How to save on accommodations for your next family vacation

Getting ready to plan your holiday travels? Early planners can reap the benefits of early bird specials, deals, and savings, making family vacations more affordable. Here’s how to save on accommodations for your next family vacation:

how to save on accommodations

Think long-term:

Instead of chasing last-minute deals, parents planning ahead have time to earn loyalty rewards. Start here, with a comparison of hotel loyalty reward programs to figure out which one is right for you. Then, if you have team travel, school field trip travel, or business travel between now and your family vacation, bank those points!

Plan to stay in one place:

Instead of booking hotel room stays in multiple destinations, plan to stay in one place for the length of your vacation. Rent a vacation home instead of paying for rooms (usually the best deal if staying for a week or more). The family will have room to spread out, you can save dough on meals in, transportation, and laundry, and everyone will feel more relaxed. Our favorite home vacation rental sites to work with:

HomeAway: Best for international rentals, city rentals, and off-the-beaten-path rentals.

Dwellable: Best for deals, resort-town rentals.

VacationRoost: Best for luxury rentals, ski town rentals.

Let someone else find the deals for you:

Sites such as HotelsCheap.org can find the best rates based on current room occupancy (and vacancies). What many parents don’t realize: using a discount hotel site can work when planning travel in advance, too. Be sure to add your hotel loyalty program number to your stay when you arrive; the front desk staff can do that for you. I spoke with HotelsCheap about planning family vacations. Read the interview here for inspiration!

For more options, check travel deals at ChameleonJohn.com. They have coupons and deals for 100’s of travel portals and hotel booking sites. Make sure to check them for better deals and savings.

Find hotels with concierge lounges and clubs:

Grand Club

It sounds like upgrading to a concierge level or paying for club lounge access at a hotel would be an extravagance. In fact, it can save families money, if they utilize it properly. For instance, Grand Hyatts offer their Grand Club, which, in most cases, includes a full breakfast spread, cold drinks and snacks all day long, and lunch offerings. In the evening, families can find appetizers and desserts. In some cases, an upgrade to club level is under $75 per night, which, for a family of four or five, can be the cost of a meal out. Plan to eat breakfast in the club, grab drinks for your day out, then eat dessert there at night: even if you’re away from the hotel most of the day, you’ll save substantial money. Select Starwood hotels offer their SPG Kids Pass upgrade during the summer months, which allow kids all-inclusive dining.

Remember that the extras add up:

If you’re staying at a luxury hotel that does not offer a concierge level worth paying for, remember that little things, such a parking, breakfast, and wifi, can add up over the course of a stay. To save hundreds over the course of a 3-4 night stay, it’s often easier to downgrade your hotel for its free amenities than find a web deal or coupon code. Pick a hotel away from a city center to get free parking, free breakfast, and free wifi. Bonus points if it’s right on a public transit line, so you don’t have to pay for parking in the city or resort town, too.

About the author

Amy Whitley AUTHOR: Amy Whitley is the founding editor of Pit Stops for Kids and content editor of Trekaroo. She writes on staff monthly as a family travel expert at Go Green Travel Green and Practical Travel Gear, and contributes to Outdoors NW as an outdoor adventure traveler. Find Amy at Google.

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