My family loves to go to different theme parks every summer. They have so much to offer with shows, food, rides and the like. But they can also cost a small fortune. Fear not! I’m going to provide you with some helpful tips and links in order to make the most of your trip. This is the stuff that my family does on trips and it makes such a difference, especially with young kids.
- Pack a lunch! Food costs are outrageous at theme parks. Most will let you leave the park and eat your lunch in a pavilion, near the parking lot. Check in advance and pack a LOT of drinks! Do I even need to tell you how great an ice cold drink will taste once you hit the car?!?! We pack a lunch and then we choose one special snack while we are in the park. That way, it not only saves money but it teaches everyone how to use money wisely. You only get one and it’s a big decision! (this works with souvenirs too!)
- Bring a loaded backpack. We always take a backpack loaded with essentials like sunscreen, water bottles (if allowed), money, a change of clothes (this one almost ALWAYS comes in handy), napkins, camera, etc. Take what your family might need. Be sure to check the rules before packing your backpack. You don’t want to have to trudge back to the car after they search it and find unintended contraband.
- Buy your souvenirs before you go to the park. This one sounds weird but it is a wonderful money saver! Find out the types of souvenirs they sell at the park by checking the website. Then, go to the dollar store, or other mass merchandisers and buy several small, fun things for your trip. You can even wrap them if you want to make it extra special. Then take them with you & keep it a surprise. You can keep some in your backpack to prevent a meltdown while in the park. That way, you are getting them for WAY lower than theme park price plus you can bypass the gift shop if you want! Everybody wins!
- Put a couple ponchos in your backpack. You never know when an unexpected shower (or water ride) might occur. The gift shop costs are ridiculous and nobody wants to walk around with wet shorts for the rest of the day. Trust me. This is a gem.
- Use a note app on your phone to remember where you parked. I use Evernote. I just have a note called “parking’ and I use it every time I park in a crowded place. I just make a clear description, add a photo and voila, no more lost time at the end of the night.
- Buy the souvenir cup. We drink a lot when we’re hot, as do most people. They always offer a cup, where every future refill is at a reduced cost. Do this right away or even buy it in advance and then have everyone share it. By the time you really think about it, it will be too late and you’ve already bought four regular drinks.
- Check the price of a season pass. Are you planning on hitting up the park a few times? Calculate how many visits it would take in order to pay for itself. It just might be better that way. An added bonus? Sometimes you park free with season passes and get other special privileges.
- Try to travel at odd times. If you go a little early or a little late in the season, tickets are MUCH cheaper. If your trip dates are flexible, this might be your best bet.
Looking for discount codes for your tickets? Here are some links to get money off each ticket. Please keep in mind that I found these using a Google search so I’m not endorsing or guaranteeing any of them to work. Just trying to be helpful, folks! Be sure to check fast food restaurants and grocery stores for coupons too. Different places have different coupons. If you know someone living near the park, ask them to send some coupons to you!
Click the links to find discounts:
We are taking the clan to Busch Gardens this year. We are all excited and I can’t wait to try and see how much money I can try to save while there. I’m doing some research and we’ve already purchased our tickets. Good luck and I hope you can use some of this information. It really comes in handy when we go on vacation.
How about you? Are you going to a theme park this year and if so, which one? Any tips I missed?