Monday, March 7, 2011

Ten Tips for Getting Away with Great Family Travel Deals

We love to travel and to maximize our travel dollar, we look for ways to still enjoy our trip but to do it as frugally as possible.  These are our top ten tips for getting away - and getting a great travel deal!

1.  Research, research, research

Whether you are looking for an airline ticket, hotel, or attraction ticket, research to find the best price.  There are tons of travel deal sites to help you.  Some of my favorites are:
2.  Travel off-season
You can save huge dollars and avoid crowds when you travel off-season.  We were able to go to Ireland and Paris, for the same amount just one peak-season trip would have cost.  Yes, we did have to pack our rain gear - but it was worth it!
3.  Use coupons
Travel coupons?  You bet!  There are online coupons, Entertainment Book coupons, discount codes and more available for travel.  Before you go, do a google search and see what turns up.  You might be surprised!
4.  Take your own food
If it's at all possible, take your own breakfast.  Eating out can be crazy-expensive and especially for breakfast, you can have great savings if you take your own.  The other thing we like to take when we go on vacation is our own snacks and soft drinks.  Those are other items that have inflated prices when you are "on-the-road".  In addition to saving money, you will also save time if you don't have to wait in line for a snack.  For a toddler, you may also be saving a meltdown when you can provide a fast, delicious snack.
5.  Share meals
When you do eat out, share a meal.  Portion sizes are often huge and you can't take home leftovers when you are traveling.  Share a meal! You'll save money and waste.
6.  Avoid buying souvenirs
How many times have you gotten home with a specialty item that you bought on vacation and said, "What was I thinking?"  Often we get carried away with shopping on vacation and forget what it will look like in our home setting.  Look for free souvenirs - if it's permitted, take home seashells, pine cones, etc.
7.  Give the kids "coupons" for treats and gifts.
If you're children seem to want every item, in every store, in every town, give them "coupons" before you leave home.  An example might be, "This coupon is good towards the purchase of one T-Shirt."  Children still get to shop and choose their own purchases, but they will have limits.  When the coupon's gone, so is the shopping.
8.  Set expectations before you leave
Discuss the budget with all family members before you leave home and get carried away with vacation euphoria.  Make sure everyone knows that while you want to have fun and enjoy what your vacation spot has to offer, that doesn't mean that you will or have to do everything.  Hopefully you will be returning to this place and have another opportunity to try the offerings.
9.  Look for free or reasonable activities at your vacation spot
Before you leave home, google your vacation area and search for opportunities for bargains.  For example, the local children's museum or zoo might have a bargain or free day.  You can schedule your trip to that attraction on that day and save a bunch!
10.  Consider a driving vacation to a smaller town during a festival 
While visiting a small town might not be appealing to your family, check to see if they have a local festival or event.  Going during that time will offer opportunities for attractions and events that won't be there at other times and add the excitement that you need.

A big component to saving money while vacationing, in addition to awareness, is planning.  It's important to plan your vacation well and early.  You can save money on so many things if you take the time to research, make reservations early, and get creative.  Enjoy!

Disclosure:  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.”

About Alamo
Founded in 1974, Alamo Rent A Car is a value-oriented, internationally recognized brand serving the rental needs of airport leisure travelers. Alamo offers low rental rates and a hassle-free customer experience at the most popular travel destinations throughout the United States, Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, Latin America and Asia. In addition, Alamo customers in the U.S. are able to conveniently choose their own vehicles, based upon their advance reservation and requested car class, and then simply drive away from the airport.

The Alamo membership club, Alamo Insiders, offers its members numerous perks including exclusive, member-only deals, quick and simple reservations, and frequent traveler miles with each rental.

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