There are so many things to take into consideration when you go away as a family. Where do you want to visit? Where will you eat? How much is*GULP* gas going to be?? But inevitably the discussion of sleeping arrangements will come up- it has to! Where you will be staying shouldn’t break the bank and it should somehow be a fun adventure. To help you achieve an affordable adventure while you sleep, here are 5 ways to save money on your places of rest while you are on vacation.
This may seem like a no brainer, but many people just automatically assume that when they go away that they must stay at a motel/hotel. If wherever you are going happens to have some family nearby, why not ask if you could visit for a little bit? It’s a great way to save money (even if you feel the need to offer some cash as a thank you for bunking with them, it’s guaranteed that whatever you offer (whether they accept or not) will be WELL below the price you’d be shelling out for a week at even a budget motel. This is a great way to not only save money, but also to catch up and reconnect with distant (or even not so distant) family members.
2. Ever couch surf??
Speaking of crashing on family’s couch, for the adventurous and flexible there is Couchsurfing. This idea is the practice of moving from one “friend’s” house to another, sleeping in whatever spare space is available, floor or couch or wherever, generally staying a few days before moving on to the next home. It is free to register on the Couchsurfing site; members have the option of providing information and pictures of themselves and of the sleeping arrangements that they offer. The more information that is provided by members, the better chances will be that someone will find the member trustworthy enough to be his host or guest. Members looking for accommodations can search for hosts using several search options such as age, location, gender and activity level. Homestays are consensual between the host and guest, and the length of stay, reason, and terms of the guest’s stay are worked out in advance. No money is exchanged except for compensation of incurred expenses (e.g. food). By far the best site I have seen along these lines is Air BNB! This site has been good to us and even though there is a cost, I feel very safe and am saving money!
3. Forego travel websites
One of the simplest ways that I’ve found to save money on hotel accommodations is to just call the hotel directly. Certain travel websites play the part of travel agent and in doing so may find you the best deals compared to other sites, but not compared to just calling up the hotel. One of my favorite websites found a friend of mine a 4 night stay for its best price of $139 a night; calling the hotel directly dropped it to $89 after using the next suggestion….
4. 3 little letters
AAA is a great little way to save money, not just on hotel accommodations but also eyeglasses, shoes, prescriptions and so much more. For a yearly fee, u can save a percentage off of nightly hotel stays and vacation packages. There are many places you can use your AAA card, you just have to mention that you are a cardholder if they don’t ask up front. That same friend mentioned above was planning a trip to Disneyworld this summer. Using AAA saved her 15% off of a 4 night vacation package!
5. Roughing it
This may seem extreme, but hear me out- camping. How beautiful could it be to just sit as a family gathered around a campfire, roasting hot dogs and marshmallows, having devotions or just simple chatter about the different events of the day? To not be distracted with the bleeping of video games or the incessant need to turn down the television, but rather take in the sounds of crackling fires and crickets chirping. Now, I fully understand that this may not be the wisest choice if you are planning a trip to say, New York City. But if you are flexible enough to plan a trip around camping, such as a wilderness adventure or a cross country road trip, then camping could be extremely affordable and doable.
Traveling should be relaxing and pleasurable, not a headache and a hassle. Hopefully these tips will assist you in arriving to your next peaceful destination.