Author Archives: Chris Croft

Tips for Traveling With Children

The Basic Tips for Traveling With Children

tips for traveling with childrenFor most people, the only time when the thought of traveling with children wasn’t frightening was before they actually had kids of their own! Those with children often cringe at the thought of traveling (in any fashion) with their kids in tow. If you are preparing for a trip and have kids, then you are probably experiencing a little anxiety about how you are actually going to manage the logistics of traveling with the kids…without killing anyone!

Tips for Traveling With Children
Don’t worry. It is possible to have an enjoyable trip while traveling with kids. While there’s no guarantee that your children will act like the angels they are for the entire trip, following a few bask rules can help everyone be on their best behavior.

1. Take Advantage of “Sleep” Hours. When traveling with young children, you will find it very beneficial to plan the bulk of your traveling during the hours your children normally sleep. For example, if you are traveling by car and your destination is 12 hours away, consider leaving at night, around your kids’ bedtime. You and your spouse/partner can drive in shifts to ensure traveling all night is possible. Then, when the kids wake up in the morning, most of your traveling will have already been done. For plane trips, look for early flights so the kids will rest on the plane ride.

2. Pack More Than You Think You Need. This is a very important rule to remember when traveling with children. Always pack more than you think you will need. This goes for all things, but especially toys. A toy that you think will keep your child entertained for 15-20 minutes, will probably only hold their attention for 5-10 minutes. Therefore, make sure you have plenty of things to keep your child busy. Many parents actually go and purchase a few new toys before a big trip and wait until they’re in the midst of traveling before pulling them out.

3. Allow Time for “Pit” Stops. There is no such thing as a non-stop trip with kids. It doesn’t matter how short of a trip you’re going on…kids aren’t able to sit for hours on end without stopping. It’s important that you give your kids a few opportunities to get out, use the restroom and stretch their legs a little when traveling. An easy way to incorporate “pit” stops in your travel plans is to stop at normal meal times. Stopping to eat usually gives kids at least 30 minutes outside of the vehicle, which will do wonders for them!

4. Plan a Few “Fun” Things. To ensure everyone in the family has a good time, make sure you plan a few activities that your kids will find fun. Having fun activities planned specifically for the kids will not only give them something to look forward to while traveling, but it also gives you some bargaining power as well. “Fun” things can be as simple as stopping for ice-cream or as time-consuming as visiting a popular amusement park. Whatever it is, make sure it’s something the kids will enjoy!

You can get even more FREE tips for budget traveling from Globe Cheap’s free report. Grab it and find ways to save while traveling!

It’s hard to imagine any parent getting excited about traveling with their kids (the actual traveling part, anyways), but if you follow these Tips for Traveling With Children, the thought and act of traveling with your children shouldn’t be as stressful. Just remember: kids are kids. They don’t have the patience or attention span of adults; therefore, traveling with them will require a little more thought and patience on your part.

17 Ways to Save on Your Winter Vacation

ways to save on your winter vacationAs cool fall weather sets in, our thoughts turn to winter vacation. Or at least, it should, if you want to find ways to save on your winter vacation and get great deals over the winter holidays.

(Side Note: Here’s a free report with even more cheap travel tips:

Globe Cheap’s free report

Grab it and see how much you can save from your next winter getaway.)

Whether you’re dreaming of a winter skiing destination, or would rather escape to a warm paradise, these tips will help you save big on your next winter vacation.

17 Ways to Save on Your Winter Vacation

1. Make a vacation budget and stick to it

How much can you afford, exactly? Find out now, or else have a plan to have a specific amount saved up by the time winter rolls in.

2. Plan well in advance

When it comes to budget travel, time is one of your most important tools. You need time to make advance reservations and to research the best deals.

3. Shop around

Now is the time to go comparison shopping for travel options, accommodations, and major attractions.

4. Compare different modes of travel

Depending on where you’d like to go, various means of traveling will have different costs. Also consider how many people are traveling. If you’re a family, it’s usually cheaper to drive than to fly. If you’re traveling solo, you may have more options – including carpooling with friends or family.

5. Ask for discounts

Sometimes you just have to ask, to receive discounts. At the hotel or airline, for example, ask for free upgrades on your room or flight. Ask your credit card provider about travel options they offer to clients at reduced rates, such as travel insurance coverage, etc. Don’t forget to ask hotel/hostel owners and tour operators for discount coupons, such as to the nearest attractions.

