10 Ways to Save Money on Summer Travel

Ten Ways to Save Money on Summer Travel - Fabulous ideas here!10 Ways to Save Money on Summer Travel

by Tonya P

Many families look forward to the last day of school so they can put their summer travel plans in motion. After all, what can be better than spending time away with the family?

I can think of one. How about returning home from vacation with money in your pocket? Here are some of my best tips to help you save money on summer travel with your family.

1. Book your hotel in advance, but continue to look around.

If you’re booking directly from the hotel, you either save the most by booking far in advance or by waiting until the last minute. It sounds like a gamble, but it doesn’t need to be.

Go ahead and book in advance, most hotels will not charge you until you check-in (confirm this with the hotel). You can continue to check prices and if you come across a better deal, snag it and cancel your first reservation.

2. More of a last minute traveler? Get familiar with hotel deal sites.

If you’re traveling at the last minute, check out hotel deal sites like HotelCoupons.com. This is the same as the coupon book you find at rest stops and gas stations, but you can get an idea of the savings before you leave home.

3. Use your warehouse club membership to save money on gas.

Do you belong to a Sam’s Club or Costco? You’ll often find them along busy highways or interstates and their gas prices are typically lower than the surrounding gas stations.

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4. Pack snacks from home.

I have older kids who eat a lot. I load up the snacks like grapes, almonds, pretzels and even a bit of junk like potato chips and cookies before we hit the road. I recently discovered if I take the time to divide the food into the recommended serving portions, the snacks last longer which means bigger savings!

5. Check coupon sites like Groupon and Living Social for deals on attractions, restaurants and lodging.   

Sign up to receive specials from areas you’d like to visit, not just where you live. You’ll find  discounted attraction tickets, lodging and restaurant deals.

6. Buy an Entertainment Book for the area you’ll visit.

You can save beyond the cost of the book when you use it for hotel, rental car, restaurant, and attraction discounts. Save more when you buy the book on sale.

7. Check the website of the destination that you plan to visit for deals.

Many destinations offer discount cards, coupons or special savings on their website. Before you plan your itinerary, take a peek at the website for the Visitor’s Center or individual attraction and see if you can snag a deal.

8. Put your memberships to work for you.

Many zoos, museums, and botanical gardens offer some type of reciprocal membership. These vary between attraction and level of membership, but are worth looking into.

9. When it comes to entertainment, learn to balance high-cost outings with free or low-cost attractions.

Local, state and national parks are often free or low-cost, and many offer interactive kiosks or displays the entire family will enjoy. I’m also a huge fan of roadside attractions. There are hundreds across the United States that offer families a quick stop to stretch your legs and break up a road trip.

10. Stay close to home.

I don’t know about you, but sometimes I forget that there are some pretty neat things close to home to explore. Stay local and not only will you save money, you’ll also help the local economy.

Tonya is the wife of her high school sweetheart and mom of two teens, a young adult and one rescued pound puppy. The six of them (yes, even the dog), spent several years on the road traveling with her husband’s job before finally setting down in their home state of Ohio. Tonya shares their travel adventures, tips and resources on her blog, The Traveling Praters

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