How to Save Money While on Vacation: Part Three

My previous two posts discussed how to save money on food and supplies while on vacation. This post is one of the easiest things you can do to prepare and save money before you leave on your trip. It seems so simple it’s hard to believe anything can go wrong, but somehow or another I typically find a way to screw it up.

The trick is to very consciously and deliberately pack. Over the years I have forgotten a multitude of items while on vacation. Some of the items are relatively inexpensive like toothpaste, toothbrushes and razors. Other times the cost has been much larger. One summer I forgot to pack my swimsuit and had to shell out nearly $100 to find a replacement suit. (I may have been able to find something cheaper, but I didn’t want to waste the short time I had on vacation shopping for a new one.)

As anal as it sounds, (and yes it is quite anal), I now write down each and every item I might possibly need before packing my bags. One year I actually Googled for ‘what to bring on a beach vacation’ and made a cheat sheet of sorts that I can use to pack my bags.

I double check the list and then have my husband review it to make certain I haven’t missed anything. The list includes big things like clothing and swim suits, but it also includes the smaller often forgotten items like band aids, pain relievers, sunscreen and q-tips.

On one trip to Florida my husband and I rented a convertible and then realized we didn’t bring any hats. With the sun beating down on us we forced to drive around in search of some. We wasted two hours driving to and from shopping malls until we spotted a Walmart where we bought two that said ‘Bud Light.’ Of course, we could’ve put the cover back on the car, but we paid extra for a convertible and wanted to enjoy the wind and weather. Buying those hats was a waste of our time and money. Although looking back it was a funny story.

When I’m on vacation I want to spend my days lounging by the pool, swimming in the ocean, snowboarding down mountains, dining on fabulous food or sightseeing. I don’t want to spend it searching for malls and paying full price for something I’ll probably never use or wear again.

So now I do my best to write a list and check it twice. Every once in awhile I find myself without something, but more often than not I have everything I need right in my suitcase.

8 thoughts on “How to Save Money While on Vacation: Part Three”

  1. Another good use for your list is to take it with you and then use it to make sure you don’t forget to bring anything home.

    I used to work in a motel, and the most often forgotten items were shampoo bottles in the shower and phone chargers plugged in and left on the floor.

  2. I’m heading south for 11 days so this has been at the top of my mind over the weekend. Like you I hate it when I forget something and then have to spend money to replace it – especially when it isn’t a “consumable” like toothpaste that I would have eventually purchased anyway.

    What works for me is packing early. Even though I’m not leaving for my Florida trip until Tuesday, I started packing on Saturday. For some reason when I procrastinate I always leave something out. I’ve already added a couple of things today that I didn’t think of yesterday.

  3. I also create lists whenever I go on trips. I really hate packing so referring to a list makes it more tolerable. I also list “to dos” on the bottom of my list (e.g., confirm flight, take out trash, close/lock windows, charge phone, etc.)


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