5 Small Ways to Save Money Before a Big Vacation

published Jun 2, 2019
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You’ve saved and planned for your big vacation and it’s almost time to go. Full-on prep mode is starting to take on a panic-tinged I’m-not-ready hue. You frantically make a list of stuff you swear you need but don’t have. It’s just about time to spend a whole lot of money on a whole lot of “necessities.”

Instead of frittering away money on things you think you need to have that perfect trip, there could be some ways to keep that money in your pocket, either to spend during your trip or to get a jump start on saving for the next one!

Here are some strategies for avoiding that pre-vacation shopping spree:

1. Pack a capsule wardrobe

Packing a travel capsule wardrobe of carefully planned outfits that mix and match for several looks and occasions will save you suitcase space and save you the expenditure of buying too many new items just for your trip. This is especially thrifty if you feel like you need to buy for a locale that’s different from your home; you don’t want a bunch of items you’ll never wear again.

2. If you need packing cubes, improvise

Packing cubes are travel life-savers, but if you don’t have any and want to save on the expense, Ziploc bags can work just as well, and, because they’re clear, you can see exactly what’s in every bag.

Credit: Kris Black/Shutterstock

3. Decant your own toiletries

Yes, the mini-versions of your favorite products are cute and fun to shop for, but buying one travel-sized set of reusable bottles and decanting your own toiletries will save you a good bit of cash in the long run. Be sure to label each bottle so you know what’s what. If you’re traveling again soon, keep the set filled with your shampoo, conditioner, face wash, etc. If not, make sure to decant only what you’ll need on your trip.

4. Don’t buy travel books—rent them

You don’t need to buy travel books. Not only is there a wealth of information online (catalog it in a useful way in Evernote so it’s at your fingertips even while you’re on the go), but you can borrow many of your travel compendiums from the library. Face it—you aren’t going to read that Guide to Rome again. Even better, you may be able to borrow them digitally (check out Libby) and read them with your Kindle app.

5. Trust your old luggage

Your luggage may look a bit worse than you remember, but if it serves the job (getting you from point A to B and back again without falling apart), consider making do with what you have. If you must get new luggage, check out stores like Tuesday Morning or Home Goods for deeply discounted but quality options.

How do you avoid spending before a trip?