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Keeping Your Budget In Check While Traveling

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Here’s yet another post where I’m asking all of you to help answer this frequently asked question… How do I travel and stay within my budget? Check out a couple of the emails I have recently received from readers…

Do you have any advice on how to find the best deals for planning a vacation? I would like to get a head start on organizing one for next year, but not sure where to begin with this (as I have not taken any sort of vacation in 10 years). I would love any advice or helpful hints you may have in regards to how I can save money in the process.

I have to make a trip to Houston, TX a week from today. I need to stay in a Hotel for two nights, and I am unsure of how to get the best deal possible. Do you have any suggestions? Thank you very much for your time!!

Here are my recommendations for cheap(er) travel…

(1) Check the discount travel sites before you book your hotel/flight/rental car (I also recommend that you call the hotel/airline/car rental office directly to be sure that they cannot offer you a lower price)

* Orbitz: Orbitz has a current promotion where you can receive a $300 travel voucher to be used for future flight/hotel reservations when you book a stay at a participating hotel; Also keep in mind that Orbitz has a low price guarantee: If you book a qualifying prepaid hotel rate on the Orbitz Web site, and then find the same room, in the same hotel, for the same dates, at a lower price online, before taxes and fees, they’ll refund the difference and give you a $50 discount on a future hotel booking. Orbitz also offers a low fare promise: If you book an airline ticket on Orbitz.com and then find a lower airfare for the same flights, dates, airline and travelers on another Web site, you may be entitled to a $50 coupon per ticket toward your next Orbitz booking.

* Travelocity:
Currently hosting a FREE Summer Night’s Sale (Book 2 nights and Get 1 Free at select hotels); Offers a price and service guarantee similar to Orbitz.

* Expedia:
Offers a Best Price Guarantee and a Thank You Rewards Program (Earn points when you book eligible travel and points can be redeemed for future travel or merchandise).

* Hotels.com:
Currently offering up to a $100 rebate on hotel stays; Also offering a FREE flip camcorder if you book 4 or more consecutive nights at a select hotel (reservations must be made by July 27th; At booking enter coupon code FLIP5); Also offers a Welcome Rewards program: Get 1 free night for every 10 nights you book.

*Kayak.com:
Quickly searches for the best airline, hotel and car deals all in one place!

(2) If you are planning to eat out while traveling, check out the restaurants available through Restaurant.com or check out group buying sites like Buy With Me or Groupon which provide big savings on restaurants, spas etc in large cities. For instance, if you are planning to travel to San Diego, consider registering through Buy With Me or Groupon and choosing San Diego as your city…you’ll then receive emails on the latest deals available in San Diego.

(3) Check out discount gift card/gift certificate sites like Plastic Jungle and/or City Deals. For example, if you’re planning to hit the movies/ice cream while traveling, consider purchasing a $25 AMC Theatres gift card on Plastic Jungle for only $22 (you save 12%…every little bit of savings helps, right?!) or a $50 Coldstone Creamery Gift Card for only $45 (you save 10%).  Plus, you can use coupons along with these gift cards to save even more! Are you going to spend more than $500 on US Airways airline tickets? If so, you can save 6% by purchasing a $500 US Airways gift card for only $470! …And remember that Plastic Jungle ships all gift cards for FREE!

(4) Pack your own snacks: Some of my favorite travel-friendly snacks are apples, bananas, granola bars, dried fruit/nuts, pretzels and popcorn. This prevents you from dishing out $7 for a peanut butter and jelly sandwich at the airport.

(5) Map out your trip in advance and then find the cheapest gas stations on your route…you can use web sites like GasBuddy.com and GasPriceWatch.com.

**Want some tips for traveling with kiddos? Check out this post here.

What are some of the ways you stay within budget while traveling?! Let us know in the comments below.

Join The Discussion

Comments 60

  1. April

    A great site for accomodations is endlessvacations.com. They are condo timeshares rented to the public (through Wyndam- so you dont have to worry about being “taken”). Sometimes decor can be a little dated but the resorts are so nice, have kitchens and room for stretching. We have always found this to be WAY more comfortable than hotels and you can eat in. Have fun!

    • cynthia

      dont use priceline! we got a repulsive room, didnt stay the night, and priceline refuses to give us a refund!

