11 Money-Saving Tips for the ‘Thrifty’ Traveler

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Guest Post by Lora Shinn, Cascadia Kids Website:
  1. Skip the skies. Travel locally by car or train, and avoid flying vacations. You can stay for one night in a super-luxe Pacific Northwest island resort – or spend $300-$400 for just one flight ticket. Ask family to come and visit YOU, and rent an ocean-view Oregon home via a site like VRBO.com., splitting the cost among everyone.
  2. Of course, your four-star hotel doesn’t need to cost over $100 per night. Book your hotel room through mystery-savings sites like Priceline, using strategies like those I outline HERE.
  3. Travel in the off-season, if you can. Winter offers drop-dead rates throughout the Pacific Northwest. Spring and fall are more expensive, but still reasonable. Unfortunately, summer is expensive! But you’ll enjoy better weather.
  4. Go where the holidays aren’t. Canada and the U.S. don’t share the same holidays (of course) so you’ll find great deals in Vancouver or other destinations on our Thanksgiving holiday weekend, Fourth of July and other U.S. holidays.
  5. “Follow” your vacation. Subscribe to the Facebook, Twitter feeds and e-mail lists of your favorite hotels and attractions about a month before leaving. You may be able to score a social-media-only deal.
  6. Befriend the CVB. Check out the CVB (Convention and Visitors Bureau) for each destination you’re going to visit – visit the website, request print materials and swing by when in town. CVBs often have discounts, deals and coupons offered by chamber of commerce members. Be aware there could be other travel deals out there, though- but the hotel or business might not be a member of the CVB.
  7. Find the freebies. Use your local memberships to visit museums in a new city. See HERE for more explanation.  Sometimes you can also save by entering during the museum’s last hour – call ahead and ask whether this reduced admission is available.
  8. Eat breakfast in your room. Pack instant-oatmeal packets and use the hot coffee pot water to make warm apple-cinnamon in cups. If your room has a mini-fridge, yogurt and granola is delicious and filling. Or look for a hotel where breakfast is included, or where kids eat free.
  9. Lunch well. Eat your largest meal at lunch (less expensive menu) and a moderate meal at dinner. Or create a picnic from a local grocery store. Even if you go boutique with good bread, cheese, fruit and meat, it’ll still be less expensive than dinner and drinks. We always bring a picnic backpack (like one of these HERE) on our trips so everything’s at hand.
  10. Park it! When traveling with kids, remember that they’ll happily remember free parks, beaches and other ways of just hanging out. They don’t need to have a day packed full of expensive excursions.
  11. Alternate spendy days (going to a waterpark or zoo) with cheap fun (playing at a lake or the ocean)

Lora Shinn is a professional freelance writer for national magazines.  She also blogs about family-friendly Northwest travel deals, tips, & vacation ideas at Cascadia Kids.

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