I don't get to travel very often but when I do, I make sure to get all the great deals possible. You know that traveling as a family can be hard - especially when you have 1 or more children... I remember the last trip that I took family vacation ... It was a couple years ago... and Lil C was just under the age of passengers being charged (children under 2 flew free)... So... we took advantage ...and went and saw family down south.
There are a lot of ways to save money when traveling. Here are some helpful tips I have learned.
1. Plan in advance. Unless It is a last minute emergency that you have to travel somewhere.. I try to plan a trip at least 6 months in advance. (usually more) This way I can keep my eyes open for the best deals possible when it comes to traveling.
2. Decide if you are going to drive or fly. If It is a long distance... Take into consideration your mental health vs. the dollar amount. I know Driving to Florida from my home is about 20-24 hours ... That long in a car with a 4 year old... Sanity may be lost... This is when I may take into consideration flying and then renting a car.
3. Keep your eyes open for special events that may be going on in the area you are traveling to. There may be some great plays or shows that sound fun...and If you reserve your tickets early enough - or have a large enough group, you may be able to get them cheaper.
4. Check Craigs list for different side events that may be going on. I know I love to shop - and in MI, we have mom 2 mom sales... but when I traveled to Georgia, they had no clue what I was talking about. If you are going for a concert or other event - check eBay. Sometimes you can get some tickets really cheap...
5. Check different hotel prices in the area. Compare how close they are to your destination and what you pay vs. the features a room has. You really dont need a fancy room - becuase... Hopefully you wont be spending your whole trip in it.
6. If you know you are planning on eating out, check online for restaurants in the area you will be traveling to. That way you can always sign up with their email services... Some restaurants offer you savings on their meals when you become an email member.
7. With planning early, you can also do some clearance shopping. I know when I went to Georgia Last, I didn't have a swim suit that fit me (because I was still carrying around baby weight).. I was able to shop the clearance racks ...for summer swimwear...since it was end of Season in Michigan. This saved me a little money - that I could use towards the trip itself.
8. If you have children -some of the most fun things i have found to do on vacation was going to the different states' Zoo. Save yourself a TON of money by packing your own lunch and drinks. They charge an arm and a leg for food and drinks at tourist attractions!
9. Instead of buying a ton of souvenirs, take TONS of pictures. Most people have a digital camera that they use all the time, Why not bring that with you and take pictures .. stand by attraction signs... so you can pinpoint where you were on that particular day. Then when the trip is over you can put together your own photo album to remember your trip by...
10. If you have signed up with any reward points - or airline perks... this would be a great time to cash some of them out. Unfortunatly I don't belong to any airline rewards anymore! Shucks.
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.