      • where's the deal

        I’ve used priceline many many times and have received some fantastic deals – DO YOUR RESEARCH! You can use Priceline to your advantage if you do a little homework. You can figure out the hotels that are currently being offered on priceline and the prices they are going for and really zero in on what you want. Same with Hotwire.

    • Nicole

      Anyone else use this site?

      • anonymous

        I have used Priceline before too and have not had any issues (knock on wood lol). I agree with “where’s the deal” with any of these sites – YOU MUST DO YOUR HOMEWORK! I always check the reviews on the hotels and check the hotel’s own website.

        • where's the deal

          There are a couple of websites where people post what they bid, when and how many stars – this helps to figure out what actual hotel you will get. It’s invaluable!

          • Heather

            what are those web sites?

  2. Anonymous

    Yep, staying on a budget when traveling with a family is always a struggle but your tips are great and I always search out the discount travel sites in advance. The biggest problem is always trying to figure out if your really getting the best deals on hotels or not

  3. Holly Z

    If you’re traveling where there are Drury Hotels, look into staying at one. They’re all over the Midwest. All of them offer a free, continental breakfast (which was amazing! Pancakes, bacon, eggs, bagels, cereal, etc). Now most of them have started offering a free, hot meal from 5-7 p.m. You also recieve 2 free alcoholic beverages at this meal. This meal usually is items such as hot dogs, meat balls, chicken tenders, etc. There are also sides such as salad, baked potatoes, and rolls. It isn’t anything fancy, but you can save on your dinner bills by eating in at the hotel. Also, on our last day, we took our 32 oz mugs down to breakfast and filled them up with soda and tea to take on the road with us. You can also go to their website, before booking, and click on the banner for their “E Saver” program. This will take you to a page with their “Word of the Day”. Use this word when booking and you can save on your hotel stay. I think it varies by hotel location, but we saved about $20 when we stayed in Memphis this summer. Their prices are very reasonable too. You can look them up at druryhotels.com

    • Holly Z

      Also, to clarify, we saved $20 per night when we stayed in Memphis.

      • Anonymous

        oh my gosh thanks!!! i am going to look them up now because that sounds amazing…sounds even to good to be true lol

        • Holly Z

          I hope they have some where you are staying at. We plan on using them when we can, from now on. The free, evening meal is, I think, a very nice deal. We don’t have kids, but I would think it could help save a lot in evening meals if you did. Good luck and I hope you enjoy them as much as we did!

          • Anonymous

            Actually I just checked and they do have one in kentucky which is where are trip is in August and their prices are pretty average. I did notice the hot breakfast but I was wondering if the evening meal you are talking about is called “5:30 Kickback” because that is what they have listed on their site for the evening? I am not sure that it is a meal because it appears to only offer popcorn and soda….still a nice treat that I have not seen at other hotels in that price range before.

          • Marsha

            I definitely agree w/ Drury. Free breakfast, supper and snacks along w/ a soda machine going the whole time. I find if you take off the money for the free meals we can’t stay elsewhere cheaper. Plus – the beds are wonderful and the staff is so accomodating.

          • Marsha

            5:30 Kickback is the evening meal and now all Drury’s offer it. If you click on the 5:30 kickback it will tell you the full menu for each day you’d be staying. You also get 3 alcoholic beverages during that time if you so choose for free. The one night we had chicken strips, meatballs and hotdogs along w/ salad items, snack items and baked potatoes. Another night was chili, hotdogs and all the salad, snack and potoates mentioned above. One other night was chicken wings, egg rolls, hotdogs and then the salad and things. It is all you can eat and everything is always hot and delicious but if that wasn’t enough – it’s FREE!!!!

    • Cindy B

      I wish we had one of these where we arfe going in Pennsylvania next month. With a family of 6 any savings on food is always helpful!