6. Share a vacation rental

If you’re traveling in a group, or can find family and friends to vacation with, sharing a rental house for a flat fee can be very economical.

7. Try a hostel

Hostels go for as as low as $20/night, so they’re a budget option you should consider.

8. Cook your own meals

Eating out can be very expensive. Stay in hotels or rentals where you can cook your own meals. Or pack your meals in a cooler, if you’re traveling by car.

9. Get as many discounts as you can

If you’re a student or traveling with a student, make sure to bring student ID cards or International Student Cards. This free report from Globe Cheap lists other discounts you or a family member may be eligible for. Also explore discount passes when buying online or by certain dates.

Presidents Day Savings!

10. Borrow equipment

If you’re going skiing, bring your own or borrowed equipment rather than renting them at the resort. If you plan to go skiing often, it’s probably cheaper to buy our own equipment in the long run, instead of renting every time.

11. Explore discount packages

Hotels and travel agencies usually offer packages that include travel, accommodation, meals and entrance to various attractions. These usually cost less than if you paid for each one individually. They usually also offer discounts for early booking.

12. Travel off-season

The peak season for traveling in winter is around Christmas and New Year. If you don’t mind traveling around those dates, you’ll find everything cheaper. It’s also usually cheaper to travel on weekdays or midweek rather than on weekends.

13. Consider warm-weather destinations

Looking to escape from the cold? Consider places where the US dollar goes farther, such as small Caribbean islands, Mexico, and parts of Central America and Asia. Some destinations within the United States are also cheaper in the cold season.

14. Don’t touch the minibar

Bring everything you need so you won’t have to open the water bottle in the hotel, or get snacks from the minibar. You’ll pay ridiculous prices for these! Some hotels also charge extra if you request additional towels and toothbrushes. If you must, buy extra supplies at the nearest grocery store, not from the hotel. And don’t forget to pack those over-the-counter medications you usually use!

15. Stay out of the way

Consider staying a little farther from major attractions. You’ll save tons on accommodation – as long as you won’t pay through the nose for public transportation or parking.

16. Camp out

If you’re going to a warm destination, plan to go camping. It’s a very cheap traveling alternative. If you’re driving, find the cheapest places to get gas.

17. Look for free attractions

Entrance fees to tourist attractions can also add up very quickly. Do some research to find free attractions at your destination. These could include malls, national parks and historic streets or towns. Find out when museums are open to the public for free.

More Ways to Save on Your Winter Vacation

You can get even more FREE tips for budget traveling from  Globe Cheap’s free report.  Grab it and find more ways to save on your winter vacation.

 

How To Plan A Weekend Getaway

820x480xhorseback-riding-beach-820x480.jpg.pagespeed.ic_.8hPeS_cLiT8lChRKCgv6If you are seeking to get away and want to know how to plan a weekend getaway, you need to hone in on your destination and your desires. Do you want to be full of activity and run every minute that you are away? Or, do you want to rest and relax the entire time? Maybe you wish to do a little bit of both – rest and relax with a little excitement in between.

Once you know what you want to do, then it is time to get busy and seek out the best weekend getaway package that you can find. There are certain things you need to look for in your weekend getaway package in order to get the most out of your weekend experience.


Last-Minute Weekend Getaway Sale!

Price Point

When you are booking a weekend package, it is essential that you shop around. Do an extensive compare and contrast way before the scheduled weekend is to happen. In this way, you ensure that you have done enough research to get the most bang for your buck.

Look for packages that include many benefits such as:

  • Half price tickets to shows
  • Free bottle of wine
  • Discount coupon to local eateries
  • Group rates on sights such as museums and tourist spots
  • Something for free – whether it be free continental breakfast or a free haircut at the hotel salon

Don’t be afraid to point out to competitors what other packages are offering to see if they are willing to up the ante. Also, let travel agents know that this is your first time using their service and that you expect them to make you a repeat customer by giving you the best discounts and freebies.

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All-Inclusive

If you are going to get away for the weekend, look to see if your hotel or resort is all-inclusive. Sometimes an all-inclusive resort will offer you one set price for meals, drinks, and lodging.

On some occasions, these types of lodging can save you some money.

