If you are doing last-minute planning for a family vacation over the long Labor Day weekend, by now you have already booked your flights if you are planning on traveling long distance. However, if you are planning a local vacation with driving in mind, we have some ideas for how to save money, while still providing your family with an experience they will never forget.
There are still ways to save on everything from hotels to rental cars, and insider tips for using credit cards for their benefits can be found below.
Wait to Book Your Hotel, and Do It with a Travel Rewards Credit Card
The misnomer carried on by travel agencies and websites about booking early is simply to benefit the hotels (the clients of said agencies) by making you book quickly so the hotel can manage their inventory and increase profits.
The truth of the matter is that hotels will often reduce their rates at the last minute in order to fill rooms. Although waiting until the last minute to book at very popular tourist destinations is a gamble, if you are planning on vacationing away from the crowds, waiting and booking directly with the hotel might be a cheaper option.
MarketWatch shared some additional details about this strategy in an excellent piece: “Data from Kayak shows that waiting until the last minute can save you big on hotels (as opposed to flights where booking in advance is your best bet). If you’re flexible about when you check in, do it on a Sunday — it can save you 6%, Kayak found. HotelTonight.com, Booking.com and Hotels.com all offer last-minute deals.”
Pack Meals that Don’t Require Refrigeration
While it may seem like a no-brainer if you are road tripping to your Labor Day destination to take snacks, sometimes you shop with your stomach and not with your brain. The best road trip snacks are the ones that don’t spoil in the car if not eaten right away. Save money by buying dry goods in bulk, rather than having to replace them at a later stop.
In addition to saving money on snacks with non-perishables, Forbes shares some ideas for what to bring, and how to save additional money: “I always pack cheese, crackers, apples and water for road trips,” says Kendal Perez with CouponSherpa.com. “This minimizes the need to stop for something to eat. It helps us get where we’re going sooner and avoids wasteful spending on bad road food.”
Use Your Kids to Get Deals
If you didn’t blink at the subject of this section, it is likely that you already know what we are talking about here. However, there are breaks at many popular travel destinations for parents to save money by using their kids as a way to find deals.
From Travel and Leisure: “There are lots of restaurants, hotels and attractions with deals for kids, so try seeking those out when you make your travel plans. Also, some places go the extra mile to offer discounts to families with kids. For example, all eight of the Great Ohio Lodges (www.greatohiolodges.com) in state parks in Ohio offer a “Stays for A’s” program, where for every A on a child’s report card, the lodges will knock $10 off the nightly rate. Of course, there’s a limit, $50 per night, or 5 A’s.”
Look Deeper into Your Navigation App
The slyest travelers know that the first route presented by their navigation app might be the shortest, but isn’t always the fastest, and vice versa. A delicate balance between scenery and time should be considered for gas mileage purposes.
Business Insider puts it this way: “Google Maps often offers two or three routes. The shortest route may not be the quickest or have the best view. If you must gas up or take an ice cream break, be sure to pass through a small town. Bottom line: is your goal to arrive or to arrive happy?”
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