Find Out With Family Vacation Critic’s Travel-Savings Checklist
Pennington, NJ — July 7, 2011 — As the cost of travel continues to rise, Family Vacation Critic — a TripAdvisor Media Group Web site featuring family vacation ideas, hotel reviews and travel advice — warns travelers not to leave money on the table, and offers a travel-savings checklist to help parents keep vacation costs down.
“It’s been a tough few years for the travel industry, so everyone — hotels, restaurants and attractions — are fighting for a share of your vacation dollars and they’re willing to offer enticing deals to get you through the door,” said Lissa Poirot, editor of Family Vacation Critic. “There’s certainly no shame in hunting for deals or asking for a better price; in fact, arriving with coupons in hand — or on your smartphone — simply shows you are a savvy traveler.”
Travel-Savings Checklist from Family Vacation Critic
Sign-Up for Savings
Join free hotel loyalty programs. Perks may include: free Internet service, bottled water, newspapers, spa access, complimentary breakfast and room upgrades. Discounts and special rates may be available, as well as early check-in and late check-out — a great perk for families.
Sign-up for the new wave of group deals. Sites such as Living Social (www.livingsocial.com) and Groupon (www.groupon.com) offer great savings and we’ve seen discounts on everything from ice cream to kids’ yoga classes.
Compare rates and fees. Probably the one thing everyone does, but pay attention to additional booking fees and taxes, not just the basic room rate.
Don’t rely on booking engines, check directly with a hotel’s own site before you book. Occasionally it can be cheaper to book direct, but more often you will find special promotions and last-minute deals. Look for free nights, resort credit, activity packages and Kids Eat and Stay Free deals. See Family Vacation Critic deals for a round-up of current offers (www.familyvacationcritic.com/deals)
Keep an eye out for gas card packages. Many hotels are now offering guests free gas cards available with certain packages. Guests who make reservations through these packages are presented with free gas cards upon check-out, or the cards may be mailed to you after the trip.
Look online for discounted admission. Check regional tourism sites for discount cards and passes that provide discounted admission into multiple city attractions. Also, visit the Web sites of any theme parks, museums of other places of interest you plan to visit. You may find coupons, discounts for booking online, or even just way to skip the line by booking in advance.
Check restaurant Web sites. Look for half-price nights, kids-eat free, early-bird specials and discount coupons.
Save money while you’re on the go. Some of our favorite apps include: GasBuddy to find the cheapest, nearby gas stations; Kids Meal Deals to find kids meal deals and kids eat free specials at area restaurants; Meal Ticket to find instant, clip-free coupons to use in restaurants; and TripAdvisor to use your phone’s GPS capabilities to search for reviewed hotels, restaurants, and attractions — with the option to sort by price while you’re on the go.
Look in Visitor Guides
Look for leaflets and brochures when you arrive. The free maps and attractions guides found in hotel lobbies and tourist centers are still some of the best deals, from 2-for-1 tickets to restaurant coupons.
Seriously, it’s okay to ask! Call the hotel before you book and ask if they can beat the rate you found, or ask if they will match a competitor’s rate — you won’t know if you don’t try.
Family Vacation Critic features reviews of family-friendly resorts and hotels, as well as family travel deals and destination guides for planning kid-friendly vacations. The site also provides a forum for swapping tips on all aspects of traveling with kids.
About Family Vacation Critic
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