Reputation and Customer Service

If you are booking with a travel agency for the first time, make sure to ask friends, family, and colleagues if they have ever used this agency or service before so that they can offer input.

Also, feel free to ask as many questions as you need to of the customer service agents that work for the company putting together your potential package. Chances are that if your customer service questions are not met satisfactorily, you will not have a good travel experience either.

If you find a package deal from an airline, agency, or online business, make sure you see if they offer variety, discounts, customer service, and have a good reputation to back them up, too.

So don’t wait for your annual vacation to take a trip.  Once you know how to plan a weekend getaway try taking several weekend trips every year.  It’s a great affordable way to enjoy traveling.

Best Weekend Getaways In The US – Three Awesome Spots

If you are fortunate enough to live in or near the United States, then a weekend getaway is a wonderful idea. There are quite a few popular weekend destinations, as well as some lesser known choices. Off-the-beaten path weekend trips, as well as hustling bustling city trips await you in some of the best weekend getaways in the US.

You can find anything and everything from excitement to peace and quiet and any range in between when you travel throughout the US for a weekend escape.

Las Vegas, Nevada

BestofVegas. Best Shows. Best Hotels. Best Prices.

best weekend getaways in the us-venetianIf you are in the mood for the most excitement that you can handle, than a trip to Las Vegas, Nevada is the place for you. The excitement and adventure never ends here.

There is an exciting array of activities for you in Las Vegas. How about the Venetian Grand Casino and canal?

Besides being a casino, having the ultimate in nightlife and entertainment, the Venetian offers a taste of Italy right in Las Vegas. They offer gondola rides, high fashion, and shop-until-you-drop opportunities and a luxurious spa.

Staying in the Venetian for a weekend is more than enough to satisfy all of your needs. You can visit a museum, eat in a trendy restaurant, or enjoy the nightclub scene.

Miami Beach, Florida

best weekend getaways in the us-south-beachIf your scene is combining excitement with beautiful beaches, then Miami Beach in Florida is the place to go for you. There you can enjoy the many activities of nightlife and still hit up the sand for some rest and relaxation.

The beautiful thing about Miami Beach is that the beaches are sugar white and soft, making you feel like you are actually in another country than the USA.

Upscale spas, renowned shopping, swimming, surfing, kayaking, nightclubs, and entertainment are all part of what makes Miami exciting and relaxing at the same time.

Washington, DC

best weekend getaways in the us-washington-dcWashington, DC is a must-see destination for your weekend getaway in the USA. There is so much history steeped there, it may not be possible to see it all in just one weekend – but it is a great place to start.

There you can visit famous historic sites such as the Lincoln Memorial, the Capitol, the White House, Ford’s Theatre, and the National Air and Space Museum, just to name a mere few of the attractions that await you.

The Smithsonian Institute, the Washington Monument, the National Gallery of Art, and the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts do not even come close to an end of what there is to see and do over a weekend in Washington, DC.

These are just three of the best weekend getaways in the US.  You will find that there is plenty to enjoy right here in the good old USA.

Get Rejuvenated with a Weekend Getaway

There are so many pills, diets, and fads that claim to rejuvenate your mind, but nothing beats a good old-fashioned weekend getaway. A weekend getaway does not have to be expensive or far away; it can be something as simple as staying in an old refurbished barn and packing a picnic lunch or visiting a relative.

There are so many ways to take a weekend getaway.



Visiting Family

If you are fortunate enough to be able to go home and visit your family, then how about taking a weekend trip to do just that? Some individuals do not have the opportunity to go back home, so if you do, take advantage of that fact.Family homes where you grew up in are the most rejuvenating place you can go. The stories you can share with other family members and the old memories you can recreate are priceless. As well as that, you can create new memories on your family weekend getaway.

When you leave your family home, chances are you will feel refreshed and ready to face reality once again.

 

Spa Weekend Getaways

wellness-654422_1280You may visit a spa near your home and get a massage and even a facial with a manicure and pedicure; however, you return home to the same old scene.A spa weekend getaway is designed with just that in mind – the feeling of getting away from it all. When you enter the world of spa treatments, you can choose an array of treatments that suit your needs.

You may be in sore need of a good massage or a simple walk through nature, or both. Some time on the mat doing yoga may be just the thing the doctor ordered.

