It’s easy to make frivolous purchases when you’re in holiday mode, but getting swept up at the moment like this could cost you. It took months of your life to save for this trip, so don’t become a victim of price gouging and end up spending money where you can save it. While some of these tips listed might only save pennies, it will add up to a significant amount that you’ll be happy about saving in the end over a whole holiday vacation.

Book Everything Ahead

Booking plane tickets and accommodation ahead will save you from paying the maximum price. There are often sweet deals you can take advantage of, like holiday cashbacks or other special offers that only come around during certain times a year. Of course, if you’re unaware of these deals and go directly to the ticket or reception counter, you can bet they’ll charge you the full price without the slightest mention of their online promotion.

Bring Everything You Need

Packing light certainly has its benefits. On the other hand, don’t skimp on items that you will definitely need like toiletries, sunscreens, chapstick, etc. If you buy these around where you’re vacationing, you risk paying more for them than if you just buy them from a shop in your area. Shop owners hike up the prices during tourist season, and sales tax might also be higher where you’re staying. 

It’s true—checked baggage costs more than bringing a carry-on. If you can fit all your necessities in a carry-on, then go for it. If you can’t, then consider having one family member bring a checked bag. If you’re traveling alone, then you’ll have to decide what’s more important: bringing three pairs of shoes or having a few extra bucks for those nice meals out. 

Break into the Local Scene

Get friendly with the locals and find out the best places to eat that aren’t near the tourist hotspots. There’s no way locals will pay tourist prices, so let them enlighten you about all the local joints that tourists never find out about. This will save you much more than a few pennies, and you’ll also get a better feel for a place you’re visiting and its unique culture. Traveling doesn’t have to just be about relaxing and getting away from home—it can be about learning and experiencing a new way of life as well. Mingling with the locals will open up opportunities for that. 

Book an Apartment

Hotels tend to charge more for single rooms that come with only the most basic amenities like a refrigerator or stove. There are many mobile booking apps where you can personalize your searches and find the perfect rental for you and your family. You’re already going to be living out of a suitcase when you travel. Wouldn’t you instead spread out and relax in a normal-sized living space instead of being crammed into a tiny room? The fact that you’ll also be able to pinch some pennies too is a huge bonus. 

Bring Your Own Coffee Maker

If you’re an avid coffee drinker and you know you’ll need your morning fix regardless of how excited you are for the day’s events, then bring your own portable coffee maker. Depending on how long you’re on holiday, you’ll easily wind up spending anywhere between $25-$50 for a 5-day vacation. You can get a portable coffee maker for as cheap as $14. You’ll save so much money on coffee from making this humbly priced purchase that you might never go back to buying coffee even when you go home.

Seek Out Free Attractions

Many museums and national parks don’t make you pay a fee to enter. If you’re a history buff or love the outdoors, then there might be plenty of free options in the area where you stay. Offering a donation helps keep the sites up and running and accessible to the public but is in no way a requirement. 

Use Coupon Apps

Talk to the receptionist or some of the locals to find out the best coupon apps in your area. Groupon is a common one, but there could be others that are unique to certain regions. Meals are going to be where you make some of those bigger purchases while on holiday, so try to save on those as much as you can. 

When venturing out into unknown territory, planning and preparation are your best defense against overspending. Plan your trip down to the finest details, set a budget, and stick to it! This way, you won’t wind up in the red on all the little things here and there.