Guest Author - Angela Thompson
Traveling as a family is a wonderful way to create some priceless, lifelong memories. Creating those memories, however, does come with a price tag that can sometimes nearly end a large family vacation before it begins. With some careful planning, families can have an amazing vacation without blowing the family budget.
The best way to save a lot of money on your next vacation is to begin planning several weeks, or even months, ahead of your scheduled trip to enable you to seek out a variety of available cost cutting resources.
Sign up for Those Newsletters. Make a list of all of the activities, destinations, and venues that you may visit during your trip. Spend some time online and register with local visitor’s centers and with any of the destinations with an online presence. Often simply signing up for email newsletters or mailing lists will yield coupons or discounts which can be used during your trip.
Be a Friend. Make connections with your favorite hotels, restaurants, and destinations through social media. Businesses are actively promoting their brands through sites like Twitter and Facebook. Twitter friends and Facebook fans may receive exclusive offers available only to them or advance notice of upcoming sales and promotions.
Become a Loyalty Card Holder. Many companies have ventured into “customer appreciation” marketing through a variety of customer loyalty or rewards cards. If you are a frequent hotel visitor with a specific chain or group of chains, enrolling in a rewards program can yield free hotel stays, or special discounts. Don’t forget regional grocery stores that you may visit during your trip! They often have shopping cards that yield special pricing in the stores and can add up to a lot of savings. Most allow online registration and will mail cards directly to your home.
Look for Coupons. Research the area and seek out coupons! Many attractions permit online ticket ordering in advance—and often have special offers available for those purchases. Request brochures and fliers from not only the places on your itinerary but from the area visitor centers as many will hold coupons and discount offers. Check websites for coupons and offers and even do an online search. Looking for discounts on tickets to Ripley’s Aquarium in Gatlinburg, Tennessee? Search for it online and see what offers you can find!
Take Advantage of Services You Already Have. A number of service providers from home owner’s and auto insurance companies to credit card companies and travel associations like AAA offer special discount books and promotions to members and clients. Understanding the many discounts for which you qualify helps you choose the best offers and save the most money! To get the most benefit from such programs, users really need to carefully compare the offers to others available from all resources.
Don’t be Afraid to Ask Questions. Be friendly, be sociable, be polite and just ask for the best rates or inquire about any local promotions. Perhaps your AAA auto club rate is the best rate you have discovered for your chosen hotel—but, you learn as you make your hotel reservation that there is a combo promotion with a local restaurant that will yield your family a free daily breakfast for only a few dollars more on the hotel bill. Sometimes specials are not widely publicized and only those “in the know” are able to take advantage of the deals. Never be embarrassed to ask for discounts or offers! Companies expect to encounter savvy shoppers and often have some tempting deals to secure those visitors!
Taking advantage of just a few of these tips could lower many price tags on your priceless trip!