Planning a vacation is an investment in your family and your relationships. Spending time together, making memories, and experiencing new things together all help to grow your bonds. There are a lot of details to consider and one of them is your budget. Getting the best price, and more importantly, the best value for your vacation dollars is very important.
The first thing to consider before we share our tips is there are two ways to save. One is in the cost or dollar value itself. This is having the same experience at a lower cost. We also discuss how to get the best value for your dollars. Sometimes saving money is not just about spending less, but getting more. We not only want you to get a great price on your vacation BUT also get an amazing value for the time and money you are spending.
Our Top 5 Tips for Saving Money and Getting the Best Value for Your Vacation
Use a Travel Agent
Use a travel agent that specializes in the destination you are planning to visit. They should not only be an expert in your destination, but also in the needs of your family. If you have special needs, allergies, or any other concerns, you will want to talk to your agent about this upfront and be sure they know how to handle them.
Travel agents offer two types of help. On the one hand, they can help you get the best price for your vacation because they know the offers and promotions. Secondly, they know how to get the best value for your vacation. It may be an upgraded room that has amenities to save you time and money. It may be specific knowledge of the destination that helps you choose the right park ticket, transportation, or services that you need or don’t need to have the best vacation experience. You want to purchase what you need and pass on what you don’t need.
Sometimes the same service or experience will be cheaper if it is pre-purchased versus being purchased at the destination. This is where your expert travel agent helps you save money and ensures you get the best value from your vacation. To top it off, most travel agencies like Magical Memory Planners don’t charge a planning fee so all this help is yours for free.
The more flexibility you have in your travel plans, the more you can save. If you can travel in the off-season or shoulder season (before and after peak season), you can often save on many components of travel. If you are not set on a specific hotel or room type, you can choose the one that has a special promotion available. On cruises, you can sometimes book a guaranteed stateroom that is cheaper than selecting your cabin. Sometimes even leaving a different day of the week can make a difference. Flying Tuesday to Tuesday may save money over Saturday to Saturday. Oddly enough, extending your trip a day can sometimes be cheaper if the cost of the hotel is less than the flights.
There are many options for rewards out there. Many credit cards offer rewards for both airlines and hotels. You can also apply for a credit card with an airline and get bonus miles that may be enough for some free flights. You can also get gas rewards at Giant with the purchase of certain gift cards. Usually, in November you can get any gift card with rewards and it’s a great time to get Disney, Southwest, and other gift cards for travel. Other places like Target offer 5% off on Disney gift cards with your Target Red Card and BJ’s has discounted Disney gift cards. As always, read the fine print to be sure you are getting a card or miles you can use for the trip you have in mind.
Stay in the Action
For destinations like Universal Orlando Resort, Disney World, and Disneyland there are great advantages to staying in the action. Unlimited express passes at Universal and staying onsite at Disney offer you many time-saving advantages and time is money. Getting the most out of your vacation while ensuring you don’t miss out on precious experiences is how to get the best value from your vacation.
Focus on Priorities
Our last tip for getting the most value out of your vacation is to focus on your priorities. What are your vacation priorities? Are your priorities activities and experiences, or dining and drinks, or accommodations and amenities? You may stay at a value resort, but get a VIP tour in the parks or a deluxe dining plan at Disney. You may choose an inside or ocean view cabin on a longer sailing to save money for special excursions. Or you may want to cruise in concierge for all the amenities, but skip some excursions or choose a shorter cruise.
Did you know you can book an inside cabin on the Disney Magic Mediterranean cruise and still add Adventures by Disney? Simple accommodations, but excellent experiences. Maybe splurge on the resort and spend more time relaxing and enjoying the amenities. It’s all about finding out what the priority is for your vacation and then putting your money in those priorities while saving money on the items that are less important to you.
So where will your next vacation take you? We hope these tips help you find that your next vacation may be closer than you thought and open you up to new ideas and combinations. We are experts in family vacations and would love to help you get the most out of your next vacation!