexy, I’ve realized I haven’t shared one of my all time favorite tips: use the heck out of those gift cards.
Here’s the deal: you get on the road(or get stuck at the airport) and it hits you: food costs are going to suck. I mean, really suck. The food won’t be as great as you could have had at home and taking your own vittles with you on every trip just doesn’t work out. So, you bite the bullet and go over budget. By the time you get home, you have diner’s regret.
Here’s the solution: create your own vacation food budget by using gift cards. Research what restaurants or fast food joints will be on the way during your road trip, or what food places are located in the airports you’ll be using. Then, a few days before, purchase gift cards for those places. This will force you to only buy the certain amount on those cards. Make it a challenge to stay within that 10 or 15 dollar budget. Or, if your really feeling saucy, use this same trick for your dinners out during your travels. A 50 dollar gift card for your family of 4 will not only keep the budget down, but create a fun game of getting your bill to stay as low as possible while still having a great meal. You can’t lose!
The best way to get these cards is to earn them through swagbucks, mypoints, or even win them through twitter parties. If that isn’t an option for you, keep a lookout at the drugstores in your area for deals on gift cards. Sometimes they will do a “by 40 dollars in gift cards, get 10 dollars free” deal. Also, restaurants have been on that same bandwagon, offering your 10 dollars when you buy a 50 dollar gift card. Take advantage of these deals before you hit the road.