Saving money on vacation

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – Every August we load up the family and head to Virginia Beach, but there's planning to do before we hit the road.

My first stop is I checked for spots within walking distance of the timeshare because I'm not paying for parking. I bought two gift certificates so I now have $75 to spend and it only cost me $6.

We find the cheapest Kroger gas on the way out and use our loyalty card to take off another 10 cents per gallon. I call 511-there's 5 miles of tunnel traffic and rather than waste gas and patience sitting in that for hours, we're taking 460.

Our tradition is pizza the first night. There are coupon books on every corner here - I snag a few and there it is, Planet Pizza, buy one get one half off; an easy 25 % savings.

But for breakfast and lunch, I've brought products from the home stockpile. I'm not paying three times as much here for the same products I've gotten cheap at home.

Our first real dinner out, we ordered an amazing Greek spread from Ammos. My total before tip was $119 - after my gift certificate the total came to $91 including the tip.

Who can deny children Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream - my coupon cuts my bill in half.

The kids are easy to please-the rock wall and fireworks are inexpensive ways to entertain.

Next dinner out - Mexican at Side Street Cantina. My $75 bill comes down to $50 with my gift certificate.

Our new adventure this trip will be parasailing. There are 3 near me, so I pick the cheapest one that has a coupon to discount fees further. Not exactly cheap, but worth every penny.

If you know you'll be heading somewhere in the next few months, sign up for Groupon or Living Social alerts from that area. You've usually got six months to use them and will give you better variety when it comes to saving away from home.

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