Wednesday, July 6, 2011

5 Secrets You May Not Know About For Huge Savings on Family Travel With Kids This Summer

Family Travel

My girls & I picked wild huckleberries in Idaho on one road trip
The fruit was unbelievably delicious, and the bonding experience priceless
iPhone Photo by Janis Brett Elspas,

Family travel is better than ever before.  Thanks in part to technology and online companies such as OrbitzCheapTickets, and other discount travel sites as well as recent partnerships between companies like deal site Groupon and travel giant Expedia it's never been easier to plan your own vacation getaway with the kids without a travel agent.

With all those great resources, you'd think you should stop there, right?  The truth is there are so many more ways to save money on your next family vacation, whether it's a road trip or you'll be taking a flight or some other mode of transportation with the kids to your destination.

Consumer savings expert Andrea Woroch just shared some of her thrifty travel ideas with me.  Some that I hadn't thought of when planning my own family's vacation adventures, which are notoriously always low budget.  Andrea's advice is so great that I wanted Mommy Blog Expert readers to benefit from this new-found knowledge as well as to also add a few ideas of my own to help you keep traveling expenses as low as possible this summer.

Avoid High Season Travel Costs Altogether
Plan a trip that takes advantage of off-season pricing.  For example, believe it or not summer is low season in parts of places like Arizona.  During those less crowded time of the year like summer in Tucson, hotel prices are often a fraction of what they are in winter.  Obviously, it goes without saying that you should actually try and avoid high season in a place like Disneyland unless you like standing for hours in line with impatient and whining kids and don't mind paying higher hotel rates besides.

Buy Travel Products at Auctions
The auctions at travel sites like can help you find hotels, entertainment and meal vouchers and free drinks for as much as 65 percent off.  Auction king eBay also offers a variety of discount vacation packages in their travel section, but be sure you are dealing with a reputable seller by checking their customer ratings before pushing the buy button.  Don't forget to tap the deal sites mentioned at the beginning of this post, too, for amazing savings.

Become a College Student Again (Sort Of)
Traveling on a budget is still possible if you know where to look.  For example, adventurous and thrifty travelers should consider checking out hostels -- which contrary to popular belief -- are not just for single, 20 something aged kids carrying college ID, both in the U.S. and abroad.  My own kids and hubbie had the awesome experience of staying at a hostel in London last summer at a fraction of the price of hotels in this highly desirable neighborhood.  Also, colleges and universities rent out empty dorms during the summer, so research those too.

Use Discounted Gift Cards
You can save big bucks by planning ahead and purchasing gift cards at sites like for mega rental car and airline savings.  Make sure you sign up for email alerts, though, because discount gift cards for airlines like Southwest sell out right away.
My 4 little kids on a trip to Gatorland, Orlando Florida
Vintage photo by Janis Brett Elspas,

Don't Eat Out
Especially with kids, eating out at restaurants three times a day might set you back more than your hotel or transportation costs will, so  look for motels and hotels offering free breakfast perks.  Alternately, many of the family-friendly chain motels offer in-room microwaves and some even come with refrigerators at no extra charge so you can save hundreds of dollars on food over a week or two simply by going to the grocery store.  This will also leave some change in your pocket so you can still afford to enjoy the occasional restaurant meal now and then while traveling.  
Mid-century Classic Police Car, Kingman Police Station, AZ
iPhone Photo by Janis Brett Elspas,

My family is big on roadtripping to National Parks, Historic Route 66, and other really cool and sometimes remote places here in the U.S.  So we've taken that traveling kitchen concept one step further. Whenever we are on a driving vacation we bring several ice chests as well as our own small microwave, hotplate, and toaster oven in case the motel has no appliances at all.  An added tip, by local farm stand produce along the way or do what my family does: seek out the many You Pick Farms dotting the U.S. and pick huckleberries and lots of other fruits and vegetables.  We've even used our hot plate and brought canning equipment along to can all kinds of berries we picked one summer.

If you liked this article be sure to also check out my Mommy Blog Expert post on 10 Tips for a Distraction-Free Kid Centric Family Vacation too! 

About Andrea Woroch
Andrea really knows what she's talking about.  She has been featured on NBC's Today Show, FOX & Friends, MSNBC, ABC News NOW and others.  For more travel insider's advice, visit or follow her on Twitter to receive more travel savings tips.

What innovative ways do you and your kids use to save money on family vacations?  Leave a comment to tell us your secrets to frugal travel. 

FTC Disclosure:  MommyBlogExpert did not receive any payment or other compensation associated with this post.  See complete FTC Disclosure information that appears at the bottom of MommyBlogExpert's main page and at the bottom of every individual post on this blog, including this one.

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