Thursday, February 23, 2012

A deal hunter for vacation bargains

Getting great travel deals means become a deal hunter. It isn't as hard as it sounds but it does require creative thinking and some advance research. My family jokes that if there is a cheaper way to do something, then I will find it. My ability to sleuth out the best deals is the only way that we can afford a vacation.

Here are a few ways that we save money on travel. I'm always open to new ideas so if you have a suggestion, please add it to the comment section.

Reciprocity
Zoos and museums often reciprocate with other museums and zoos across the country. If you have kids or like animals, purchasing a membership to the Knoxville zoo (or one local to you) is a travel bargain. Buying the membership early in the year was like prepaying part of our vacation. We got free local admission all year long had free or reduced admission to zoos that we visited in St. Louis, Louisville and Oklahoma City.

Gift cards
I save any gift cards that we receive as gifts and use them on vacation. Sometimes restaurants we like will have a promotion where you get a bonus for purchasing. I'll almost always buy one, save it, and use both the card and bonus card on vacation.

Daily deals sites
These are some of the first places that I check before visiting my daughter. Her graduate school is nine hours away. Finding deals keeps me from raiding her college funds to go see her. Visiting is not a family vacation but it's fun. Groupon often has deals on hotels or restaurants. I have even seen buy one night and get one free promotions for hotels near her campus. It always pays to check.

Then there are the usual ways to become a deal hunter. Scour the internet for the best hotel price and phone to be sure that it is still in effect. Look for coupons and special promotions for theme parks. Get discounts by joining an automobile club and so on.

The  big trick that I have up my sleeve is to plan ahead. Choose your destination carefully and look for travel deals that support it. As you can see from this article, it's not hard to do. It just takes a little vacation planning and that's something that everyone can do.