Summertime is in full swing! No doubt you’ve cooled off with an ice cream cone or a dip in the pool, but have you and the family hit the road yet? If travel plans are in your near future, perhaps a camping trip (it’s National Park & Recreation Month!) or beach excursion where you can show off that cute bump will make a fun summer jaunt.
We asked travel expert Bob Diener, co-founder of Getaroom.com and Hotels.com, to give us the scoop on how to travel well and wallet-friendly. His tips will keep the family budget on track. Don’t dally; the season will end faster than you than you can say lemonade, so make your plans soon.
By the way, when you get where you’re going and finally sit back to relax and read that thick novel (or P&N mag!), don’t forget your shades and sunblock—it’s also UV Safety Month. Hey, don’t ever say we didn’t keep you informed!
- Book in advance to get better deals on hotels. Snag a flash sale deal now for travel later this summer or fall and save up to 60%. Don’t get stuck paying a higher price last minute.
- Consider vacation rentals. They’re often the same or less than the price of a hotel room and more spacious with kitchens and multi-bedrooms—such as the Sheraton Vistana or the Westgate Palace in Orlando.
- Many hotels, including most Holiday Inns, are offering free food for kids this summer. This adds up to big savings.
- Always look for hotels with pools when traveling with kids. Most sites with advanced search allow you to filter hotels for those with swimming pools.
- Never pay extra for kids! Every hotel has a different policy regarding allowing kids to stay free—some as high as 19 years old! But some charge for ages 2 and above. Avoid the extra charges by checking the kids charge policy first.
- Always remember to charge video games, iPads, iPods, cell phones and other electronic games the night before a trip. These can keep the kids happy and occupied the entire trip.
- Always bring extra food. Avoid being stuck with no food while stalled on the runway or when stores are closed and the kids get hungry. Bring plenty of snacks.
- Kids under 2 fly free in the US—this is a great bargain. But be careful outside the US! Most carriers charge at least 10% of the fare for kids.
- Try to travel when lines and airports are not busy so you are not rushed with the kids. Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturdays are the best days to travel. The lines are shorter and fares may be cheaper.
- Buy amusements tickets online or at AAA for big savings and to avoid the lines.
Have fun and travel safely!