With Summer coming up, and before that, Spring Break, travelling with my family has been on my mind again, so the fact that Social Moms and Alamo have asked me to write about my top ten tips for Getting Away with Great Family Travel Deals is a timely topic!
It's especially topical, since we've expanded our family this year, so trip planning takes on new dimensions!
My top ten tips for making your next family travel great are:
1. Research! The more you know about your potential destination(s) the better off you'll be - I love to read blogs, trip rating websites and explore CVB (Convention and Visitor Bureau) sites for ideas and suggestions, both for things to do and more importantly, things not to do. Other great places to look include AAA and even your local library.
2. Watch for coupons and discounts - the CVB, discount sites and even individual locations will send discount coupons if you ask for them - so ask, or find others that you can print out. Keep an eye on sites like Groupon for deals in the cities you want to visit. I also like to check sites like restaurant.com for great locations to eat out while we are away - especially now that Robyn eats like an adult!
3. Consider going as a group - many places have group rates for as few as 8 people - you can save anywhere from 10 - 50% on attractions by booking as a group. Besides, you could trade date nights with others in your party - your family hosts the kids for one night and lets the other parents have a date night and then switch the next night!
4. If your budget is inflexible, go with an all inclusive option- several cruise companies offer short family friendly cruises that include all meals and many activities - they'll also often have kids clubs so that you can have a family vacation without getting too close!
5. Plan your packing - when we take a road trip, we pack our bags communally, so that we can take just one or two bags into a hotel, instead of 5 separate bags, and save the large bags for when we get to our primary destination. This works with combining carry on bags by function and balancing your checked luggage when you fly as well!
6. You don't have to go far for it to be a vacation - consider a short weekend trip - one of our favorite destinations for a long weekend is only a short drive away... and another can be a quick overnight trip or even a day trip! If you're on a tight budget, a few well spaced out day trips can extend your trip budget.
7. If budget is really a concern, consider a staycation! Many cities are even offering locals discounts for their local attractions - last month, our local aquarium offered a half price admission for anyone within a 40 mile radius! We also had a great staycation opportunity in January through the local CVB where we bought a Be a Tourist Pass and got admission and discounts for over 20 places!
8. Make it a package! If you need to fly, rent a car and book a hotel, use a reputable travel agent or online site and book them together as a package deal!
9. Check your transportation options - taking the train or bus or even using public transit at your destination can be a fun way to spice up your trip. My husband has been taking our kids on 'transit adventures' every summer when we go to Toronto, for just a few dollars he plans a route that takes them on a bus, streetcar, subway and/or LRT to a mystery destination, adding excitement and anticipation to the trip and letting them see the city in a different way!
10. Plan ahead, but be flexible! Last minute deals can sometimes be the best way to go, especially if you stay flexible!
What are your tips for Getting Away with Great Family Travel Deals? Please share!
“I wrote this blog post while participating in the SocialMoms and Alamo blogging program, for a gift card worth $25. For more information on how you can participate, click here.”