So, my first tip is to plan in advance! Whenever I find an event I'd like to attend, or a place I'd like to visit, I get all my facts listed before bringing it up to the rest of the family. While this may not sound like an obvious deal-getting tip, it really does help. When I actually take the time to sit down and plan out the how, when, why, where, what, etc. I get an idea of how much, etc. I always check into lodging options nearby, and get a good idea of how much the lodging and food will cost, as well as the price of the actual event/site to visit.
Secondly, I would encourage people to make reservations well in advance. Many, many times we have saved BIG $$$ by reserving our hotel rooms several months early, or getting tickets for a family event as soon as possible. Prices often increase if you wait till the last minute to purchase the needed tickets or lodging.
3. Definitely check out bargain blogs and websites! We have found an untold number of great sites to help find discounts, coupons and bargains in the area we will be visiting.
4. If you will be staying in a hotel, make sure to pick up the coupon books for that area! You can also check most of these out online now too, but you can find some amazing deals on lodging with these!
5. Contact the area Chamber of Commerce or visitors center, and ask for help in your trip. Most of the time they are very helpful, and will aid you however possible.
6. Travel off-season! While I know this is a common idea, it is well worth repeating! We visited a ski lodge in Colorado a couple years ago, and literally paid less than half the normal price for the rooms! I'm talking huge fancy suites with a back patio, and full kitchen, for under $100.00 a night!
7. If you stay in hotels a lot, sign up with one or more chains for their reward programs. We are a member of a couple different programs, and many times they run special deals. Like stay 2 nights, get a 3rd night free! Even when they aren't, though, the points add up quickly to provide for free lodging.
8. Sign up for restaurant newsletters/coupons. With a large family, eating out can be a huge part of trip expenses! A lot of restaurants send coupons in ther email newsletters, that come in very handy.
9. Pack some meals! Again, this can be a huge money-saving plan. We often pack some deli meat and all the fixings, and drinks and snacks are something we never buy on the road. It's so much easier and cheaper to stock up beforehand!
10. Consider buying a year-long pass, even if you won't be there again the rest of the year. Maybe it's just because of how many people are in our family, but oftentimes it is cheaper for us to buy a 12-month pass to a museum or amusement park, rather than paying an individual fee. Sometimes the pass will also come with other benefits, such as a percentage off in the gift shop, or discounts at other attractions in the area!
So, got any more tips or hints for me? Feel free to share!!
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