One of our favorite things to do on the road is to save money on new experiences.
It might seem like budget travel leaves you to kitschy attractions and run-down theme parks. But with some planning, you can have top-notch adventures without the high-end prices.
Today, we’re sharing our best tips so you can make the most of your journey.
Let’s clip some coupons!
Save Money on Fun Experiences With Reciprocal Memberships
While traveling with family, some of the best stops include zoos, museums, and science centers. They have activities and exhibits that keep everyone entertained and engaged. But the biggest drawback is the cost.
Going to a zoo or aquarium for the day can easily cost hundreds of dollars just to get in the door. Once there, you’re still on the hook for food and drinks unless they allow you to bring a picnic. The same goes for museums and science centers.
One fantastic tip we discovered involves reciprocal memberships. Most of these attractions belong to national organizations, and many offer perks if you buy into an affiliate location. What better way to save money on new experiences?
Groups like the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) have members nationwide. When you join one of them, you get something in return. Depending on the place, you could get free passes or major discounts on entry fees. If you have munchkins in your RV school, this could save you some serious green.
When signing up, make sure you read the fine print. At your home site, they likely have different tiers, each with unique perks. And if you aren’t traveling much, it may not be worth the extra cost upfront.
Aside from AZA, the Association of Science-Technology Centers (ASTC) offers similar programs. So do the Association of Children’s Museums and the American Horticultural Society.
Look for Budget Rates on Travel and Entertainment
When you’re heading to a specific city for vacation, there’s usually something drawing you there. Concerts, theme parks, and nightlife are all available to explore. Using the following tip could save your entertainment budget.
You can purchase a Go City Pass to find discounts at popular stops. You could save up to 50% on regular admission prices. With two membership levels, you can probably find something to fit your needs. And they have deals in cities worldwide, including some top vacation destinations.
CityPass is another way to save money on new experiences. With this option, you pay one price to visit the top sites in a particular area. For instance, in Tampa, you get to see Busch Gardens, The Florida Aquarium, ZooTampa, and the Clearwater Marina for one price. It’s not a bad deal if you ask us.
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Groupon is also popular for cutting costs at home, but you’ll reap the same rewards traveling in your RV. Once you join, all you have to do is change your location to where you’re visiting. Local deals will pop up and take the pain out of your wallet.
These are just a few of the ways to save big with budget rates on your trip. It isn’t complicated, but it does take some time. However, with discounts up to 50%, it’s worth the effort.
Volunteer and Save Money on Exciting Experiences
Parking your RV in the same spot for a while gives you some unexpected ways to save money on new experiences.
Staying in one place allows you to build connections with local organizations. And many businesses offer free entry to volunteers. But even if you’re passing through, donating your time is an option.
Your best bet is to look for performing arts groups, concerts, or other large events coming to your destination. Then, check to see if they’re looking for folks to take tickets, sell food, or even just be a point of contact. Especially for multi-day events, you could work one or two days and enjoy the rest for free.
Theatres are almost always looking for ushers. And while you may not have the best seat in the house, you’ll get to view the performance during your shift.
Volunteering isn’t for everyone, but it’s perfect if you like to see behind the scenes. Who knows, you might decide to run away with the circus.
Expand your options: How to Travel the World on $50 a Day.
Consider Your Timing for Travel and Entertainment Prices
Purchasing tickets far out in advance is usually the best practice for important events. Guaranteeing your entry gives peace of mind to type-A trip organizers. But for those who can handle a little more uncertainty, there are deals to reap.
You can play with these tips in different ways, a little mix and match, if you will.
Hit up top attractions during off-peak times of the day. Check to see if there’s a price difference when booking that sunset cruise. Maybe a dawn putter around the bay is cheaper and just as beautiful.
Before leaving your RV park or hotel room, check online for free activities nearby. You’d be surprised what fun you can have when you’re open to discovery. Local festivals, outdoor music shows, and even museums offer free entry. The time of your life could be waiting for you.
For ticketed events, last-minute deals are frequently available. Plays, music organizations, and tours often have rush passes at a steep discount. What they don’t sell is wasted income, so they’re willing to take a hit. Sometimes, as little as 15 minutes before, you could score the best seat in the house for a fraction of the cost.
Buy an Annual Pass to Save Money on Fun Experiences All Year
Certain kinds of entertainment aren’t a one-and-done scenario. While you might not be the type to go back to the same museum over and over, theme and national parks are different. No matter your age, you can save money on these experiences by purchasing an annual pass.
It doesn’t sound logical to buy unlimited access to a venue you may only visit two or three times a year. But once you look at the price, we think you’ll change your mind.
Take, for example, Six Flags of America. As one of the largest operators in the country, they have 27 places to visit. Now, imagine you pay $50 to $70 per person to see just a few of them. You could pay $350 or more for each member of your crew. If you bought their $99 pass, you could visit them all for less than the price of a plane ticket.
The National Parks Service has its America The Beautiful Pass available from the NPS website or your local unit. It’ll get you into any of the 2,000 protected areas nationwide. For around $80, you and whoever’s in your vehicle get in everywhere.
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States frequently have similar programs, which could be worth it depending on the region.
Others, like Cedar Fair and SeaWorld, have comparable offers. But Frontier Airlines just might have the best one we’ve seen. If you’re not bringing your RV along, joining their Discount Den gives you access to a crazy deal. For each adult ticket, you get a child’s entry for free.
So, go all in on those annual passes and save enough to live it up a little when you get there.
You Can Tighten Your Belt Without Missing Out!
Enjoying all life offers doesn’t have to break the bank. Use these tips to save money on some of these experiences, and you won’t be sorry. After all, you can be wise with your cash without being cheap.
Whether volunteering, taking advantage of a deal, or visiting as many national parks as possible, you’ll enjoy every minute. Because, all things being equal, knowing you’re saving some dough can make all the difference!
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