Amusement parks might be at the top of everyone’s vacation plans, but they’re certainly not a cheap activity. Once you add up ticket prices, hotel rooms, parking, meals, and up-charge attractions, the total bill likely makes you gasp.┬áBut, with careful planning, you can enjoy a fulfilling amusement park experience without breaking the bank.

1Buy tickets online

This might seem like an obvious tip, but pre-purchasing your tickets online saves both time and money. Many amusement parks offer discounts and promotions that allow you to get into the park for considerably less than a ticket purchased at the gate. Check the amusement park’s website routinely and sign up for their email list to ensure that you don’t miss the biggest deals.

2Go as a group

If you can accrue a group of fifteen or more people, everyone in your group will get a heavily discounted ticket, not to mention a horde of thrill-seeking friends to enjoy the day with. Of course, if you prefer riding solo, you can always arrive with a group and split up after you enter the park.

3Bring your own food

Eating in an amusement park might be a memorable experience, but you have to admit that most park food is subpar and heavily overpriced. To save on food, simply bring a cooler full of snacks and drinks with you and leave it in your car. The park might not let you bring it into the park with you, but you’re always welcome to take trips out to the parking lot. Just remember to get your hand stamped on the way out if you plan to re-enter.

4Avoid up-charge attractions

Amusement parks are full of thrilling rides, appealing attractions, and enticing games, but take care to avoid activities that require an extra fee. There are plenty of other attractions available at no charge, and up-charge attractions are usually severely over-priced. If you’re trying to save money, it’s also best to shun games as they usually end up being merciless money holes.

5Plan a day trip

In the end, you can try as hard as you can to save at an amusement park, only to spend an arm and a leg for a hotel room. There’s no easy solution to this problem, unless you live within a few hours of the park. In this case, I would recommend leaving early in the morning, spending the day at a park, and driving back late at night. It might sound exhausting, but you’ll save a considerable amount of money and you won’t have to worry about finding a reasonable hotel room.

Next time you’re vacationing on a tight budget, keep these tips in mind to ensure that you don’t get sucked into a money trap. Do you have any life-saving pointers to share? Leave a comment below.

Read next: How to ride all the coasters

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A trip to Dollywood at age eight changed me forever. Since then, I have been on a wild quest to fulfill my cravings for thrill. Here at Theme Park Press, I desire to share my adventures and spread the latest industry news while adding in a few opinions of my own.

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