As you might have noticed, Jeff and I are both really big travelers. Yes, we usually go to Disney World or Disneyland but we do go other places too! And now with a baby on the way, we have been trying to figure out how to still travel with just a few modifications to what we currently do. I LOVED taking trips when I was younger, and I want my children to have those same experiences.
Alamo wants to know my top 10 tips for getting away with great family travel deals.
1. Plan Early... but don't stop planning! You can get some really great deals if you book early. But sometimes you can get even BETTER deals if you wait. On some airlines, such as Southwest, if the flight you have booked goes on sale, you can rebook and get a credit to use on a future flight.
2. Sign up for hotel Web site and airline newsletters. They often will include special deals, sales and promos that can save you a lot of money. Sign up for another e-mail address if you don't want them cluttering up your main address.
3. Look at flight consolidators but also at the airlines themselves. I always start my flight search on the sites that show you a lot of flights at once - then I go to the airline's own Web site where a lot of the time the flight is cheaper. Don't forget that not all airlines are on the consolidators site either!
4. Do the math - gas vs airfare. Sometimes it does cost less to drive to your destination. That might not be as true these days! But the more family you have, the more the cost of airfare rises whiles the cost of gas remains the same. And don't forget the family bonding experience you get being stuck in a car together all day!
5. Sign up for information from the area you are going to. Not only will you get information about what to do and see, but a lot of times they come with coupons for area attractions and restaurants. As in number 2, sign up for e-mail newsletters from those places as well. For instance, J and I LOVE Mimi's Cafe, and there is one right by Disneyland but not one near us. However, we get e-mails from them, and the e-mails always include a coupon, so we can save a little money when we go.
6. Travel off peak. That is kind of a no-brainier I think. It's something that is harder for us to do since we are restricted by the school calendar. We do fly off peak - usually late at night and get some deals that way. Just be aware that some attractions might have shorter hours or be closed in the off season.
7. Sign up for loyalty reward programs. We have gotten free nights for being rewards club members. Many programs are good at a variety of hotels too.
8. Ask for deals. There is a Howard Johnson that we like to stay at that always has great deals - but you have to ask. If you are a member of AAA, the military, the rewards program, certain groups such as alumni... Always check if they have any unadvertised deals.
9. Buy the Entertainment Book. This time of year, they are very cheap, and a lot of the hotel deals are nationwide. The same goes for the restaurant coupons.
10. Day and weekend trips. Don't forget that trips don't have to be extravagant week long affairs. There are probably tourist sites, museums and other attractions within a few hours of where you live. Even taking a Saturday to get away and try something new can be refreshing and energizing - and much less expensive!
Jeff and I already have our first trip with the new baby planned - we're going on a trip to Woodloch up in the Poconos with his family. It is going to be an entirely new experience, but I am so excited that we are going to plant the travel bug early in our son. And let's not forget that we are also planning his first Disney trip ;)
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.
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.