Packing for an upcoming vacation can be both exciting and stressful. The items you are storing for your travel are a good indication of the trip you set out to have. And if you’re setting out to have an affordable getaway, there are seven must have items you should bring to save you money during your trip.

1. Comfortable shoes

Swap out the super high heels, flip flops, and other stylish but uncomfortable shoes for a pair of comfortable and durable walking shoes. Being able to walk around the area you’re visiting will save you money on taking a taxi, gas for your car, overpriced parking spots, or public transportation. Simply walking and exploring is a great way to take in an area and be entertained for free.

2. Cooler

If you’re taking a road trip, a cooler is a must. Having a cooler allows you to store up on water, drinks, and food from home and the grocery store for a fraction of the cost. You can pack sandwiches and other food so you don’t have to eat at restaurants for every meal which is a huge savings. You can also store leftovers if you do go out to eat.

3. Your Smart Phone

Photo: Frank

You pay enough for your smart phone every month so be sure to use everything it has to offer. There are many completely free apps that will help you save money on your trip. These apps can save on everything from gas, airfare, dining out, and entertainment. You can also access maps and public transportation schedules that will help you travel with ease and save money as well. Use your smart phone to read reviews of restaurants and tourist attractions to see if fellow travelers think its worth it.

4. Healthy snacks

With healthy drinks and snacks on hand, you’ll be less likely to be tempted to stock up at a gas station or convenience store where everything is overpriced. Choose foods that don’t easily melt, are convenient to eat, and will fill you up, like granola bars or nuts. Simply throw them in your purse or backpack so you can have them ready to go when you’re sightseeing or hiking.

5. Camera

Forget expensive souvenirs. Just bring your camera instead. Photos of your trip are much more meaningful than a mug or a snow globe. Take tons of photos so once you’re home, you can decide which ones you like. From there, enlarge them for picture frames or print them out for a scrapbook. If you’re taking kids on the trip, let them take photos of their favorite parts of the trip and then choose what they’d like to do with them.

6. Toiletries

It can seem like a hassle, but packing your own toiletries are much better for your wallet than buying items at a local convenience store or the airport. If you wait to buy sunscreen until you’re at the beach or a water park, you can easily pay double if not more. The same goes for bug spray at an attraction outdoors. Pack up before you go to save a bundle. If you are flying and can’t pack a large amount of liquid, buy them at the local Walmart or Target when you land.

7. IDs and membership cards

Don’t leave your IDs at home because they can be worth a good amount of money. Restaurants, parking, tickets to events and museums, and many other businesses all offer discounts or special deals for students, alumni, members of organizations, and certain professions. Teachers, police officers, and fire fighters are just a few professions that often give discounts to certain items.

Kristen Kuchar

Kristen Kuchar

Kristen Kuchar is a freelance writer and editor who has learned how to save money without giving up a passion for travel, food, and living a fun life. She has written about personal finance for several years and graduated with a degree in Journalism. Follow her on Twitter @KristenKuchar.