March 9, 2011

Top Ten Tips For Getting Away with Great Family Travel Deals

Living on a budget is a recurring theme on my blog. Just because you're on a budget doesn't mean that you can't have any fun, it's just takes a little additional planning. Here are ten helpful tips for getting great deals for your next family trip!

  1. Plan ahead. You don't want a vacation that follows you home. All of the relaxing benefits of vacation quickly vanish when you open a credit card statement. Do you know that you want to take a vacation this summer? Start setting aside cash each month to fund your trip. A grandiose trip may take a little longer to save up for, but it's so much more enjoyable knowing that you have the money to cover your expenses!
  2. Look at alternative lodging arrangements. Some of our favorite vacations have been spent at vacation rentals as opposed to hotels. Vacation Rentals By Owner has been a helpful resource for our family. You get a lot more space for your money and a bit of privacy too.
  3. Save money by not eating out. If you follow tip #2, there's a good chance that your rental includes a kitchen. You can save tons of money by preparing a few meals in your condo/apartment/rental house. You can still enjoy a good meal out, just go out for lunch instead of the more expensive dinner option.
  4. Consider traveling during off-peak seasons. Most people think of Breckenridge, Colorado as a great ski resort, but did you know that it's a beautiful place to visit in the fall? Many places offer  discounted rates if you travel during these off-peak times. 
  5. If you must stay in a hotel, try an online search engine to find the lowest price. If you're not particular about which particular hotel you stay in, I would suggest trying out one of those "name your own price" type of sites. You can set the quality of the hotel (5 star, etc.) and then you get placed in an available hotel for a rate that's lower than the hotel's lowest published rate. We've only done this once, but it worked out well. 
  6. Take advantage of club discounts. My family and I are members of AAA. We get discounts on hotels, car rentals, even pretzels at the mall. They even offer travel packages, but we've never booked one through them. 
  7. Shop around. If you find a lower rate at a competitor, it's worth mentioning. The company may be willing to match their price on a comparable product in order to gain your business. It never hurts to ask. The worst thing they could do would be to say "no."
  8. Set a budget and stay faithful to it. This falls in line with the whole "plan ahead" tip. Even a "great deal" can turn into a bad thing if you don't have the money to pay for it. Travel within your means. You can have a great time at a wide variety of price points. Splurge on what's important to you, whether that be lodging, a nice rental car, or a fun night out. Don't go overboard, but enjoy what you've worked hard to save up!
  9. Ask your friends for recommendations.  Do you have friends at the same point in life as you are? Kids, age, etc. Find out where they've been lately and what deals they were able to find. Word of mouth can be a great way to find out about discounts, special promotions, etc. 
  10. Travel with friends or family. You can get more for your money if you are splitting the costs. Some friends of mine recently took a girl's weekend to a luxury hotel in a nearby town. I never would have been able to afford the hotel on my own, but split the price four ways and suddenly it's affordable. It's a great way to make lifelong memories and save hard-earned cash at the same time!
It's possible to travel, have a great time, and NOT break the bank. You just have to be wise in the way you plan your trip. There are great online resources, programs, and guides to help you make your travel dreams come true. Take a little time and do a little research - the savings are definitely out there! Happy Travelling!


“I wrote this blog post while participating in the SocialMoms and Alamo blogging program, for a gift card worth $25. For more information on how you can participate, click here.”

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