  4. Melissa

    I would say, plan to buy in advance… kayak has a calendar tool to give you the best prices on airfare depending on the days you are flying. It will give you an idea as to when it would be better to go on vacation.
    Another thing I would consider is vacationing “off season”, I know it might not sound appealing, but just think of how un-crowded places would be and hotels are cheaper because they are trying to fill their rooms… after all vacation is about relaxing, and who can do that while waiting in line for 30 minutes for a ride in a theme park? 🙂

  5. Michelle

    As far as food is concerned, if we are driving and can bring our own, we usually do (unless its refrigerated or frozen, that we buy at a local store). Bringing your own food or even buying it from a local grocer cuts down a lot on how much you eat out, which always makes me feel sick. I’ve been on vacation with in-laws where they just plan on eating out the entire time and after a day, I was nauseated and very happy to get some cereal and a banana from 7-11, lol. If you are flying, google grocers around your destination and plan to buy groceries the first day you arrive. The way I see it, you are on vacation, not your nutrition. The more normal you feel because of your diet, the more you will enjoy your trip. We are headed to Hawaii in August and with luggage being $25 each to pack on board, there is no way to even consider taking our own food. So I plan on printing tons of coupons and shopping at Safeway and Walmart (I was thrilled that there was a Safeway right around the corner from one of our rentals! haha!) when we arrive so we can keep to our regular diet.

    Depending on where you are going, there are different websites that offer great deals. getawaytoday.com is one of my faves. You can usually get great discounts and bonus packages (like coupons for eating at theme parks and discounted theme park tickets). If you know the general area you want to be in and are looking for a really good discount, name your own price on priceline.com. We scored an amazing deal for a decent hotel within walking distance to Disneyland at New Years for about $50 a night. It was a steal compared to the rates of $100+ a night of most of the hotels around us. Of course, I started my bidding out really low (like $35, lol) and moved my way up until a hotel “accepted my offer”. Good luck in your planning!!

    • Anonymous

      I agree, GetAwayToday.com offers terrific prices on Disneyland Resort vacations. Plus, they give you an extra $10 off your vacation when you use the promotion code CASTLE when you check out

  6. Andrea

    I almost always use priceline.com to book our hotel when traveling for both work and play. There are issues like you aren’t guaranteed a swimming pool or double beds, but I’ve never found it to be a problem. You can choose your star level and I always figure if I’m getting a four or three star hotel, it’ll have a pool. Then as soon as you book, call the hotel, tell them you just booked a room online and wanted to confirm that it would have two double beds. They will almost always get you set up that way at that point. This is a HUGE money-saver. Two weekends ago, we went to St. Louis for a three night stay. I got a room via priceline for $56/night at a Sheraton hotel (through their website it would have been $192/night). It was awesome. On our way we stayed at a Super 8 in Hannibal, MO for $35. And next week for work, I booked another Sheraton for $40/night in a Chicago suburb. I love priceline! To me, it’s like gambling, but better because you’re not throwing money away but saving cash! 🙂

    • amberlena79

      I agree, we love Priceline’s name your price option. We always use it for hotel rentals and when available car rentals too. I always choose a 3 or 4 star hotel because I know that it will be nice, whereas if I did 2 or 2.5 star hotels, you could get a real dump. And I always start my opening bid at 75% off their online price. It doesn’t always work, but I increase it by $5 until they accept (as long as it doesn’t get too high). It is non-refundable, so it is a little scary, but we’ve always been happy, and have never regretted it. Just this weekend we stayed at a Sheraton for $50 / night, it was originally $119 / night and we loved the room. Like Andrea said, I always call and verify the type of room I am going to get. Priceline reservations don’t show up in their system right away (at least in my experience) so I always wait a few hours. I’ve always received the exact room that I requested. We love priceline. We’ve used it to save money on car rentals too, but not every area has name your own price on car rentals, so we haven’t used it very often.

    • Christelle42

      I too always use priceline. In fact the family and I just took and 18 day vacation, which included a confence for my husband in the middle, and did not book any rooms ahead of time except for the confenence nights. We stayed in 4 star hotels in Oklahoma City, Austin, Houston, New Orleans, and Memphis and I never paid over $85 with tax and others. At other locations we stayed in 3 or 3 1/2 star hotels and they were sometimes a little nicer than some of the 4 stars… but it worked out wonderfully. This is the second vacation we have done this way and we love it. I use the priceline app on my iPhone and we book only a few hours before pulling in to a town. The best thing was on the last night of the conference we were going to leave New Orleans but we decided to stay and did not have a room. I used priceline and got a room at the hotel across the street from where we had been staying and while others were pay $189 a night for this hotel we paid $65!!! How awesome is that!!!

