How to Save Money on Holiday at Resorts 34

As you may know I love to travel and over the recent years I have really been enjoying our family holidays staying at resorts.

However prior to these more luxurious family holidays, I use to backpack – becoming quite thrifty with how I spent my money whilst abroad.  Many of these money-saving tips have carried through to our family travels.

This is how we save money on holidays when staying at resorts.

5 Tips to Save Money at Resorts

1.  Choose accommodation that meets ALL your needs.

Choosing the right family accommodation for you can save you money.

You could stay in a self-contained apartment or villa to save costs on eating out by having a kitchen available for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks.  Though of course this means this isn’t much of a holiday for you, which I discussed in my article “It’s Mum’s Holiday Too” hence why I stay at the resort.

If you have little ones that need bottles etc heated you could do as a neighbour of mine does – hire a microwave from the local baby hire company, allowing you to heat bottles and food in your room.

But what I really need from a resort is facilities to amuse my only child son.  I look for things like water slides, splash zones, kids clubs, in-house kids activity schedules and now games rooms.  This means I don’t have to look outside the resort for addition amusement parks to keep my very active 7-year-old entertained all day.  Some resorts may charge for your child to join activities whilst for others it is included – do your research when planning your family holiday.

2.  Look for more inclusions.

Until recently I have never been a fan of the all-inclusive holiday, but recently I discovered some real benefits when we stayed at the Grand Mirage Resort Bali and during our stay at the Samabe Bali Suites and Villas.

All our meals, drinks, mini bar, activities and entertainment were included.  When we checked out of both these resorts we did not have an extra cent to pay.  A great way to keep on budget.

save money on holiday

Mini Bar

3.  Pack snacks

One thing I find travelling with a child is that he is always hungry.  No sooner do we get back to our room from lunch (all-inclusive or not) he is asking for snacks.  When I pack for our family holiday I always include his favourite go to snacks (rice wheels, tiny teddy’s, boxes of dried fruit, and muesli bars).  I choose items that are individually packaged, to save on cleaning up after – remember it’s my holiday too.

save money on holiday

4.  Utilise the mini mart/supermarket

However if you haven’t packed snacks you can always pop out to the local mini mart that is surely less than a block away.  Your local mini mart becomes your friend for cost saving on holiday.  This is what I do.

As soon as we arrive at our room I check the mini bar fridge.  If it is stocked I call to have it emptied (or empty it myself).  Then it is free for me to fill with our preferred beverages that are bought at a fraction of the cost from the nearby mini mart.

Whilst I am there I also buy water – lots of it.  Often the resort will only included 2 bottles of drinking water so I always buy a couple of gallon (4L) bottles to use for the kettle, glasses of water in the room and cleaning teeth.  I usually buy a 1L bottle as well to take out for the day.

save money on holiday

The other thing many mini marts include is a laundry service and if you are away for more than a week you will probably need your clothes cleaned.  I get our clothes washed and dried, but not ironed (to save money).  We rarely have clothes that need ironing on holiday but if I do there is an iron in the room.

5.  Live like a local

When you are heading out to the supermarket you are already starting to utilise the services used by the locals.  Take the plunge and go a step further.

We often use public transport as opposed to taxis to get about.  In my travel stories about Penang I raved about the Penang Rapid bus service, when we were in Bangkok we jumped on board the Sky train and Bangkok ferry, and even in Sydney with a very young toddler we used the Sydney bus, train and ferries to get about.  Using local transport costs a mere fraction of the cost of taxi services.

save money on holiday

Chao Phraya River (Bangkok)

The other way to live like a local is to use the food courts for eating out.  In cities like Singapore residents tend to eat out nightly rather than go home after work and cook.  They do this I am sure, because the food courts are so cheap and this is one of the reasons we utilise them regularly too.  The other reason is the great local food that you get to experience – which is all part of why I love to travel.

save money on holiday

Phuket Town Markets

By keeping our costs down and saving money on holiday at resorts means we get to go away again in the not too distant future 🙂

How do you save money on holiday?

About Sally-Ann Brown

I am Sally-Ann the author of Toddlers on Tour. I am a wife and mother who has always had a passion for travel. I love sharing my experiences and lessons learned to help you have a better family holiday or day trip. Read "All About Me" under the "Home" tab to discover my story and what lead me to here.

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34 thoughts on “How to Save Money on Holiday at Resorts

  • Tonia Zemek

    Oh Sally-Ann, you’ve got me daydreaming of a holiday now! I don’t have offspring but I’m always looking for ways to make travel more convenient and cost-effective. Really enjoyed this post, thanks for sharing your tips. (*stopping by with #IBOT)

  • Vanessa

    I’m a huge fan of cooking for myself and taking my own snacks. I think the best trick if you’re not staying in an apartment is to know if you have a microwave, kettle or both at the hotel/motel. That way you can purchase food accordingly.
    I also buy some big water bottles for the room.

    • Sally-Ann Brown Post author

      Yes it’s amazing how you can get by with just some basics utensils isn’t it Vanessa. You also can’t go past buying a cooked chook and pre-made salad from the supermarket for a quick, cheap and easy meal.

