School is out, the sun is staying up late into the night, and families are hitting the road. Summer is the perfect time for travel when you have a school-aged child, but unfortunately it’s also peak season. That means you’ll be paying premium prices for your travel experiences. With a couple of hacks, you can still have a summer adventure without busting the bank.
- Get Free Flights and Accommodations: If you are good with credit cards, you can look into travel hacking. (If you’re not good with credit cards, stay far, far away.) Many credit cards offer big sign-up bonuses through points or miles. When you spend a certain amount of money (the minimum spend) within a set amount of time after you open the card, you can get big bonus points. The key to doing this is to make sure you pay your statement in full every single month so you don’t accrue any interest.
When you do this, you’ll want to start racking up points months in advance. That gives your points time to actually post to your account and then book using them before all the awards flights are taken by other travelers.
Two things to watch out for before using this method is thinking about if you’re going to buy a home in the near future and planning for blackout dates. Those who will be applying for mortgages soon may get a raised eyebrow from their lender if they have opened up a bunch of lines of credit to accrue points. If you’re traveling in the summer, you will likely run into blackout dates, especially when booking airfare. The best way to get around this is to keep your travel schedule flexible. If you do so, you’ll be able to find at least one set of dates that works for you during the summer months with flights available.
- Close cards before the one-year mark to avoid annual fees. Be sure to keep your oldest credit card open, though, as this heavily affects your credit score.
- Get Serious Discounts on Attractions: It’s great that you’ve gotten to your destination for free and don’t have to pay for accommodations, but once you’re there, the spending trap isn’t closed. Attractions, especially in major tourist destinations, can be a major money suck.
- Cut down on costs by researching in advance. See if there are any days that kids under a certain age get in free. Maybe you’re a nontraditional student yourself, and your student ID will get you a discount. Some places even reduce or eliminate admission prices for active duty military, veterans and their families as long as they have the proper ID with them.
- You can also cut costs by using coupons. Many hotels will have coupon books for local attractions in the lobby. A few months before your trip, you can start searching for related coupons on PromosPro.com. Go to the Travel category, you will find the best deals for everything you need. By watching these for a few months, you’ll have the best opportunity to find deals on the things you really want to do.
- Save Before You Go: The last thing you want to do when you’re on vacation is worry about money. Save more than you think you’ll need so that when you finally arrive you’ll be able to totally and completely relax. Shopping for deals is good, but do all that before you leave so your travels can be stress-free.