Tips for finding family travel deals

How to save on family vacations

Family vacations tend to be spendy: park fees, entrance fees, souvenirs, meals, travel costs, accommodations. It all adds up! Before your mark the family vacation off your list for this year, though, consider these tips to help you save on your next family vacation.

Family vacation

Look locally for combo deals

Knowing what you want to do on your trip can dictate where you may want to stay within a given destination, and where you can start looking for deals. For instance, if you're planning to visit San Diego, California and want to make SeaWorld the focus of your visit, consider looking at hotels in the immediate area for the right kind of discounts for you and your family. Hotels in the Mission Bay area where SeaWorld is located often offer combination packages that include your hotel stay plus your tickets.

Sign up with Groupon

If you're planning a family vacation, sign-up with a deal-of-the day website like Groupon several months in advance. The email alerts end up in your inbox with often huge discounts on ticket prices to theme parks, tours and outdoor adventures, coupons for local restaurants or 2-for-1 pricing that can help keep your vacation in budget.

Follow local travel gurus on Twitter

There are a number of Tweeps on Twitter touting fantastic deals in their area. Within Twitter, search for travel deals and your destination and find hotel discounts, special pricing at local restaurants, great deals on tours or attractions, and you may even find tips on when to visit specific locations for free or at reduced costs. For example, a search for travel deals and California reveals special rates for a hotel in Mendocino. Begin searching your favorite destination in advance, and you might find great tips and travel specials for your vacation.

Get an iPhone travel app

A well-written travel app can end up saving you money on your trip simply by sharing tips from locals. These in-the-know travel writers can tell you when the buses run so you don't have to spring for a last minute cab, when to visit the art museum so that your admission is free, or what time of year to visit a particular location to avoid the busy season when hotel rates double. Plus, buying the app in advance (they're typically inexpensive – between $.99 and $2.99) can help you and your family familiarize yourselves with your location before you arrive.

Go off season

Family-friendly resorts like the Arizona Grand Resort and the Pointe Hilton Squaw Peak Resort in Phoenix, Arizona offer fabulous discounts to families brave enough to stand the triple-digit heat. But if you're planning to spend your days poolside or zipping down the water slide, the heat and sun are no bother and the deep discounts make it more than worth it.

Connect with the convention & visitors bureau

Depending on where you're planning your next vacation, you may want to visit the city's convention and visitors bureau or CVB. Tasked with promoting the city's best features, the CVB is a font of information and more than willing to share the details. They often offer free vacation kits that you can download or request by mail. These kits can provide you a great overview of the area, top attractions to visit, family-friendly venues, best times to visit and what to explore, see and where to eat. They also tend to have great websites with plenty of information about lodging, restaurants, attractions and some even offer discounts and coupons to visitors.

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