Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Getting the most "Bang for your Buck" while planning a vacation

My husband and I are anxious to go somewhere on vacation with our 3 boys soon.  Our last trip was to Hawaii in April and every time I ask my 4 year old where he wants to go on vacation I he very enthusiastically says "MAUI!!" ☺
     1. Plan your trip to maximize your time and save money
Be willing to change your travel dates or times in order to maximize your time and save money.

Everything gets expensive when you times it by 5.  Airfare, museum entrance fees, food....etc. We looked into DC over Thanksgiving.  Hotels were cheap, but car rental were through the roof.  And we were flying back on Thanksgiving to get the best deal on our air fare and not taking advantage of all the days we have off. So we bailed on that idea.

We are now looking at that same trip in early June.  This will give us ample time with the kids out of school, we will be able to avoid massive crowds, the museums in DC are free, hotels are the same cheap rate, as is air fare and we wouldn't be in a rush to beat the airfare clock back home.

    2. Look for local events to maximize experience
 Look for local state fairs, museum exhibits, sporting events, farmers markets, local special events prior to planning your trip.  You might find something you would like to do and are willing to plan around that event.

I've been wanting to go to Denver for a while.  My husband wanted to hit 2 sporting events while we are there.  He was hoping the Cubs would be in town against the Rockies the same weekend the Raiders would be playing the Broncos.  We haven't been able to find that perfect time, but we did find that there is a King Tut exhibit in Denver right now and my kids just finished reading The Red Pyramid so they are WAY into Egyptian gods and things right now.  And I've always wanted to go to an Avalanche game and they are in town that same weekend, so we are getting the "Best Bang for our Buck" in our Denver experience.

(My mom just hit a game at Note Dame and a Bears game in Chicago the same weekend)

       3. Think like a local
Ask yourself "If I were a local, where would I find the cheap deals for admissions, concerts or sporting events?"

If you have family or friends in the area, have them ask their work if they have discounts they could purchase for you. (My brother in law checked on the Avalanche tickets for us.  We found them cheaper elsewhere, but it was worth a shot)  Have them check local grocery stores (we've gotten discounts to Knotts from Ralph's) and the local paper.

If you are on your own at your location, hotel concierge or front desks are a great place to start.  The hotel brochures often have discounts on them too, but be sure to ask the front desk if there are any other better deals, they might know of some, being locals.  Local grocery stores, newspapers, online searches, trip advisor are all wonderful resources.   Sometimes you can call the business and ask where you can get discounts from.  I've done this with my local zoo, and Disneyland.  The people that answer are happy to tell you where the discounts are because they think you might not come if you don't have a discount. (which is usually true in my case)

So happy planning, I hope you go somewhere fun soon!


I just found a deal through Denver Divers to have my boys do a "Try Scuba"  2 hour scuba lesson for $20 each!!!!!!  We will now be adding that onto our trip. ☺
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