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Family travel can definitely be expensive, especially if you are planning to travel during any school vacation weeks. Buying more than two tickets definitely adds to the total cost, and finding travel discounts can be challenging, especially during the busy weeks. However, there still are some family travel discounts to be found, if you follow a few different steps and do your research in advance of purchase.
Here are my top 9 tips for finding family travel discounts:
Finding Family Travel Discounts
Visit our Family Vacation Deals page. We are constantly updating that page with package deals and other specials that are offered by a variety of different hotels and other travel providers. Package deals can be a great way to save money – as long as all of the components of the package have value to you. Also, you can often find deals on the Facebook page of specific hotels, or through their email list.
Use BeFrugal, Ebates, FatWallet, Upromise to see if you are eligible for cash back when you purchase online. Compare all four, because the percentages back can differ based on deal and company. Cash back can be a great way to save money – and these sites often offer cash back on sites that already offer fantastic deals – like Priceline.com.
Check with AAA or your employer to see if they offer discounts to any attractions or hotels you are visiting. You can often purchase attraction tickets at a discount and may be able to get a great deal on your hotel. Just be sure that you know the best deal available without the discount, because there’s always the chance that you can save even more money by purchasing elsewhere.
Use the Hopper app or Yapta.com to track flight prices. The Hopper app can even give you a prediction on whether the price will increase, decrease, or stay the same. Depending on how you purchased your flights, Yapta.com can help you get a refund if the price decreases. On a flight last year, I was able to get a significant flight credit when the rates for the flights I’d purchased decreased. Both tools are free. I also recommend using Trivago to check for the best rates on hotels. Trivago compares a number of different sites to make sure that you get the best price on your hotel purchase.
Book your hotel/resort in advance and see if they’ll offer discounted pricing for payment in advance. I’ve gotten great deals on hotels by paying for a non-refundable room in advance. Also, some resorts will offer bounceback deals if you book your next trip before you check out of your first trip. Check out the Last Minute Travel app to compare their prices with other sites.
Use Hotwire or Priceline. Definitely be aware of the fine print, but you can definitely get a great deal with Hotwire and Priceline. The photo above is of the Loews Le Concorde hotel (which is no longer a Loews branded hotel) in Quebec City, which I booked by bidding on Priceline. I recommend checking out the interview we did with a Priceline expert, which offers great tips on booking family travel through priceline.com.
Sign up for flash deal sites. Groupon Deals offers some fabulous deals on great resorts, but there are often restrictions that you need to be aware of. Make sure that you know exactly what you are purchasing, and be sure that the dates you want to go aren’t blacked out. Also check to make sure the room will accommodate a family – some deals may only be appropriate for couples.
Use travel rewards from credit cards or loyalty programs to partially or fully pay for your trip. Some credit cards will also offer you deals on specific hotels. On a recent vacation, we got a statement credit by booking a stay for a specific hotel chain. Just be sure that you know how to get the credit – you usually need to book directly with the hotel.
Stay offseason or change your departure dates to a few days before school vacation starts. Just moving your vacation by a few days or weeks can make a huge difference in the price. On school vacation weeks, we’ll often leave on the Sunday or Monday, and return on the Friday or Saturday. Even that one or two day shift can result in a big savings. Of course, if you don’t have children in school, try to avoid school vacation weeks as much as possible.