 

Benefits to Going Away for the Weekend
There are many benefits to going away for the weekend, wherever you do. Here are some examples:
  • Recharge
  • Rejuvenate
  •  Unwind
  • Relax
  • Refresh
  • Gain clarity
  • Attain health goals
  •  Learn a new skill
  • Go on an adventure
  • Meet new people
  • Try something new
Sometimes weekend getaways are not about relaxing at all. Sometimes they are about trying something adventurous such as white water rafting, surfing, skiing, or hiking. Hot air balloon rides, horseback riding, and mountain biking along with rock climbing may be the very thing you need to recharge your batteries, your mind, and your body.

No matter how you look at it, getting away for the weekend is a wonderful tool to refresh, recharge, and rejuvenate your body, soul, and mind. Moreover, it does not really matter what you do while you are away. Weekend getaways are like medicine for the soul.

How to Get a Refund on a Plane Ticket

You’ve planned your trip to the last detail, booking hotels and waiting until the exact moment that airfare was lowest to book.  Then the unexpected comes up and you must change your plans.  If this is the case you may find yourself stuck with an airline ticket that you can’t use.  You probably booked online and got the cheapest fare, which is usually non-refundable.  Is there anything you can do? Would you know how to get a refund on a plane ticket?  You probably won’t get a full refund (since it is non-refundable), but there still may be some ways to recoup some of your costs.

The 24 hour rule
If it has been less than 24 hours since you booked you are in luck.  The U.S. Department of Transportation regulations require that, as long as you’ve booked a non-refundable ticket 7 days ahead of your flight, you’re entitled to hold your reservation and the fare and change or cancel your reservation within 24 hours of booking, without paying a cancellation fee.  You can either cancel the reservation or change it within that window.  If you decide to change it you will have to pay the fare difference, but there is no penalty.

Rule 260 – The ‘Involuntary Refund’
There is a rule in airline contracts of carriage that states if the airline refuses to carry you for any reason, or if your flight is delayed more than a designated length of time, or if your flight is canceled, you can apply for a full refund.  This applied even for non-refundable tickets.  So if you bought a ticket and you have passed the 24 hour rule limit you can still avoid the cancel/change fees if something happens to your flight like being canceled or severely delayed.  You still have to check in for your flight, but it may be worth your time to show up at the airport and hope something happens.

Change of Schedule
You can also get a refund if there’s a significant schedule change before your departure.  For example, if your flight is moved from 10 a.m. to 7 a.m., or they change the layover time or cause you to have an overnight stay.  It could even apply on a change from non-stop to connecting flight. Just remember that the airline man not notify you it there is a qualifying change, so it would be in your best interests to check the flight schedule to see if there are any changes.  If there have, call the airline and tell the the change is not good for you.  Just make sure the change is significant as just a few minutes does not qualify.

If all else fails, review your airline’s policy on ticket exchanges.  You may not get a full refund but you may be able to get a voucher for another ticket though you will probably pay an exchange fee.  Also, if your reason for needing a refund is an emergency, check with your airline’s website or representative.  If you have to change plans due to illness or death in the family the airline may have more lax rules on exchanges. Just make sure you can provide documentation to prove the emergency.

Of course, if you are worried about losing your money on a ticket you can’t use you can always buy a refundable ticket or make sure you buy travel insurance.  You will pay more for the ticket or extra for the insurance but it will give you peace of mind if you are risk-averse.

Theme Parks in the Southeast – Georgia

2941551448_b3ea80442f_qThe southeastern United States has a rich heritage of theme parks in practically every state. Found in these parks are some of the best roller coasters in the world, water parks where you can get as wet as you please, and parks where families can just enjoy a day together.

Today we begin our tour of theme parks in the Southeast by looking at four amusement parks in the state of Georgia.  In case you are driving down from the north, I have listed these starting from north with the first one being near the Tennessee border to the last one being near the Florida border as they are all along Interstate 75. I will leave it to the reader to decide which one are best.  I am sure you will find something that will provide days of thrills and adventures for your whole family.

Lake Winnepesaukah

This is a traditional amusement park that has lots of Southern charm.  It is located on the border of Georgia and Tennessee.  It is just a few miles from Chattanooga and is usually referred to as being in that city, though it is technically in Georgia.

