Travel for cheap as a family. The internet has helped make travel deals known, accessible and very affordable. Some people may still prefer to use a travel agent, but below I list 10 simple ways that you can score great travel deals.
Don’t just depend on one travel site to find the best deals for you. Last summer I was looking for tickets to go and see my family. I assumed that Southwest would have the cheapest tickets but after doing some searching I found a better rate through jet blue and was able to fly into a more convenient airport. Try using cost comparison tools like bookingbuddy.com.
BeFrugal.com has a travel calculator that will allow you to compare the costs to fly and the costs it will take to drive. In additional it also calculates how much CO2 emissions each trip with use. Now whenever I plan a trip, this is one of the first places I go.
If your departure and arrival dates and times are flexible you can get cheaper rates on flights. On the weekend everyone is traveling and rates will tend to be higher. In the middle of the week there are fewer travelers and airlines are likely to have more empty seats they want to fill. Consider taking a cruise in the winter, not during their peak seasons.
Don’t be fooled
If you are renting a car call your auto insurance and find out if you are also covered while using a rental car. Many insurance plans offer this type of coverage so there is no need to purchase it from the rental company when they try to sell it to you. In addition, many major credit cards that are required when booking a rental also offer rental insurance.
Take short trips
There are often many fun things you can do within a few hours’ drive so don’t always assume you need to go far away. Short trips wont leave you tired and jet lagged giving you more time to have fun. Also taking several short trips could be better than one long trip that takes several days to recover from. Additionally, many airlines offer pretty good rates for short trips like Chicago to Baltimore for $59 from Southwest.
Don’t over pack
Don’t spend extra money to carry more luggage. Plan your outfits carefully so you can reuse items and keep the amount of luggage you need to carry to a minimum. If you are just going away for the weekend each person should not need much more than what can fit in a carry-on.
Use public transportation
If you are traveling to a major city don’t rent a car. Before your trip take some time and research the public transportation options and use them as much as possible to get around. They are much cheaper and will let you really experience the city.
Look for coupons
Go online and do some searching. Many rental car companies offer discounts and special rates for certain employers and users of certain credit cards. The discounts are not a lot but they can help. Don’t forget about Ebates, you will get cash back when you use sites like Expedia and Orbitz.com. Go directly to EBATES.
If you have friends or family near your destination consider staying with them instead of spending money on a hotel. If you don’t know anyone consider staying at a bed and breakfast instead of a chain establishment. The owners will be able to give you tips on local attractions to check out. Many also cook breakfast and have a warm and inviting atmosphere.
Combine your vacation with friends or family to cut costs.
By booking flights and lodging as a group you will be able to get discounts and reduced rates. Also the kids will have fun being around their relatives (free child care}
Start setting aside money well in advance of your trip this will help you budget wisely. Additionally by booking early you can often get better rates.
Contact airlines directly for children flight discounts
Many are cutting these discounts out because of raising costs and gas prices, but it is always worth a try to ask. Also, keep in mind that children under 2 fly free.
“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 the Sponsor: 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.
*Image Credit: FreeDigitalPhotos.net, Photographer: Salvatore Vuono