Family Vacations - Ways To Save on Travel

Pick an off-season destination: Hotels at many destinations have two sets of prices: low season and high season. For example, the Caribbean Islands is popular in the winter, but much more affordable in the summer. Resorts tend to charge the highest prices when they know that most people want to go, it’s smarter and less crowded to plan your trip when visitors will be at a minimum. Weekends can also be more expensive, so schedule your trip during the week if possible.

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Consider staying at a timeshare property: There are two ways timeshare properties can translate into ultra-affordable getaways. First, timeshare owners rent out extra weeks at reasonable prices, often cheaper than a hotel for a week. Search Web sites for the best deals including and . Second, timeshare salespeople will often offer a free weekend in exchange for sitting through a 90 minute sales pitch.

Do your research: There are many ways to find great vacation deals. Scan the travel section of the Sunday newspaper to find a variety of travel bargains, browse Web sites such as or and always call several competing hotels to get the best rate possible. and are great places to search for an assortment of vacation rental homes.

Maximize your frequent flyer miles: If you are not already a member of a frequent-flyer program, sign up for one now! Many credit cards will link you to a program that can save you hundreds of dollars on a vacation. You can collect miles through air travel, car rental agencies, hotels, long-distance phone companies, and a variety of retailers. The miles you collect not only earn you free airline tickets, but can translate into deals at hotels and car rental agencies as well.

Have a flexible travel date: The earlier you make your reservations, the more likely you are to get a great deal. Rental cars, lessons, equipment rentals--all these things can, and should, be reserved as far in advance for the lowest prices. However, if you are flexible with your travel dates and can leave at the last minute, you can often get a better deal if you book in advance.

Save on taxi fare: Comparison shop by quickly scanning a few waiting taxis for their posted per-mile rate. If you really want to pinch pennies, considering sharing the ride with someone else. Upon entering the cab, make sure the driver hasn't left any time on the meter, if he has, ask him to turn it to zero.

Use your AAA or AARP membership: If you’re a member of AAA or AARP, you can save a bundle on your vacation. Both organizations have negotiated discounts at thousands of hotels, car rental agencies and cruise lines. They offer special packages throughout the year, so keep your eye out for the places you want to visit.

Keep car rental costs low: Most car-rental agencies charge daily rates in 24-hour increments, so extra hours can add up fast. If you rent a car at 4 pm, try to return it by 4 pm on the drop-off day. Unless you're traveling with a large group, reserve a smaller car than you would usually request. Many agencies usually have a surplus of mid-size and larger vehicles, which means you may be able to receive a free upgrade upon arrival. Also, don't automatically sign up for the insurance plan, as many personal auto insurance policies will cover you in a rental. If you're traveling to a major city and your schedule is somewhat flexible, you may want to take a shuttle van or public transportation to your hotel and rent your car once you've reached your destination. By doing so you can avoid any airport surcharges and may even secure a lower rental rate.

Save along the way: Plan to picnic for lunch and fix breakfast in your hotel room. If there's a mini-bar, empty the non-perishables to store milk and juice. Alternate expensive attractions with those that are free—visit a national park, relax at the beach, window shop or visit local points of interest. And last, but not least, establish your budget before you leave home and stick to it.












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