Packing for an upcoming vacation can be fairly stressful. Do you pack your favorite blouse, or go for a maxi dress? Did you remember to grab your toothbrush? And how the heck do you fit all your toiletries in a tiny quart-sized bag?!
All the essentials aside, here are eight surprising things to pack for a vacation that will save you time and hassle — not to mention some of your hard-earned dollars.
Ease any stress related to your upcoming trip and plan ahead with our travel nightmares series! We cover the best tips for what to do if your flight’s cancelled, how to avoid baggage fees, and how to get the best deal on your trip.
1. Re-usable water bottles & snacks
Savvy Infusion 24-Ounce Water Bottle in Red, $19.95 at Amazon
Not only is it healthier for both the environment and your family, but bringing your own snacks and re-usable bottles can save you significant expenses. Airport snacks are notoriously pricey and convenience store snacks tend to be high in sugar and calories.
Pack fruit or fruit cups, string cheese, whole grain crackers, beef jerky, or these TSA-friendly airport snacks — anything with nutritional value that’s easy to transport. Re-usable water bottles will allow you to stay hydrated without purchasing plastic ones at every stop. (Just remember to keep them empty until you’re through airport security.)
2. Money-saving apps, including Coupons.com
There are several apps that can save you money on the road:
- GasBuddy: Locates the cheapest gas near you
- Hotel Tonight: Finds you amazing last-minute hotel deals
- Viator: Allows you to pre-purchase tickets and Skip the Line passes for thousands of tours and activities worldwide
And don’t forget the Coupons.com app, where you can get offers for everything from restaurants to car rental to groceries to haircuts. If you turn notifications on, the app will use geolocation to alert you to offers nearby.
The Coupons.com app can also help you plan out your budget European vacation with coupon codes for Europcar. Now all you have to remember is what side of the road you should be driving on!
Source: Eddie Bauer
3. Good walking shoes
Women’s Eddie Bauer Send shoes in Calla Lily, $63 at Eddie Bauer
If you’re traveling to a walkable city or area, cut down on costs by skipping public transportation, Uber, and taxis and hoof it around town for a while. It’s a great way to see a new city and get some exercise both. The key is to bring a comfortable pair of walking shoes — flip flops and sandals don’t count.
4. Advance tickets or passes
If you’ll be visiting some attractions that require admission fees, don’t wait ‘til you get there and pay at the door. You can usually score better prices by purchasing tickets in advance or by buying a package deal online. Some hotels can give you passes and discounts, as well — the key is to plan ahead and ask. Make a rough schedule of each vacation day and look in advance for discounts to the attractions that are must-do’s.
You can search sites like Living Social for package deals and tickets at a discount, like this 1-day San Diego Zoo pass for $34.99. Bonus! Expand your savings with Living Social coupons from Coupons.com!
5. A good camera with enough storage
The best souvenir is a great memory-capturing picture. Skip the key chains, shot glasses, magnets, and other tchotchke and instead get snap-happy with your camera or smartphone. If it’s just the two of you on vacation, a selfie stick might be a worthwhile expense — they really do make selfie-snapping easier.
Did you know there’s a trick to grabbing the perfect selfie? Find out how to snap the perfect selfie while on your adventures!
Source: Hatchapong Palurtchaivong
6. Your student ID, military ID, or AAA card
With the proper ID, you may be able to save at hotels, restaurants, and events or attractions throughout your trip. Always ask about discounts (most places don’t advertise them), but be prepared to prove you’re eligible with the proper ID.
Not sure where your ID will get you a discount? Check out our lists of student discounts, military freebies, and senior discounts to find out which restaurants, hotels, parks, and more will offer up freebies when you show your ID.
7. An extra foldable/expandable bag
Vera Bradley Large Duffle Bag in Rosewood, $85 at Macy’s
If shopping is a part of your vacation plan — or you end up splurging on souvenirs that you simply couldn’t pass up — you may find yourself low on room in your suitcase.
Save big bucks by bringing your own “just in case” extra bag as opposed to running out to buy a new suitcase or duffel bag the night before you head home. A bag that can fold flat in the bottom of your suitcase is an easy thing to pack, but a great thing to have if you end up returning home with more than initially brought.
8. A first-aid kit
This might seem random, but you never know when you or someone in your party might need a Band-Aid, safety pin, ibuprofen, motion-sickness meds, Tums, or something similar — and buying these things in a hotel gift shop or at a convenience store can be much more expensive that stocking up at your local drugstore. Pack a small kit with travel-sized items that may come in handy and save you a few bucks, as well.
Not sure how you’re going to fit all these extra First Aid items in your luggage? Check out this 33-piece kit that’s just the right size for your purse, car, or suitcase. Or build your own with the following coupons:
One more power tip!
Before you hit the road, sign up for cash-back dining offers at Coupons.com, where you can get 10 percent cash back on your meal at thousands of restaurants across the country. With just a few easy steps, you can find great offers from popular restaurants all over the U.S. These deals are available anywhere you go, even if you’re on vacation!life / 8 Surprising Things That Make Your Vacation More Affordable