Vacation Tips

Making a Disney Trip More Affordable

Melissa and I are often asked how we’re able to vacation so often.  We do like to travel and try to get away several times a year, whether it be to a Disney Park or not.  There are simple answers to the question that don’t need much explaining.  We don’t have kids, don’t have many extra expenses, try to stay on a budget while at home, and we make traveling a priority.  Not everyone is in that place in their lives and we’re well aware of how lucky we are to travel often.

Mowgli Baloo Pop Century

There are other obvious ways to make Disney trips (and other travel) more affordable.  Stay in value hotels, eat at cheaper restaurants, etc.  Even with those obvious things out-of-the-way, I think traveling is more affordable than many people realize.  There are several ‘tricks’ we use that I didn’t mention above that are more or less available to everyone.  I wanted to dive into a few of those money-saving tricks today.  Now, some of these are more common sense than others.  One of the main goals of this blog is to help you have a better experience at Disney Parks and I think being able to go more often (or spend a little extra while you’re there) fits the bill.  These aren’t in any particular order and will certainly have dumb and cheesy headers, so let’s get started!

Budget, budget, budget!

I did mention this above but I think this is certainly an important aspect to traveling (on a budget) often.  There are also two ways Melissa and I budget.  First, is just at home with monthly expenses.  We try to set a limit on spending when it comes to eating at restaurants and shopping.  This is very basic so let’s just move on.

Red gold fireworks

The other area we budget is try to figure out how much money we have to spend on a vacation and then fitting our trip into that price.  I think many people do it the other way, where they look at an estimated price of a trip and then get scared off.  I think setting a budget and then looking works much better.  Typically I’ll price out flights (or driving costs) and hotels first because those are necessities.  With whatever we have left in our budget, we’ll divide into a daily amount for food.  It’s not exactly a ‘sexy’ way to vacation but knowing that you have $40 to spend on food per day (for example) well ahead of time makes planning easier and keeps everyone in your group from overspending.  This is something we do for every Disney vacation and is a somewhat fun way to get even more excited for your vacation.

Credit Card Rewards

This is probably the way we save the most money, but is also probably the one people are most afraid to do.  If you are in a financially safe space and know your spending habits, credit cards can offer an easy way to travel.  Over the last year, we’ve earned well over $1,000 in rewards.  That cuts the cost of a trip to Disney World for us in half (at least) and makes return trips more realistic.

Winnie the Pooh

We’ll often look for the best travel rewards in credit cards and won’t worry about carrying more than one at a time.  We’re very careful in paying them off every month (more like every week since it’s so easy online) and never go into debt on these cards.  We currently use Chase Sapphire Rewards and the Bank of America Travel Rewards cards the most.  I also don’t hesitate to recommend the Capital One Venture card, as that has been solid for us as well.  What cards you might prefer could depend on the annual fee you’re willing to pay and how much you spend.  Disney Tourist Blog has this informative post on different options.  As long as you are confident in yourself and not one to run up debt, credit card rewards are easily the best way to get earn extra savings on your trip.

Stay Flexible!

This isn’t an option for everyone’s job or families but it is more or less common sense.  Be flexible on when you vacation and you’re likely to find better prices.  For example, staying at Disney hotels in June is far more affordable than 4th of July.  Most kids are out of school at some point in June or late August and that is a much better time to go to Disney Parks (price wise and crowd level wise) than the middle of summer.  Even better, take a week off school or work and go in early September or February.  The prices are far more affordable as the hotels aren’t as crowded and flights aren’t as in demand.

The Boardwalk night

Gift Yourself Gift Cards

If traveling is a priority and you have a little extra cash to spend, go out and buy a Disney gift card that you can later use on a trip instead of spending the money on something else.  This goes back to budgeting, but being able to turn extra cash now into money for your later Disney trip is an easy way to save without putting much thought into it.  While this doesn’t technically save money, it is a good way to make a Disney trip look a little less daunting.

Boat DHS

What are some of the ways you save for a Disney Trip?  Let us know in the comments.  Thank you for reading Wandering in Disney, you can subscribe to the blog and like our Facebook site on the right side of this page.

– Andrew

2 replies »

  1. How much do you usually actually spend per person, per day on food? On the last trip I took, my husband and I didn’t budget food at all and had some expensive meals and ate when/where we wanted but when I added it up and divided it, we only spent $57 per day, per person which is crazy considering some meals were over $100! I thought we did pretty good without trying but now we’re going on a trip with friends and they are curious as to how much they should expect to spend.

    • That’s a good question. It really depends on the trip, we typically plan for about 40-50 dollars a day (per person) but then go out for a couple of nice dinners in addition to that.

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