Just returned from a cross country trip & we did all these things, including staying with family members along the way. Here's another tip: "Motel Six"--it is at the low end of the economy motels, but generally always consistent in expectations, and with just a few exceptions, they are generally always clean. They offer coffee in the morning, and sometimes offer hot water as well. So, we would just take our travel coffee mugs and fill them up. If they offered hot water, I poured my instant oatmeal in a paper bowl and used the hot water to make my oatmeal. Since we are both seniors, the added bonus is that they offer senior discounts, but one does have to ask for the discount.
Its great to get some new ideas for saving money! I actually did the "Brown Bag It" part of these savings tips when my boyfriend and I went away earlier this year and let me tell you, you definitely do save a lot more by making a sandwich in the room then going to the restuarant in the hotel. Thanks for the tips! I will definitely keep them in mind!
Those free shampoos, conditioners etc in hotel rooms are great for putting bags together for women who flee domestic violence and live in women's shelters. I would never use them for myself, as they are always used for this purpose. You can purchase small containers to fill from your own bulk items rather than use those. I rarely stay in a motel, usually I camp for my summer holidays which means I prepare my own foods. It can still be expensive, however, its cheaper than restaurant eating. I rarely hit tourist spots. I highly recommended camping at your local campground, heading to a lake that is away from the hot spots and spending time exploring your own backyard. Its amazing the trips I've taken and hardly even left home - plus its cheaper. :) Good tips.
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