Lake Winnepesaukah or Lake Winnie surrounds the lake from which it gets its name.  This is an old park, in fact it has been in operation since 1925.  Families will enjoy it because of it large selection of family friendly rides.  You will find the classic amusement rides in the park as well as some thrill rides which have been added more recently.

cannonball1Attractions include the Cannon Ball wooden coaster, a boat ride (with a drop) which has been there since 1926 and a 1916 PTC antique carousel.  One of the latest attractions is a 14-story freefall ride.  There are also bumper cars, kiddie coasters, train rides as well as some of the standard attractions.

Prices for 2015 are $33.95 adults one day pass, $16.95 children (ages 1 and 2) and seniors (55 and older).  The price includes unlimited rides and access to both Lake Winnie and the water park.

Six Flags Over Georgia

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Six Flags is the largest regional theme park in the Southeast, featuring 11 heart-pounding coasters and the all-new Hurricane Harbor water park which is included with park admission.  It is located on 230 acres just west of Atlanta.  The park has over 40 rides and attractions with coasters such as Goliath, Superman, Ultimate Flight, Batman The Ride, The Georgia Cyclone and a stand-up freefall tower called Acrophobia.  There are also a ton of things to do with the smaller kids, there are shows to see and they also have over 100 acres of landscaped gardens.

So if you are looking for the extreme roller coaster thrills or want to take the little ones, you will find something at Six Flags.  The great shows and great rides have kept four generations of families returning year after year to this world-class theme park.

Prices for 2015 are $61.99 for adults, $41.99 for children under 48″, children 2 and under are free.

Save money on the 5 best attractions in Atlanta with Atlanta CityPASS

Fun Junction

Roller-coaster-200x300Fun Junction (formerly known as Dixieland Fun Park) is a smaller amusement park located in Fayetteville just south of Atlanta.  It was established in 1990 and was originally just a fun center but it has grown to be the third largest amusement park in Georgia.
According to their website, Fun Junction offers over two dozen family attractions, 3 miniature golf courses and go kart tracks,  The major rides are the Screaming Eagle coaster, the Drop Zone, and the Giant Swing.

This park is different from the others as you purchase individual tickets for rides and attractions.  Tickets sell for $1 each and rides can cost anywhere from 2 to 8 tickets each.

There is a $5 parking fee but you do get 5 ride tickets with your parking pass.

Wild Adventures

lg frame boomerangJust before you leave the state, located in a more rural area, you will find Wild Adventures.  Wild Adventures is near Valdosta, Georgia and just a few miles from the Florida line.  However, don’t let the rural setting fool you,  This park which began in 1996 as a small petting zoo has grown to become on of the Top 50 theme parks in North America.

Wild Adventures has one of the largest collection of rides of any amusement park in the South.  There are eight roller coasters and seven water rides,  It is home to hundreds of exotic animals and there are live concerts and seasonal festivals.  The Splash Island Water Park is included and it has attractions such as a 20,000 square-foot wave pool, lazy river, speed slides, tube slides, children’s play area and the Wahee Cyclone,a five-story multiple rider tube slide.

Daily Ticket prices for 2015 are $46 for adults and $41 for children ages 3-9 and guests 55 years of age or older.

Fun Things to do in Florida With the Kids – LEGOLAND

d54b64731cc0478483f8b7973f08632dIf you are planning a vacation in Florida with the kids you are probably either thinking about Disney or the beach.  But I want to mention another newer fun place that I am sure you have heard of: LEGOLAND.

Maybe you have already thought about LEGOLAND (and maybe you saw my earlier post where I gave you a video about it) and were wondering what age kids would enjoy this park.  Well, the LEGO group created this theme park with children in mind.  They seem to have specifically targeted the 2 to 12 age group.  So there will be a lot of rides, shows, restaurants and large gardens for them to explore.  However, this doesn’t mean you can’t bring an older child along.  There are several offerings available for each age group that you might want to check before making your plans.

For the youngest crowd –  LEGOLAND has Duplo Village.  Here the toddlers can put out fires like a fireman, fly a plane and ride a train, and climb and slide all over the Duplo Farm.  In addition, there is an indoor play area and a water playground outside.  There is also Fun Town which offers a double-decker carousel.

