How to get travel deals on your next vacation.

by | For Parents, Stay

Thinking of taking a vacation with the kids but worried about the cost? The flight, accommodations, car rental, things to do… they all add up. Well, we’re here to tell you, don’t be worried! Travelling with your family is worth it and with our tips, you can plan an amazing vacation.without breaking the bank! Here are our top money-saving travel tips that will get you great deals on your vacation.

 

Be flexible on when you go

 

Unless you have a job that has specific times for vacation, like a teacher or seasonal worker, being flexible with your vacation days is the first way that you will save. 

Travelling during the off-season will get you the best deal for the best price. So while you may really want to visit the Colosseum in Rome during the summer, it may be better to see it during the spring when it isn’t so busy, and when the costs are lower. 

Being flexible on when you leave for vacation has many perks. Off-season travel means ticket prices are lower, hotels give additional incentives (pay two nights and get the third free), and if you plan on visiting a theme park (hello, Disney!), or popular tourist destination, the line queues are shorter and less busy! 

 Speaking of lines, travelling during the week will also help you save both time and money. Tuesdays and Wednesdays are usually the most inexpensive days to fly and there are typically fewer people at the airport. This is why airlines have lower fares those days – to encourage people to travel! 

   

Be flexible on the destination

 

  Being picky is not fun – just think of your toddler’s face when you try to get him to eat his dinner! If you’re in the mood to travel but aren’t too picky about where you go, you can really find some great travel deals. Focusing on a specific destination can result in a higher cost for your vacation meaning less money for other things. When travelling with kids, this becomes important, especially if you are looking for something all-inclusive. 

Perhaps you really want to go toMexic but a deal for the Dominican Republic pops up that is too good to give up. Go for it! While all-inclusive resorts are not the same everywhere, you can be certain that most resorts that offer specific amenities for children, like a kids-club, will be pretty similar. 

 Fun in the sun not your family’s thing? Perhaps you like old-city charm and a bit of history and are thinking of visiting Europe. A quick Google search will show you cities that are generally going to be pretty expensive (Bonjour, Paris!). Now, what if you could still see these great cities while spending less? Here’s where flexibility is key. Seeing great cities doesn’t mean you have to stay in them. 

Planning our family vacation to Italy meant using apps like Airbnb and Tripadvisor that allowed us to see accommodations on a map. The further away from the city center, the less expensive accommodations became. If you are renting a car anyway (which we always suggest while travelling with kids), you can easily stay a bit further out of the main hub of the city and drive in when you want to visit. 

The same theory goes for flights. Apps like Skyscanner let you see the costs of flights in and out of countries from different cities on their amazing (and legible!) map. Sometimes it’s worth flying into one city that it less expensive and renting a car for the rest of the trip, especially if you’re going to be using it for the whole vacation. 

While it can take more time, sometimes the extra time is worth saving on the cost per person for the flight. If you’re a family of 4 and save $100/person for the flight, that’s $400 that can be used on other travel related expenses! 

 

Plan early (or last minute!)

 

The early bird gets the worm (well at least that’s what those birds say). So, if you want to go somewhere specific make sure to book way in advance to get travel deals. This will definitely increase your chance of getting the best price. We made the mistake of seeing fantastic prices on airfare to Italy for around $500, only to book 3 months later for $700! If you know where you want to go and when, book quickly. 

In fact, focusing and planning a detailed vacation has many benefits. You can get a great price and begin to book other travel needs, like accommodations, car rentals and even tickets to any excursions you want to go on. Travel companies provide incentives to early bookings to guarantee payment as early as possible. 

On the other hand, if you are just looking for a getaway and don’t have a specific destination in mind, booking last minute can get you a great deal. Airlines dont want to have empty seats because it means they would be losing money. So, take advantage of this and wait and see what pops up. 

Spontaneous travel is always thrilling. There is something about the unknown that always makes an adventure exciting. Obviously, smaller families usually benefit from this money-saving approach. Larger families may not find the right number of last minute tickets. 

Final verdict? If your family size is closer to the Brady Bunch and less like the Gilmore Girls, don’t rely on last minute tickets. This is a supply and demand game. Last minute travel is great for getting deals on tickets that are still available on a specific flight. So if you are traveling with a large family we don’t suggest this route. There is no guarantee there will be last minute tickets to book and as a result, it can be very expensive. 