  7. Joan Kramer

    We have gone on vacation with our camper, and we have also gone on vacations staying in motels and eating out. What we do ahead of time is to go on the internet and do some research on the areas we are visiting. Every location has loads of information for tourists or visitors; try to find city home pages. I look for any discounts on rooms, meals, local attractions, tours, etc. I have found coupons/discounts that can be used for meals, shopping, local attractions, tours, hotel rooms, etc. If we are thinking about camping, I check websites for campgrounds in the state we are visiting-don’t forget state parks, corp of engineer parks, as well as national parks and private campgrounds. Some campgrounds give discounts, so check on this before you make a reservation.
    I make estimates after doing my research as to which way would be more economical to travel; either taking our camper, or going in our mini SUV and finding places to stay and to eat. We always bring a cooler along, with drinks, ingredients for sandwiches, yogurt, fruit and veggies. We save alot of money on meals this way; also, on the cost of drinks, which are $2 or more to buy. Depending on how far we are traveling, the cost of gas, and prices of lodging/meals in the area we are visiting; sometimes it is cheaper to take our SUV-rather than our camper.
    We like to stay in “mom and pop” motels, or in cabins whenever possible; they are often $50 or less per night. Occasionally, we will stay in a bed or breakfast; some are very reasonably priced and include morning breakfast. We have traveled for a whole week and spent less than $1000 for the two of us on everything; one trip on a motorcycle with small trailer behind was just slightly more than $500 for 9 days. We have found that sightseeing is very inexpensive; many state or federal sites, or local parks are free or have low entrance fees. We love seeing Mother Nature at her best. Talk to local people once you reach a location, and they can steer you to places worth seeing. We spent a week in the Upper Peninsula in Michigan a few years ago, and most of our sightseeing was free. We found many lighthouses, scenic overlooks, went to several state parks, and walked to many waterfalls. A ranger at one of the first state parks we visited gave us lots of brochures and maps; he had loads of information to share on which were the best sites to visit.
    Another inexpensive experience is to check out interesting neighborhoods in the areas you visit. Again, we eat out of our cooler during the daytime; saving meal expenses for an occasional breakfast, or dinner at restaurants, roadside diners, or festivals. Don’t forget local events or festivals which are often free to attend, and have entertainment, demonstrations, and ethnic foods. Here in Iowa, many communities have Heritage Days, October Fest, Apple Harvest festivals, various holiday parades and celebrations, etc.
    So check out the areas you are visiting very thoroughly; you will save a bundle.

  8. Megan

    We brought empty water bottles to fill at the drinking fountain after passing through security at the airport. Go to a grocery store for picnic items instead of a restaurant.

  9. Maman A Droit

    Check out the local tourism website, and sign-up for their e-mail list when you are planning your trip. Most medium and large cities have them and some have great deals for hotels. I signed up for tourism e-mails from my parents’ city and save a ton everytime we visit!

    My other trick is to buy water bottles at the grocery store or Wal-Mart at our destination and stock our hotel mini-fridge up with our own water.

  10. Mir

    I’d say compare, compare, compare and compare some more! Sometimes when you go on the hotel’s website, you’ll find a far better deal than anywhere else. Sometimes not.
    If you are adventurous – use hotwire.com
    Tripadvisor is great when you want to see pics of hotels taken by people who stayed there plus their comments and ratings (not always objective but if more than 500 people have rated and the rating is bad then the odds are they are right). It also has ratings for area restaurants and things to do.
    cheapoair.com sometimes has best deals on tickets, sometimes it’s yahoo travel, sometimes it’s the airline itself that offers the best price. I’d say it’s only been once that one of the big popular ones (priceline, expedia etc.) has beaten the price – I’ve purchased from Orbitz just once and we travel quite a bit.
    So just compare and grab a deal when you see it!

  11. Cori

    I’ve worked in hospitality and I can say this, call the hotel you’re interested in directly. When you go through a “discount” site, the hotel doesn’t always stand behind the offer. You might think you’re getting a non-smoking room, but that promise was made by a third party not the hotel.

    Additionally with those discount sites you are paying a middle man. Call the hotel directly (not an 800-number) and ask to speak with a supervisor directly. Say that you found the following rate but would prefer to book directly through them, can they match or beat it. The hotel might say yes.

    Also, let the hotel know why you are coming in. The place I worked had many discounts available, but you would need to say the magic words to get it. It was located in a touristy area, but a very large hospital was also within a few miles. If you were coming in for the hospital, we offered a corporate discount. Visiting a local college? Those guests also got a special rate.