If you have tweeners – LEGOLAND Florida has something called Heartlake City that is based on LEGO friends.  There are interactive shows to enjoy, a place called Stephanie’s Newsroom (which is great for photos), Mia’s Riding Adventure which is a circular-motion ride, and Heartlake Mall where, naturally, you can purchase all sorts of LEGO products.  They may also enjoy the LEGO World of Chima, which is presented by Cartoon Network.  It features a water ride and a 4D movie experience.

For the teenagers – LEGOLAND may or may not be for them, but all is not lost.  There is a water park which has features like water slides, wave pools, and lazy rivers to float down.  They also have cabanas available for rental.

LEGOLAND Florida!Check out LEGOLAND Discounts!
So if you are looking for fun things to do in Florida with the kids don’t be afraid to bring the whole family to LEGOLAND.  It is a great way to spend a day or two and you are still close to beaches and other large attractions in the state.  LEGOLAND also has it’s own hotel and you can get early entrance to the park by staying there.

This article originally appeared in family vacation critic.

How to Plan a Beach Trip

It is summer time and many of us think that summer is not complete without at least one trip to the beach.  Of course, most of us don’t have a clue about how to plan a beach trip successfully.  So we wind up getting sunburned, rained on, hungry, thirsty, spend too much… Should I go on?


So it doesn’t matter if you have rented a condo at the beach or you are more than an hour from it, planning ahead can help you have a more relaxed day so you can enjoy your time rather than spend it worrying.

Here are seven tips compiled from around the web and from personal experience.  Hope these can help you have fun on your beach day.

Check out the weather forecast
You don’t want a rain out on your beach day, and if it is too cool you could be miserable.  See what the rain chances are.  If you are going to a place like Florida then be prepared for afternoon thunderstorms, get there early.  If it looks bad all day then reschedule.

Prepare for the sun
Make sure you have sunblock and be generous with it.  Put it on before you leave the house.  Put it on again when you arrive.  Put it on when you or your kids come out of the water.  Make sure you have sunglasses to protect your eyes.  A hat is also a good idea to protect your head.  A beach umbrella can also help. A sunburn will make you tired and sore, and the long term effects are bad. So please protect yourself and don’t forget about the kids.

Be comfortable
If you are making a day of it you will need to stay as comfortable as possible.  So to avoid being miserable remember to bring along the essentials such as towels, blankets, umbrellas and beach chairs.  Make sure you have two towels per person- one to lie on and one to dry off with.  Blankets are even better to lie on as they are usually larger and thicker.  The ultimate comfort is a beach chair or even a chaise lounge (don’t forget the umbrella).  Many people bring a book to read or their own music to listen to.

Dress properly
Yes, you know you need a swimsuit but that is not all.  You can wear your swimsuit under comfortable clothing like a tee shirt and shorts, a beach coverup or a sundress.  Make sure you have something extra in case everything gets wet and and it starts getting cooler.  Flips-flops or sandals are usually the footwear of choice.  Also make sure whatever you wear into the water (swimsuit, shorts, shirt, etc.) is made of material that dries quickly.  And here is a little tip: extra clothes make a nice pillow!

Bring fun stuff
This is extra important if you have kids, but it can also help your enjoyment.  Things like Frisbees, volleyballs, footballs can keep the whole family entertained and are beach traditions.  Things like skim  boards or surfboards can also be fun.  Just remember to keep an eye on the kids as they may get too daring.  Smaller kids love just a pail and shovel to dig in the sand or to pick up shells.  Oh, and don’t forget to build a sandcastle.

Pack water and snacks
It is easy to get dehydrated in the sun so make sure you have plenty of water.  It is recommended that you have 1/2 gallon of cold water per person.  So bring a cooler with ice and keep the water in it.  Also use the cooler for pre-made sandwiches and fresh fruit, which also helps with hydration.  Carry snacks such as chips and pretzels, and avoid the candy.  Bring garbage bags for your trash and put your trash in it immediately.  You don’t want to attract the birds (seagulls can be quite a nuisance) and you certainly don’t want them hanging around..

Rest when you get home
A day in the sun can sap your energy.  Don’t plan anything big after you get home or back to you rental.  A nice calm dinner and off to bed early is the best medicine to end the day.

 

How to Save Money on a Road Trip

family road trip in car with luggage rack clipart

Road Trip!

Most of my trips these days have been through the air.  But I still like a good road trip every now and then, and I still remember the road trips we used to take when I was younger.  In fact, I did not fly until I was in my late 20’s.  So some of my fondest vacation memories were created from the back seat of a Ford.

