Travel season is finally upon us. Spring is here, which means spring break is taking over many family households. Before we know it, it will be time to plan summer vacations as well. While many frugal travel writers have their favorite tips and tricks for stretching your vacation budget, I thought it would be great to share some of mine. Here are some simple ways to save on travel this spring and summer.
Beware of your Browser
You can find some really great deals for flights online. If you book flights 30 to 90 days before your vacation, prices may just be right for your budget. But, if you’re like me, you love to check in every Sunday (the NEW best day to purchase airline tickets) to see if prices have changed. Guess what? The cookies on your computer are onto you. Some say to clear your cache to get rid of those pesky cookies, but I’ve found that they still linger and give me prices that are the same, or more, than the prices I checked weeks before. Tip: change your browser. If you surf the web with safari, check flight prices using Chrome or Firefox.
Create your own Staycation Deal
Staycations are all the rage with frugal and financially savvy families now. It’s a great way to explore nearby cities and states, without spending an insane amount of money. One great tip is to visit the hotel or bed and breakfast you plan on utilizing and asking the manager or owner for a discount. Face to face deal-making almost always trumps a phone call. We have a few great hotels just a few towns from us. There are in a nearby college town and are 4 and 5 star hotels. I’ve been able to get deals for 50% off a hotel stay, just by visiting the manager in person and telling them about our staycation plans. If they can’t give you a deep discount, they’ll at least be able to upgrade you to available suites, give you a few extra days on your stay for no charge, or free tickets to local event and attractions. That personal touch (and flashy smile) can help you save more than you’d think.
Road Trip with a Rental
This has to be my favorite tip. We are a road-trip loving family, but our constant traveling to see the in-laws or visit Walt Disney World can put a hurting on our used car. During our last trip to Disney, we decided to rent a car instead of putting mileage on our own car. Here’s the deal with renting a car: look for packages that offer unlimited mileage, or at least a very low price per mile. Also, make sure that rental cars are covered under your car insurance. This will save you money since you won’t have to buy the rental company’s insurance. Also, look for local rental businesses. While I do love national chains, they tend to not offer unlimited mileage, or large cars and SUVs at decent prices. We ended up going with a local rental company and paid 500 dollars to rent a full sized car for 7 days. If we spent money on flights, it would have been almost 2000 dollars.
Do you have any frugal ways to save on vacations or spring and summer travel? Stop by the Traveling Moms twitter chat about frugal family travel on Monday, April 7th at 9pmEST. We’ll be sharing our favorite tips and having a blast. Hope to see you there!