  12. Amy

    I’m a planner by nature so when it comes to vacations I like to plan ahead as well. It works well though because I have found out a lot of touristy type places have discounts online when you book ahead. Or they may have coupons, package deals, free days for museums (usually in the middle of the week) and discount days. It helps to plan ahead the amount of money we need for these places as well so we set a budget and try not to go over it. Also we love to get out into nature and that doesn’t cost a thing! 🙂 We love to find new parks and hidden spots that offer more than money can buy. 🙂
    Have fun all! We are finally getting a vacation next week and I can’t wait!! 😀 We are going to a cave, Amish Colony, and a Laura Ingalls Wilder museum/house, among other things. Gotta love the Midwest. 😉

  13. Erin

    Wherever you are going to vacation, contact their local chamber of commerce or tourism board. They will send you free travel guides of things to do and usually can recommend places to you based on what you are interested in doing and your budget. These people are an endless supply of local information that you might not find online.

    • Erin

      Oh and also look into City passes…they offer them for larger cities. It gives you a multi-pass for a huge discount to different attractions around the city.

      • Cindy B

        yes the city passes are a great deal. We did one for SOuthern California and it had 3 day Disneyland, and a day each at Sea World, San Diego zoo and Universal Studios for like $250, and it was even cheaper when we boughtthem online through costco. They also have a city go card with a lot attractions on them too.

  14. Jenny

    With the economy right now so many people are trying to stay on a budget but still go on a great vacation. I’m a travel agent and there are numerous promotions out there especially on cruises and all-inclusive vacations. Just a word of warning when using discount sites sometimes the prices seem to good to be true and they don’t turn out to be what you expect. By using a travel agent you have expert advice on the location, hotels, etc. Some travel agent charge fees for their service. Being the owner of my agency I do not charge any booking fees. My service is free to my customers. The personal attention to every trip is key to making sure my clients have an excellent vacation. And most of the time we get the same or better deals than the discount sites.

    If anyone needs advice on a vacation or would like pricing, please let me know. I’m a daily hip2save reader and would like to help you decide on a great vacation. My website is http://www.premiertravelescapes.com if you would like to contact me.

    Thanks Collin for all that you do with your blog. I just love it!
    Jenny

  15. Takako

    If you want to save where you stay, check at ” motelguide.com”. They have each city and each state of “mom and pop” motels list. When my family was on trip last time we used a one of that motel. The owner couple was really nice and room was super clean. The price was less than half of other chain motels. Although those motels doesn’t always have their websites, you can try it if you have flexible schedule.

  16. Cindy B

    I usually check out the hotels on expedia or orbitz to get an idea on which hotels are there and on what kind of reviews they were given. I usually get better deals on the hotels websiteor by calling the hotel. I sign up for all the email clubs becuase sometimes you can get a great price through that. I got a $175 hotel room for $99 once becuase of that.

    We visit amusement parks ALOT. Probably at least 4 different ones a summer, and then probably those at least twice. We buy seson passes, andplan our vacations around going to those parks. We go camping at some and some we go to hotels, but we always bring at least snacks and always bring our own water bottles. Most places (haven’t found one yet who won’t) will let you bring in water bottles, some will even let you bring in a small soft side cooler. We often pack a lunch and eat it tailgate style in the parking lot. Also a lot of people do not realize that many parks offer free classes of ice water, just ask. You can get them at nearly any food stand, just not at the carts. We always go back to the hotel or camper in the middle of the day to rest and avoid the crowds during the hottest and busiest times of the day.

    We brig a toaster with us when a hotel does not offer free breakfast, and make pop tarts and toast. we also bring our own coffee and filters because we drink coffee a lot so the little 4 cupper is not going to do it for us. If it is during spring or fall we bring hot cocoa with us too to drink when we get back to the hotel.

  17. April

    I guess I should have mentioned the pricing for the Wyndham vacation condo rentals start at 379$$ for a week!

  18. mke250

    You can check out betterbidding.com to see which hotels Priceline and Hotwire offer at the various * star levels. It also has a page where people list their winning bids for certain cities. It gives you an idea of what to bid to have it accepted.

  19. maggie

    How about supporting local businesses, and using a travel agent? They do all of the work for you, and many do NOT charge fees! They get the exact same deals as the online agencies, and save you tons of time.

