Family Travel On A Budget

Travel is one of my greatest passions.  My husband and I actually met while I was traveling, and now, we love to travel with our kids.  We always look for deals on hotels, car rentals, and entertainment. But, my goal is to have an amazing vacation and not feel like I'm on a budget.   

Here is how we do it:

1) First things first...  check the Best Blogs for Local Fun Guide to see if your destination is there.  Blogs can be a great source for local information on everything from 'Kids-Eat-Free' nights at local restaurants to free family events in the area. 

2) Use Ebates when booking your hotels, rental cars and airfare.  Last year, I booked our hotel through Ebates and saved over $10 just by connecting through their site.  Every little bit helps!

3) Check websites like Expedia and Travelocity.  They can be great tools when comparing prices from different companies.

4) We usually save a bit of money by booking in advance.  It seems like whenever I've tried to book a hotel at the last minute, all of the cheaper rooms are gone. Booking months in advance gives you the opportunity to choose from the largest selection of hotel rooms and rental cars which can lead to big savings.

5) Book your flights on Tuesday night.  I've heard this before from travel experts and it really does work.

6) TripAdvisor is also a great source for information.  Last year we booked an inexpensive beach-front hotel as part of our vacation.  Sometimes, seeing a really good price will make me think "is it cheap for a reason?", but by reading the reviews at TripAdvisor you can see what previous guests have said. Through TripAdvisor, we found an inexpensive hotel with a fantastic location and very good reviews. It worked out really well.

7) You've probably already heard of, but you might not think of it when you're traveling.  It's a great way to save on restaurants all across the country. And, they often have coupon codes for 70% or 80% off their discounted gift certificates. 

8) Be prepared.  Bring essentials like sun screen, snacks for the plane, and things to entertain the kids. It helps to prevent over-spending at tourist traps.

9)  Sometimes, your place of employment might be a good place to get discounts.  My husband's company offers their employees discounts for rental cars.  So, we always take advantage of this discount when traveling and it really cuts down the cost.

10) A hotel room with a mini fridge and a microwave is always great.  You can easily have an inexpensive breakfast or a late night snack within minutes.

By planning ahead and using on-line resources, you can save money for some of the things you may want to splurge on.  It is your vacation so have fun, relax and enjoy!

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