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Frugal vacation tips

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When you think of going on vacation do you groan, thinking how can this fit into our frugal lifestyle? It can, with just a few tips and hints. Here are some ways to save but not ruin the vacation.

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Do you need a new purse, shoes, or sunglasses? Make your purchase while on vacation, and turn that needed item into a souvenir as well.

Plan a stay cation and visit the sites around town or plan short day trips.

Search thrift stores, flea markets and antique stores in the area that you're visiting for inexpensive items that can remind you of your trip.

Gather up interesting freebies from the places that you visit – restaurant napkins, brochures, maps, matchbooks, etc. – and you'll have enough stuff to fill a scrapbook or a shoe box.

Visiting a beach, park or somewhere else outdoors? Collect shells, pebbles or sand.

Every place has it's special foods and drinks. In Upper Michigan its pasties. In Wisconsin it is local cheese. Find out what those are for the area that you're visiting for a real local flavor.

Does the hotel offer a free continental breakfast? If so, that's one meal a day that you've got covered so take advantage of it.

Those tourist spots that seem pricey to you also seem pricey to the locals. Talk up the clerk at the hotel desk, and find out where people like to go for cheap but tasty meals.

Skip the pricey entrees by eating out at lunch instead of dinner. Lots of places offer lunch specials to drive in business during the slower part of the day.

Snack foods purchased from vending machines and convenience stores receive a hefty mark up. Avoid this expense entirely by bringing along your own snacks from home, or stocking up at a grocery store once you arrive at your destination.

Eating out three meals a day is fun, but quite expensive. Hang onto a little money by eating some of your meals in your room. It's amazing what you can accomplish with a mini-fridge and a kitchenette.

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