  20. Dianne

    We are going on a driving vacation soon, and I have been saving my CVS ECBs to use for drinks & snacks. It’s a painless way to save up & should beat what gas stations/convenience stores charge hands down (plus I never pay full price at CVS, so even more savings)! Thanks to Collin & her wonderful readers for some great ideas that we can use on our vacation!

  21. Nicole

    We do some of the things mentioned above but also like to plan last minute. We went to Disney when they had buy 4 get 3 nights free for the resort and tickets, we saw it online and left the next month. I know not everyone can do that (we don’t have children but did take our 2 nieces and usually do take them on most of our vacas). We went to the largest indooor USA waterpark, Kalahari resorts in Ohio, after they had a suite package for very cheap. We tend to keep an eye on the places we want to go and then jump once we think the price is right. And we always go off season. We bring our own breakfast. We went on a 14 day cruise once the price got down to $599 a person (plus we had $1,000 off a cruise through our credit card, which our wedding was paid for on) so we paid very little. We saw the cruise at the beg. of March and left at the end of March.

    When we drove to disney we brought our plug in cooler/mini fridge and stored milk and snacks. Yes, sometimes when we go on vacations with people we look cheap by doing this but we haven’t found the money tree yet (lol) and it allows us to go more places by watching our money. And most important live within our means.

    Great topic – I have already bookmarked some of the ideas mentioned so I can keep an eye on the price/prize. lol

  22. Maggie

    Check out VRBO.com for deals on renting a home or condo in your destination, instead of a hotel. The owners often will negotiate (I have had some agree to give me a fifth night free, if we stay four). Having a full kitchen to prepare meals makes it SO much cheaper to take a vacation.

    If you are connected to anyone who is active-duty military, or retired military, I strongly recommend checking out the Armed Forces Vacation Club! They are a clearinghouse for unused time-share rentals in great destinations. They typically costs $369 per week (flat rate) –anywhere they have space (including many luxury resorts that normally cost over a thousand a week). Right now there’s a promotion with spotlight destinations only costing $299/week. That’s for a fully furnished condo in some nice resort. They have space all over the world, too. http://www.afvclub.com

    • Tiff E.

      Just to add to the VRBO comment – lots of condo owners give great discounts for last-minute bookings. It can be a little stressful to wait until the last minute, but if you’re traveling during the off-season and know there will be rooms somewhere, you can get great deals just because owners want to rent the condo at ANY price, rather than leave it vacant. My mother always does this and gets amazing deals.

    • RM

      we always use vrbo I just a few minutes ago booked a 2 br 2 bath on the beach 3 pools for 750.00 total! for the week. Has all we need kitchen 3 tvs we love vrbo. Can’t wait to go wahoo! I highly recommend vrbo check it out for your next vacation go to http://www.vrbo.com

  23. Margie

    If available for your destination, buy an Entertainment Book. We went to Oahu in May for a family reunion. My sister and I each bought an Entertainment Book for less than $10 (found the deal on H2S). Kept the Safeway coupons ($20) at home and packed the book. Totaling all the coupons we used, we saved over $100 each in Hawaii (and I got her Safeway coupons). Since we didn’t need the books at home, we left them for the next visitors renting the house.

  24. Sara

    Betterbidding.com will help you figure out the hotel on Priceline and Hotwire.

  25. Carol

    This is a great post Collin because so many parents think it’s too expensive to go on holiday. We signed up for Choice Privileges years ago which would give us free nights when we stayed 2 or 3 nights and we’d always “deal” with the clerk at the front desk. Many times, they would offer us a ridiculous rate just because they needed the room filled. We’d always make sure the hotel served a hot breakfast bar so all we’d need at lunchtime was fruit and snacks which we snagged from the breakfast bar (we’re not big eaters so I felt that was OK). I always took plenty of food with us so I could make sandwiches or other snacks when we were travelling in the minivan and we’d always have coupon booklets with us for dinners out and we’d split dinners. You never see wasted food left on our table!!
    And I never leave town without my coupons.

  26. LB

    Travelocity’s price guarantee is NOT very flexible. I booked a trip (flight + hotel) and the price was $300 less the next day for the EXACT SAME TRIP on their web site. They said it didn’t qualify. They said the trip had to be booked before March 30 with a departure date before April 30. So, I think their Low Price Guarantee only works if you were taking a trip before April 30.