So if you are planning on a road trip soon, maybe you are doing it for the fun of it or maybe it is because air travel can get expensive with a family.  Either way, I thought that these tips on saving money on a cross-country road trip would come in handy.  By using a little planning and common sense you can get great value for your money since this could still be a big expense.

So here are four tips that I have used to save money while traveling, check them out and let me know if you have used any of them.

  1. Plan Your Accommodations Wisely.
    Do you like to camp?  You can usually save a lot of money at campgrounds as opposed to hotels.  Still want to stay at a hotel?  Use a property that you have travel or reward points with when you book.  Even if you don’t have the points for discounts yet you will be building for that future trip.  Another way you can save on accommodations is to go through a cash back site such as Dubli.  We saved around $200 on a week stay in Las Vegas this year.
  2. Watch Your Speed.
    One of the fastest way to eat up the gasoline in your tank is to drive fast.  You would be surprised at how much difference there is between 65 mph and 75 mph.  And you don’t save that much time with the extra speed.  And we all know that gasoline is one of the major expenses on a road trip.  Also, keeping your car well-tuned can help save gas and make things run more smoothly.
  3. Have a Picnic.
    Another big expense on road trips is food.  Eating at restaurants can add up quickly, especially with a large family.  Why not bring a cooler, fill it with drinks, snacks, and sandwich fixings and stop at a roadside table  It can be fun and save money at the same time.
  4. Check Out the Discounts.
    You can almost always find discount booklets at hotels and restaurants on the road.  You should never have to pay full price for an attraction.  Another good source of discounts are sites like Best of Orlando, which offers online discounts specific to a given city.  Other discount sites include Groupon and Living Social, just make sure you sign up for the cities you will be visiting so you can receive the discounts.

So here are just a few tips on how to save money on a road trip.  While I am sure there are many more ways you can find to save while taking a road trip, these have worked well for us.

How do you save money on your road trip?

This article originally appeared on MoneyNing.com.

5 Tips for Fun Family Vacations on a Budget

Some of the fondest memories I have while growing up was of the times we took our family vacations.  It seems like in those days it didn’t cost nearly as much to travel and, even though we stayed in mostly budget hotels and ate a lot of fast food and sandwiches, we still had loads of fun.

trampoline-241899_1280So maybe today you are wanting to create these memories for your family but can’t find the funds to do so.  Everyday life gets in the way, kids expenses, house repairs, etc., and the short vacation seems out of reach.  But don’t let these things take away potential family memories that will last forever.  Here are some tips originally posted in Moneyning.com which can help you have your fun family vacations on a budget, and some of these will even become part of the memories themselves!

  1. Consider group travel.  Have you thought about vacationing with another family (that enjoy spending time with)?  You can find that splitting the cost of a cabin or vacation home can many times save over the cost of two hotel room, and you can usually find great, roomy accommodations.
  2. Don’t travel during the peak season.  Most people travel during the summer because of kids being out of school and the weather being warmer.  But if you travel during the off-season you can get much more bang for your buck.  Resorts will often give off-season discounts, cruises are much cheaper, and many time you can find travel incentives.
  3. Pack your lunch.  One of the biggest expenses when traveling is the cost of eating out, especially if you have a larger family.  If your kids are like mine they can pack away the food.  One thing we have done is to bring a cooler along.  When we got to our destination one of the first things we did was hit the local grocery store to get snacks and sandwich materials.  We found we could use this to offset at least one meal a day (sometimes two if we had a light breakfast).  This always resulted in a huge savings which can be used to do other things or help stay within the budget.
  4. Order delivery.  Our kids loved pizza and we always had pizza night at least once a week..  Why not have pizza delivered to you hotel room.  Our kids actually preferred that since they could stay around the hotel without having to stop what they were doing to get dressed to go out.
  5. Find out what the local do.  Usually the people who live in the area are glad to share where the best places are to eat and visit.  They may even be able to clue you in to specials and discounts that you could find otherwise.  So strike up a conversation with the desk clerks, waiters, bartenders, and bellhops.  Be friendly and usually people will be friendly in return.

These are just on few tip you can try if you are vacationing on a budget.  Please let me know if you have other tips or what you think of these.

The original article was posted in Moneyning and can be read here.

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