  • Kirralee @ Escape With Kids

    Snacks are so important, for everyone in the family! Having to find somewhere to eat while you’re out and about can take more time than you expect, so having fruit, biscuits, chocolate, museli bars, etc can be such a life-saver! Being hangry is not helpful for anyone!

  • Rhianna

    Great travel tips Sally-Ann, I love the idea of resort staying. Something we have never done but it sounds like a great way to holiday. When we travel we like to use local produce as much as possible as well.

    Leaving some fairy wishes and butterfly kisses from #teamIBOT

  • Fairlie

    We love a local mini-mart on holidays. In Vietnam you can buy stuff at the local mini-marts or convenience stores at ridiculously low prices. And local laundry services too. We managed to find one in the neighbourhood streets of Washington DC that offered a wash and fold service for a LOT less that putting our clothes through the hotel laundry.

  • Allison

    These are all great tips. We are always looking for ways to save $$ especially if the resort is not all inclusive. I’ve been known to throw a jar of Peanut Butter into my luggage and purchase a loaf of bread for easy hotel room lunches. Helps us save a few dollars at lunch time and a reason to return the room for a quick rest. Thanks!

  • Zita

    Great tips! I totally agree with the whole self-contained thing. I think it’s a good idea in theory but then who wants to cook while on holidays!! hehe… Is that pic from Singapore at Satay by the Bay? It was amazing!!

    • Sally-Ann Brown Post author

      Totally Zita, I’m on holiday and that means RELAXATION. The main pic is from the pool at the Shangri-La Rasa Ria Sentosa in Singapore I have just added captions to all the pics in the post so you know where they were taken.

  • Lauren | Justin Plus Lauren

    Great tips on how to travel cost effectively! You’re right – then we get to take more trips! Thanks so much for linking up with #WeekendWanderlust! Just to let you know, when you link up, you need to post the image of our badge on your blog post (at the bottom) along with a link back to one of the host blogs (where you linked up) so other people can find our link-up for the week. It works best this way – we drive some traffic to your site with the link-up, and other people can find our link-up through your site! 🙂 You can find the badge on the site where you linked up, or you can find the info on our Facebook group: (also feel free to join it if you haven’t already)! Thanks so much!!!

    • Sally-Ann Brown Post author

      Hi Lauren, thanks for dropping by and letting me know about the Facebook post. I use to have the badge in my sidebar but lost it during an update and over the last 2 weeks have not been able to find it on a host sight(I think I even made a comment on one of the host sights asking for the code). Hope you can help me out.

  • Wendy

    You have me wanting to buy plane tickets to some place exotic! 🙂 Great tips here, especially “living like a local.” We always try to do this, as well, and have enjoyed our trips much more because of it. We love going into a local grocery store and roaming the produce section, looking for things we don’t recognize. Inevitably, someone will stop and explain how to eat a new piece of produce, and we add it to our basket, then find a great picnic spot. This usually works out pretty well, sometimes not so much 🙂 but always a fun experience!

  • Sam

    Good tips. I’m going to remember the snack one next year when we go to Mexico as my smallest boy can be very fussy.
    I’m very uncultured on travelling but I love an all inclusive resort. I know that once I arrive there the kids (and us) can eat and drink non stop without it costing me a penny! My kids eat so much food that this saves me a small fortune !

    • Sally-Ann Brown Post author

      One of the things I love about travel Sam, is that it’s not a one size fits all. There are different types of travel and accommodation to fit every type of person at each stage of their lives. But packing snacks for kids is one thing I think you need no matter what type of travel you are embarking upon.

  • Packing my Suitcase

    These are some very useful tips. As I still don’t have kids myself, I have never stopped to think about some of these aspects, like is the hotel’s activities cost extra or not! Though, some of these tips I already do it myself, like buying bottles of water 😀 this is a great way of saving money!

    Thank you for linking up to #MondayEscapes 😀
    have a great week!

    • Sally-Ann Brown Post author

      Whilst things like the kids club and family friendly inclusive activities are definitely family travel related I tried to include a lot of tips that any body can benefit from like “living like a local”

  • Tin Box Traveller

    Great tips. Going all inclusive does seem like a luxury when you book but you do save money when you reach your destination. I also love not having to worry about budgeting for food and drinks each day. Making sure you’ve not forgotten holiday essentials like sun cream and your tooth brush will also save you money as these are items that hotels love to charge the Earth for if you’ve left them at home #MondayEscapes

  • Keri

    Oh you’ve made me laugh Sally-Ann, your pictures of the hotel room look exactly like ours! We always stack up on the snacks (yes I know that “but I want a snack” the minute you get back from your all-inclusive lunch). And the mini-mart run is always THE first thing we do when we arrive at a new location. Lovely to find you via #MondayEscapes

  • Andrea

    My biggest money saver is not drinking alcohol. Also, hitting up the mini mart for water, snacks, and more really saves on eating and drinking at the resort. Thanks for posting!

    • Sally-Ann Brown Post author

      Fortunately we are not big drinkers and usually only order A glass of wine with dinner. I also pack in my suitcase small bottles of spirits that I top up before we leave then we can have a drink before dinner if we like.