  27. Mama Bear

    I haven’t traveled in a while, but we always try get a room with a kitchenette. You can save a bunch by making most of your own meals. Even with just a refrigerator you can make sandwiches and have your own snacks. Always ask about discounts! Most places won’t give you one unless you ask and usually offer them for military, AAA, etc.

  28. terri

    google search the area to see if they have timeshare rentals, you can get a really good rate (if not free) for 1 or 2 nights if you go on a tour….it’s a great value!

  29. Kelli

    Entertainment.com is a great way to save when traveling. We are taking a trip to Disney in the fall and took advantage of them last year and intend on doing it again. You can sign up on their site and take advantage of the Entertainment book from across the US, by printing the coupons from the book online. They are good for about two weeks after you print them, so you’ll have to do it close to your trip. We found out where our condo is and printed off quite a few discounts to restaurants and other entertainment coupons we’ll take advantage of. I just subscribe for one month and then cancel when I get home. Im also looking at Groupon and Restaurant.com for dining discounts in the Orlando area to take advantage of- and Ive found quite a few!

  30. Molly

    We always google “kids eat free” in the town that we are staying. That saves us some money. Also, we let our kids pick out their own boxes of snack so it is a little extra special for them.

  31. Celia

    We purchased Restaurant.com gift cards for our trip to San Diego. Not only did we save money on food, but we didn’t get stuck not knowing where to eat! It was fun looking at the restaurant menus and fun to save money.

  32. Kimberly Harris

    we just returned from a wonderful florida vacation in Orlando and Daytona. Stayed in a condo everything was super great. The bad note on the resturants.com deals??? I had purchased a 25.00 gift card and after searching the site found a dinner cruise on starlite in Daytona. Yaaa right??? Since that is where we was going. To make a long story short the total with the gift card was $161.00 for three people. We found a advertisement for starlite dinner cruses for 39.00 a person. Would not recommend the resturant.com giftcards.

  33. Michelle

    Just booked a Walt Disney World vacation thru small world travel that I found on mousesavers.com. I saved over $300 booking with them-even cheaper than my AAA discount. Mousesavers will give you tips on traveling, food, places to save, links for deals on park admission etc. Well worth looking into!

  34. Jo

    Cash in your credit card reward points for restaurant gift cards and sign up for those same restaurants’ email clubs to get free appetizer coupons (or whatever they offer, sometimes a dessert).

  35. Erin

    Were planning a trip to Disney World in March 2011. Does anyone have any tips for getting deal on hotel room on the Disney complex and tickets for the parks? Thanks soo much for any suggestions!

    • Alaine

      Check out the blog Couponing to Disney. I’m sure she has a TON of money saving tips for Disney!!

  36. Alaine

    Definitely do your research. We got a better deal booking directly through the hotel website than at orbitz, expedia, etc when we booked our trip recently. Also, it was cheaper for us to book 2 one-way tickets instead of a round trip ticket. When I go on vacation, I usually draw up a budget that helps me estimate how much I’m going to spend on food, drinks, and whatever activities we want to do, plus transportation and tips, and print out that sheet and bring it with me. If I spend less on one thing, then I’ve got more for another, but this way I don’t have to worry about having to eat at a particular restaurant and can be a little more spontaneous. If you know you want to do a particular activity, check and see if booking online in advance can save you some money – worked for us recently! And, if you are making reservations online for anything, check to see if shopathome or ebates will give you cash back!

  37. Jamie

    I want to send out a warning about Orbitz. I went on a trip recently and a few weeks after it was booked I received an e-mail saying that the trip was booked for $76 less per person, so that means with price assurance I will be saving $152 and I can expect a check by doing nothing 4 – 8 weeks after my trip! I had a great time on my trip but I called the company 8 weeks after it was over asking where my check was. They said since I booked a PACKAGE hotel and flight deal that I was not eligible for the check. I thought it was unethical that they would send me an e-mail saying I will be getting a large check only to tell me after the trip that I was not eligible. They do not advertise that if you book a package then you get nothing, and worst of all, they will e-mail you telling you about the great deal that someone else just got and YOU WILL GET NOTHING. I will NEVER book with Orbitz again and I hope everyone here will think twice before they do as well.

  38. houston coupon deals

    Just type the word Disney coupon deals in Google. I’m sure you will find great deals that will help you save money in your trip to Disneyland.

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