Most people usually go on vacation during summer months because the weather is nicer and the kids are out of school. Since many people travel during this peak season, traveling will cost significantly more during the summer than at other times of the year. If you do proper research, you'll find there are dozens of opportunities to spend less on places to stay, flights, rented vehicles, meals, and entertainment, which is especially important during the summer. The following vacations tips include some easy ways to spend less on your family's next summer vacation.
1. Have Flexibility With Your Plans
Flexibility is the key to reducing vacation costs this year. You can cut costs by being flexible about the place you visit and the dates you travel. If you are able to stay in a town a little further from your destination activities, you are likely to spend less. Departing one or two days before or after you originally planned can sometimes make a huge difference in the total price you pay to fly. Flying into another airport in the same area can also offer a cost savings. Check all your options before making your plans.
Try vacationing in your home state. California residents might want to vacation at a beach. Colorado residents could take a white water rafting trip. In-state residents may have access to discounted rates or seasonal passes to certain attractions or parks. A season pass will encourage you to visit more than once. By traveling locally, you can cut down on flight expenses and hotel costs.
3. Travel During Midweek
Traveling on Fridays during the summer can be a nightmare. Summer weekends are arguably the busiest travel days in the whole year. Leaving midweek when fewer people are traveling will help you spend less on gasoline and plane tickets. Car rental rates can also be lower during the week.
4. Book Early And Save Big
Last minute travel plans will always cost more in the end. Book reservations as soon as possible since rates will surely go up as hotels and flights fill up with guests.
5. Price Drop Refunds
If you can, book with a travel site that offers refunds if the price goes down after you originally booked. This can apply to accommodations, vehicles, planes, and anything else you reserve through their site. Periodically check the current prices of your booked items and request a partial refund if the price drops below what you paid.
6. Use Membership Discounts
Very often, membership in groups like AARP and AAA provides you with travel discounts and admission discounts at attractions. Your local zoo membership might entitle you to enter other partner zoos or museums or little or no entry fee. Theme parks and hotels may offer AAA discounts. Just ask when you buy your tickets or book your hotel or flight.
7. Cash Back For Booking Online
Travelers can earn back a percentage they spent on certain transactions, like reserving hotels, planes, and cars, using these money saving sites or through one of their travel partners. Ebates.com has offers with hundreds of travel retailers allowing you to earn up to 10-15% back on all sorts of travel packages.
8. Car Rental Deals
If you're looking, you'll find so many ways to get a car rental deal. Several sites offer comparisons between booking companies in different locations. You may also be able to book your car rental as part of a bundled trip deal. If you have an active membership to a warehouse club, chances are they offer travel discounts on rental cars. It also never hurts to search online for available coupon codes you can enter at checkout when buying online.
9. Avoid Additional Costs Of Double Rental Car Insurance
Before buying insurance for your rental from the car rental company, see if your own car insurance policy already has coverage for rented vehicles. You don't want to be paying for double coverage on your rental car.
10. Reduce the Price Of Using Your Own Vehicle
Not many people realize this, but most vehicles get up to 15% increased fuel economy when using the cruise control feature for long highway trips. You can also save fuel mileage if you have your car properly serviced and your tires inflated to the recommended PSI before traveling. Download a handy app, like GasBuddy, to search for the least expensive gas in just about any city.
11. Inexpensive Road Trip Snacks
Save a ton of cash by bringing your own snacks on road trips and when you tour your destination. Sandwiches, granola bars, and bottled water in your pack will prevent you from having to buy expensive or unhealthy foods.
12. Save By Booking A Vacation Rental Property
Instead of staying in a hotel, try renting a vacation rental property, like a condominium, cabin, or house, through sites like Airbnb.com or HomeAway.com. In many cases, you get an entire home for the same or less than a hotel. Additionally, you have a kitchen so you won't have to eat out. Reserve well in advance to lock in a great place at a great price. If you are making last minute plans, you may be able to negotiate a better rate with the homeowner. They'd rather rent for less money than not rent at all.
13. Hotel Loyalty Programs
Prior to booking your hotel room, sign up for their brand of loyalty program. It's free to sign up and members are extended certain benefits, like discounted room rates, wi-fi access, and you can usually earn points toward free rooms for money spent on their brand of hotels.
14. Get A Room With Cooking Facilities
If you can, reserve a room with cooking facilities. A microwave, fridge, and a sink can help you spend less. Prepare inexpensive meals for your family rather than eat out three times a day.
15. Stay In A Hotel That Offers Free Meals
Certain hotel brands provide free breakfasts, free meals, or evening snacks. Kids younger than 12 can dine free at restaurants at Holiday Inn hotels. Many other brands provide free hot breakfast in the morning and some even provide snacks, like cookies and drinks, in the evening.
16. Buy Someone’s Unwanted Hotel Room
You may be able to purchase someone's unwanted hotel room for a deep discount at RoomerTravel.com. You'll be connected with travelers who can’t use, change, or cancel their reservations. Purchase their reservation for a steal. If you find yourself in a similar situation, sell your room using this site to someone who can use it.
17. Package Deals
By booking your hotel room, car, and plane tickets together, you have the potential to save a great deal of money. While the bundling site might not break out the pricing, you can usually expect to pay less when bundling. Do research to ensure you're getting the best price and then conveniently book your whole trip in one place.
If you love the outdoors, you can usually find camping spots for as little as $10 per night through sites like ReserveAmerica.com. These cheap campsites are usually for tent camping, but you'll have other options if you have your own camper. You may be able to camp free at sites in state parks and some other places, but you'll have to arrive early because these sites are generally not reserved and sold to the first people in line. Bring meals you can cook over a campfire and go swimming and hiking (which are usually free!).
19. Sign Up For Daily Deal Alerts
Many sites will offer a daily deal or limited time deep discount on accommodations or flights in a certain destination. You can receive emails or text alerts from sites like Groupon and LivingSocial, for discounted attractions, things to do, and eateries in the city you’ll be traveling to.
20. Reduce Cost of Attractions
Big cities often offer discounted passes for admission to multiple attractions around the city. CityPASS is a similar option available in a dozen popular American cities, like San Francisco, San Diego and Anaheim. You'll get discounted access to many popular attractions in each city. You can save tons of cash by searching for vacations tips online.
21. Find The Least Expensive Airport Parking
Airport parking fees can add up quickly. Reduce costs by using sites like AirportParkingReservations.com. This site gives you a listing of parking lots in the area around an airport, customer reviews, and the current rates which can be $5 to $10 less per day than if you used the parking lots at the airport.