Mom! Can we go to LEGOLAND?
Mom! Can we go to Magic Mountain?
Mom! Can we go to Disneyland?
Mom! Can I go horseback riding? Rent a WaveRunner? Buy a surfboard? Go to Atlantis? Go on a Disney Cruise?
Chances are if you have a child that can talk, you have heard some of these questions.
American Express conducted a survey and discovered that the average person planned to spend approximately $1,180 PER PERSON on a summer vacation. So a family of four might spend $4,720 on a getaway. We all want happy, enriched children. And sometimes the tendency is to toss money at a situation. Now, I’m just as much to blame as anyone. I try to say yes as often as I can. There is nothing like the smile on my child’s face when he sees the Magic Kingdom or watches a swashbuckling pirate dinner show. But there is a way to say yes and still mind your money. Yes…there is a way to be summer smart!
Below are 12 great (and some little known) websites that will help cut fees or boost the bang for your buck this summer. Enjoy!
- www.airfairwatchdog.com – Search for best flight deals out of any airport. Sometimes the not-so-popular airports offer the best deals and the airline fees will be apparent.
- http://savingsangel.com/ – A great site that promises to teach you how to be an enlightened shopper. Free coupons, daily deals, freebies and inspiring podcasts.
- http://www.smartdestinations.com/ – Check out these awesome “Go City” cards that will save tons of money on (usually crazy expensive) attractions.
- www.vrbo.com – If you have a good-sized family or want to include extended family or friends, check out this site. Parents can have their own rooms and weekly rates are usually much better than hotel rooms, plus you get a kitchen which can save on eating out.
- www.airlineconsolidator.com – If you plan to travel internationally this summer, this is a great site. This site specializes in flights originating in the U.S. and Canada with great deals to Asia, Africa, Central and South America, Europe, Middle East, South Pacific and the Indian subcontinent.
- www.uber.com – Instead of renting a car or traveling by taxi, learn about Uber. They promise to be better, faster and cheaper than a taxi. No nutty meter will be running.
- www.mint.com – This site can help you to strategize inexpensive creative ways to create a summer packed with fun. Check out their article on “9 Easy Ways to Save Money this Summer.”
- www.autoslash.com – Searches for the best codes to discount car rental rates and will automatically rebook if rates drop.
- www.trekity.com – Specializes in women’s travel. Has entertaining stories and ideas and features a great article on 101 ways to save money on your next trip.
- www.fueleconomy.gov – This site covers all issues concerning money and fuel and will teach you easy, practical tips to improve your fuel economy when the weather is hot.
- www.parents.com – You may know this site but take some time to explore their sections on money-saving travel tips for families. Some great stuff on vacation planning, flying with a baby, packing checklists and best hotels for kiddos.
- www.tripomatic.com – A do-it-yourself, one-stop shop for planning a trip. Allows you to plan your own itinerary, has walking-friendly maps, searches for deals on tours, hotels and rental cars.
Just a few last tips and tools…
Don’t forget to bust out your memberships like Costco, AARP or AAA. The best time to buy tickets is Tuesdays and Wednesdays (weekends are most expensive). Check out deals at your local movie theater. Regal Theaters offer $1 Tickets for all ages to PG and G early movies mid-week. Also click on the “Arts and Culture” Section of the Target website for deals on events that are happening in your city. Grab a great book called Buy Shoes on Wednesday and Tweet at 4:00 by former investigative journalist Mark Di Vincenzo. Visit your local museums websites for their “free days and nights” specials throughout the summer. For more information about Women and Money, please visit http://www.womenwealthywise.com.
Happy Summering with the kiddos!