 

Travel from an alternative airport

 

The bigger the airport, the more flights going in and out of it, the cheaper tickets, right? Wrong! Neighbouring airports, sometimes within an hour or so from one another,  may have different prices. For example, Fort Lauderdale airport (FLL) is a smaller airport than Miami airport (MIA) but their prices are sometimes cheaper. 

When we went to South Florida, our Airbnb was in Miami, but we flew into Fort Lauderdale at a cost saving of around $60/person. While that may not seem like a lot, we used the $180 savings to rent a car (that we needed for the trip anyway) and had some money to spare for extra excursions, like visiting Zoo Miami and the Miami Children’s Museum

If you are going to be renting a car or buying a train pass for your travels, it may be worth it to fly into the less-expensive airport and use your other mode of transportation to get to your intended destination. 

Keeping this in mind, always consider travel plans after landing, especially if travelling with kids. Depending on your final destination you may want to pay a bit more on a more conveniently located airport. Inconvenience, aggravation, stress, and travel time are a few issues you may face, so check that the savings are worth your time. 

  

Keep your searches secret in incognito mode

 

 Going on the internet is like going to a jewelry store. You’re always being watched! Websites are constantly following your search activity through the use of cookies in order to tailor search results. While this good news sometimes, it can work against you, especially if you are trying to book for travel. 

For example, let’s say you want to book a trip to Italy and begin a basic search for travel deals. Travel sites you visit are monitoring your preferences and will push products and services related to your destination. Why is this a problem? The problem comes when travel sites begin to inflate the prices based on your interest. 

Don’t believe me? Try searching for a trip to Rome today and make note of the price. Keep on searching for those prices and you’re going to begin to see some increase in price the more you look into it. Travel companies use this as a scare tactic to push you into purchasing the flight for fear of paying a higher fare. 

How can you avoid this? The easiest method is using incognito mode or private browsing. It hides your activity from travel websites and provides unaltered search results and ticket prices. 

Another way to make sure that travel websites are not altering results is by using a Virtual Private Network (VPN). Both methods hide your internet activity and combining both techniques may provide the best results. 

 

 Search for travel deals and excursions using travel search engines

 

The time spent on searching for deals is the most time consuming and exhausting part of the planning phase. It’s also the way you are going to save the most money so search, search, search!  Don’t leave any stone unturned. 

Although most travel sites have very similar pricing, there are occasions where you may find a travel deal. Here is a list of websites to begin your search when looking for airfare, accommodations and hotels, excursions, and things to do. 

Use the best flight and accommodation search engines 

Get good deals on excursions and attractions 

Use a good travel credit card

 

If you’re like me, you are constantly using your credit card to pay for things – seriously, does anyone use cash anymore? So, if your plastic card gets more mileage than your vehicle, why not use one that lets you collect travel points at the same time. 

Travel credit cards are a must for any avid traveller. They come with many perks such as insurance, competitive currency exchange rates, and travel points that can be used for flights, hotels and other travel-related expenses. We use the Capital One Venture card which allows us to collect points on everyday purchases, as well as purchases while traveling. Signing up gives you 50,000 points which can be used as $500 for travel. 

 

Go on a tour or hire a tour guide

 

You may be shaking your head thinking about paying someone to show you around when you have two perfectly good feet and a sturdy stroller. While this may be true, traveling with kids can be a bit chaotic and having a well-connected tour guide can, in fact, save you money. We rarely consider the time we spend on waiting in lines for excursions and how much that costs. 

Hiring a tour guide often saves you a lot of time – and time is money! In most cases, tour guides are experts and know the ins and outs of a particular area. They can get you exclusive access to particular sights and know people at interesting places. They can also tell you which places to eat that are great for catering to kids and aren’t as expensive as other touristy destinations. 

 

Final Advice: Read the fine print!

 

The final piece of advice is to make sure you read the fine print. Some websites do not disclose the entire price when looking at travel options. Taxes, cleaning fees, extra baggage fees, fuel surcharges, and convenience fees can be hidden. Not over packing can save you money because some airlines don’t include lugage in the price. Make sure you read the fine print and proceed all the way to just before checkout in order to get the true price. You may think you’re getting a great deal and then realize that you’re really not. 

Overall, time spent researching and educating yourself will ultimately get you the best deal and allow for a wonderful trip with your family. 

 

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