6 easy ways to save when you're on vacation

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For many of us, vacationing is an excuse to go full-blown relaxation mode. While you should certainly enjoy yourself, you don't need to leave your frugal self at home. Whether you'll be cavorting on pristine beach sands during spring break or visiting a medieval castle, here are some ways to save while on vacay.

1. Deal it up

As a former daily deal addict who has, for the most part, sworn off daily coupon sites, I do make an exception when traveling. I've gone on snorkeling trips and island tours in Hawaii, indulged in massages in San Francisco, and toured museums in Seattle, all at a hefty discount. Just keep track of your expenses in your travel budget and you'll never run out of money.

2. Eat where the locals do

Sure, everyone wants to eat at the restaurants from "Chef's Table," but those cost a pretty penny. To save some dough, try asking a local what's good and cheap, or do some poking around on Yelp. While everyone has a different opinion, I discovered some lesser-known, authentic eateries in town.

3. Cook some meals

If the place you're staying comes with a kitchen, consider concocting some of your own delicacies. You'll have access to unique ingredients used in regional fare. For instance, while I was sojourning in New Orleans, the local supermarket carried a variety of spices, which gave an otherwise drab dish of roasted carrots and Brussels sprouts some flair.

If there's a popular route in the locale you're vacationing, see if you can cobble together your own version. For instance, during a two-week trip to Europe, my resourceful traveling companion piecemealed together her own version of the popular Norway on a Nutshell tour. While it did take some time and research, it saved us a boatload of cash. And we didn't miss out on checking out some of Norway's most scenic spots.

5. Go easy on the souvenirs

Admit it. Those maracas your friend got you during her trip to South America? Unless you're an enthusiast of maracas, chances are they'll end up in a donation bag going to Goodwill. Souvenirs can be a waste of money and take up valuable luggage space.

6. Send a postcard instead

If you really do something thoughtful to those you left at home, consider sending them a postcard. Getting snail mail can be pretty neat. Or you can check out a market and see what's local and cool to bring home. For instance, during my stay in NOLA, I bought a handful of bottles of hot sauce to give to others. They were inexpensive and didn't take up too much space.

Thinking of traveling? Learn about how this couple's renters insurance policy saved their vacation.

Image: Chalffy