How To Maximize Your Vacation

December 1, 2014

Travel / Uncategorized

P1010037-1-2P1010203-1 I totally have those friends who do month(s) long vacations where they spend the larger part in a more “affordable” area and shorter portions in more expensive places. Think Thailand $ for a while and then a short trip to Japan $$$$.

I have always been intimated by vacation planning and payment. My friends or husband always do the planning and I show up with an attitude up for anything (swimming with manatees and nurse sharks-this is mortifying to me). Now with some practice though, I’m getting the hang of it and want to share some tips on getting the most out of vacation because I’m 1. Thrifty and 2. A Glutonous Taurus.

Maximize Your Vacation

1. Go to a place that has multiple venues/destinations nearby and take multiple vacations in a small geographic area.

We are on a Hawaiin vacation now. We started the trip on The Big Island of Hawaii (pictured above) and now we are enjoying Kuai (photos to come). In Europe we did a cruise to visit multiple countries and then spent time in Rome and Paris on our own. Do you know how it kills me that we didn’t also take the train from Paris to London!? AH! 

2. Start low then go fancy!

We usually start our vacation at a less expensive destination and our accommodations improve as the vacation goes on. ANYWHERE is going to be awesome in the first couple of days.

In Belize we started in a jungle hut and then ended in a nice hotel on a little caye. We also took time to go see the Mayan pyramids in nearby Guatemala at the start of the trip. 

3. Start fast then go slow!

It takes us a little time to wind down into a vacation. At the start, the adrenaline is there to go spelunking. snorkeling etc. We like to then ease into lounging after some activities.

4. Be a local.

VRBO has saved us so much money and given us incredible “local” experiences. Our apartment in Paris was 1/4 the price of many hotels!!!!

Nice places will even have all the beach towels, rain umbrellas, snorkels etc. you need. Having laundry onsite allows you to pack super light and saves time and hassle of laundromats. 

5. FOOD!

Find the local farmers markets and grocery stops to stock your place with snacks. We get standard oatmeal/cereal and almond milk to have around for early or late night snacking. Fruits and vegetables are great to have around because sometimes there isn’t much of that when dining out.

Purchase alocholic beverages and do picnics. I saw lots of people doing fancy little picnics in Paris and eating on the beach is always so fun.


Acai bowls, crepe stands, quiche and street tacos!!! You will save a lot of dough. 

6. Do your research!

You can buy tickets ahead of time to see The David in Florence. If you wait until you get there, the tickets for that day may be sold out or there may be a long line for them!

Make a hot list of the places you want to see and activities you want. Even get an idea of what you may want to buy so you pounce on it when you see a good one. 

Those Lonely Planet books are great. I also love Rick Steves for Europe. There are great apps as well. 

  • These are great tips! And I agree with pretty much all of them, as that’s how we plan/travel as well. I especially love the “go fast, then go slow”, as that’s exactly what I do: I pack more stuff in the first couple of days, then once most of the musts are checked off I relax and just do random, spur-of the moment type of things.

    I have never been to Hawaii, but most places in Europe really lend themselves well to the multiple attraction thing. For instance, we like to take a trip to the lakes in Northern Italy once a year (usually over Easter weekend) because we know we can do lots of sightseeing in different spots, maybe hit a museum, eat local specialties, then hit the large town/city in the area (which might be Milano, Verona, etc, depending on the area we picked) for more exploring on foot and maybe some shopping. It’s such an awesome way to go about it!

    • Oh Elisa! We would travel so well together! Europe is SO wonderful for the multiple stops. I am going to get Grant’s passport together ASAP for a hopeful international trip with him next! The lakes of Northern Italy sound so wonderful. I’m really hoping to see that area some time. We’ve been to Italy a couple of times and LOVE it. I’m really interested in the South of France as well!

      We feel like we have been gone a month but it was only 16 days. The slow part at the end really lengthened that feeling! Thank you!!!