It shouldn’t come as a surprise that retailers in popular tourist destinations tend to have higher prices during their peak season. They have a very limited amount of time to make a living, and as such, they charge what they need to to make money while covering the cost of doing business in a pricey locale.
If you love visiting unique places like Cape Cod, MA, the OBX, Ski towns in Vermont and Colorado, then you also know that supporting local business is essential to their and their community’s survival (assuming you don’t want a Target on every corner of your favorite quaint coastal town, ski area, etc). That being said, there are ways to save and still support the local economy. For myself, these are bring what you can from home, and spend smart while you’re on vacation.
- Bring Non-Perishables With You, like favorite snacks, boxed sides (like E’s favorite Annie’s Mac and Cheese), drinks, and if you’re planning on making meals, pantry basics.
- Bring a Well Stocked First Aid Kit, including extra sunscreen for the Summer, and treatments for multiple ailments like Pedialyte, Benadryl, Tylenol and Motrin for children and adults.
- Stock Up on Diapering Supplies/Baby Food. Bring more than you think you’ll need to avoid the last minute run to the store for a small pack of overpriced diapers/wipes/baby food.
- Coupons Still Work on Vacation! Bring along any and all coupons, and check out survivingthestores.com to see what deals are on at area chain stores that you might not be familiar with. For fresh meats and produce try to find a locally owned grocery store or better yet, butcher or produce market, they often have a better selection of choice cuts of meat and locally grown produce.
- Splurge on the Special and Forgo the Ordinary. If you’re in MD, grab some crabs. On Cape Cod, go for some fresh Cod, Haddock, Scallops, or Oysters. Whatever the local specialty is, splurge on that instead of spending more than needed on something you can get anywhere, like ice cream or playing mini golf.
- Forgo the Mass Market Gift and Memorabilia Stores and Opt for Local Artists Instead. All mass market vacation destination retailers do is take the same lighthouse and put a new name on it. Instead head to local galleries and art shows for unique art work and memorabilia where you’ll also be supporting the local economy. Many artists have smaller pieces, like giclees and even ceramic tiles with their artwork on them for sale at less expensive prices than an original work.
It takes a concerted effort to keep the special places we love to visit, well, special. Supporting the economy of your favorite destination It doesn’t mean you have to spend more on everything, just spend smart, and splurge on the delicacies and what you can’t buy anywhere else.
For more tips on how to have a great vacation for less, check out how to Live Like a Local on Vacation, full of tips on taking it all in at your destination of choice for far less than you might imagine!