Travel Season is HOT right now and I’m not just talking weather. Budgeting a family summer vacation is frustrating & overwhelming, especially if your trying to be economical. If you noticed, I said economical not cheap. There is a difference in the two, but budgeting your money is in no way taking away from your travel plans.
Factors to Consider When Booking Your Hotel at a Discount:
Price: There are so many websites that can help you book a hotel using third party discounts (i.e Priceline, Hotels.com, HotelCoupons.com, Expedia etc.), but also many “daily deal” sites like Groupon are getting into the game by offering Destination Packages. Be careful of these deals because many have fine print such as booking dates, additional guest stipulations & room availability issues that you may not noticed at the beginning. You can ask a question on their sites before purchasing a package/deal to ensure your getting a full scope of limitations.
Travelers can also check smaller local hotels websites or their social media sites for more information on package deals & discounts. Don’t let the big box hotels make you spend a little extra, when a small “mom & pop” place may have equal great price).
Location: Location is everything, but think about staying a few miles away from your desired destination. Subtracting a few bucks from your final total doesn’t necessarily mean your subtracting fun from your trip. Destinations like Washington D.C can be extremely expensive, so many families may stay in Maryland or Virginia to add maximum dollar s to their vacation budget.
If your not going to have your own vehicle on your trip, factor in public transportation costs such as a local commuter train, subway, or bus system. Hailing a cab won’t save much money, so keep that in mind.
Amenities: Let’s face it, when we are on vacation we want to feel rested & pampered. If you have kids, that may or may not happen! Having a Spa in a hotel is an amazing amenity, but only if your going to take advantage of it. Fitness Room? Fantastic…if your not wore out from chasing the kids. Don’t fall in love with a Hotel or Resort based on it amenities. Shuttle to the Airport, great…if you didn’t drive in.
Fall in love with the whole picture. Factor all the extras, & determine which extras will be useful. Then, factor in it’s worth.
For myself, I love having continental breakfast. It’s convenient, quick, & economical. I also HAVE to have WiFi, there is no way around it. My family will not be “plugged in” during out stay where, but being able to use our internet to plan our next days activities or communicate with our family back home is a must.
Are you traveling this summer? What are some of your creative ways you saved money when booking a hotel for your trip?