How To Find Deals for Your Family Vacations
Spring break, summer and winter break are by far the most popular times for family vacations. Unfortunately, travel providers do their best to take advantage of the increased demand during these time periods by pumping up their prices. However, no matter what you are planning for your family vacation -- camping in a national park for the weekend or visiting Hawaii for a week -- there are some simple strategies that can help you stay on budget. In fact, creating a budget is the most important part of the puzzle -- you need to have one in order to stick to it! Before you do anything else, determine how long you want to go away and how much you have to spend.
Once you have those parameters down, let the planning begin. Keep in mind that before purchasing what you think is a good deal you must make sure that the opportunity is kid-friendly and suits your family's wishes and needs. Some questions you might consider asking yourself before booking include:
- Are there kids' menus available at the restaurants and in-room dining?
- Is there a kids' club at the resort or hotel?
- Is there in-room entertainment for kids (ie: a DVD player, video game console or movie channels)?
- Is there a pool? If so, is there a lifeguard on duty?
- Is there a games area and/or an activity room?
Here are some tips to help you search for a great experience and good value, any time of the year:
- Hotel accommodations remain one of the only areas of travel that may be considered a haggler's game. Start by asking for a lower rate -- AAA, senior, family, weekend - there are many different rates available these days. This sounds like simple advice, but you would be surprised how many people are afraid to ask. Sometimes you do not get what you don't ask for. Have no fear! Go ahead and ask. It can work like a charm.
- Call hotels and car rental companies directly for reservations and try to avoid calling their toll-free/800-numbers. In many cases, special offers are available that are not offered through the central reservation 800-numbers.
- Use coupons or voucher books. The number of discount coupon and voucher companies available both in print and on the Internet is mind-boggling. You can tear off, cut out, download, print out or merely mention a discount coupon rate, and save on just about every aspect of travel, from hotel rates to theme park tickets. One of the easiest ways to find offers like these is to Google "coupons" for the area you want to visit.
- Avoid traveling on holidays and long weekends if you can. Look for times when travel suppliers, including airlines, hotels and car rental companies, are less busy. If you don't already have this information, obtain reservation department telephone numbers online and ask an agent if there are better prices available during particular time periods, whether any promotions available, or if the property has any special offers.
- For the best deals on airfares consider lower cost airlines like Southwest Airlines, Jet Blue or Ted. Those airlines fly to many of the most popular vacation destinations in the country and their prices are often very competitive. When looking into any flight, remember that flexibility with dates and departure times is key to getting a good value. If you can stay an extra day or two, or depart a day or two earlier, it may bring down the price substantially.
No matter where you travel on your next family vacation, may it be filled with magical moments and magnificent memories.