I’m going on vacation next week. While we’re not planning to venture far from home (it’s more of a staycation), there are a few things I’d like to do. One of the activities revolves around some gift cards I received back in January. The gift cards are for a restaurant/winery located a few hours away from here, so I haven’t had a chance to use them.
I decided our vacation was the perfect time to make a special trip. Vacations provide a good opportunity to fit in those moments of planned spontaneity — when you have a general idea of what you want to do, but don’t feel the need to pin down exactly when and how you’re going to do it. This got me thinking…
What if you let coupons, discounts, and deals decide what you’re going to do on vacation?
A Compromise Between Frugality and Fun
One of the problems with being spontaneous is that it will often cost you more money. The absence of planning also means you don’t research which restaurants, hotels, marketplaces, venues, and activities are the best deal. After all, that would take away the spontaneity (and fun), wouldn’t it?
If you’re like me, you probably have a handful of gift cards, certificates, coupons, and other freebies that you wouldn’t otherwise take advantage of. Why not add some spontaneity to your otherwise predictable vacation plans by deciding to let whatever coupons and gift cards you have (perhaps even at random) dictate where you go, when you go, and what you do?
The Couponer’s Vacation
Many people already utilize this approach with their grocery shopping (referred to as couponing). They only buy items that are on sale or for which they have coupons, in order to maximize their savings. Whatever’s on sale is what’s for dinner. Shopping this way can certainly save you money, while still allowing for some freedom of choice.
There is, of course, the potential for a “couponing vacation” to be a tremendous failure. Your coupons might not match well with your interests and tastes, and the element of spontaneity may cause some scheduling problems. But you’ll never know until you try it. Even if a coupon-based vacation ends up going south, you’ll at least have experiences to share with your loved ones, and some laughs along the way (not to mention, you won’t be out much money).
Even the most planned vacations can go wrong in a matter of moments, so in the end, it’s not so much about the “perfect vacation” — it’s what you make out of each situation and place you find yourself.
I think I might just give this concept a try on our upcoming vacation. Perhaps I’ll become inspired about ways to make it even better, or perhaps I’ll just learn some lessons about what coupons and discounts not to use in the future. Either way, I plan to save some money, be a little spontaneous, and ultimately, have fun.
What do you think of this idea? Have you ever taken a “couponing vacation” before?