Getting There and Staying: Some pre-planning and research saves time and money. Register with the websites listed below in the month or two before you plan to book and/or leave. They’ll update you with new specials as available. If you’re going to book online, begin your purchase through a site such as Ebates.com or Mypoints.com to receive either cash or points back from your purchase. Utilize Swagbucks.com for all of your “Google”-type searching and earn yourself some gift cards or cash.
Car Rentals: The best advice is to shop around online, then follow up your research with a phone call to the rental office. Ask for any and all discounts you may be eligible for. Consider a call to a local, non-franchised car rental office which may beat the bigger competitors. Rentalcars.com, Priceline.com, and Sidestep.com are three comparison sites. If you’re an Entertainment book owner, AAA member, or other club, check with them too.
Accommodations: Comparison shopping for accommodations is similar to the process of renting a car. Check with the comparison sites (priceline.com, orbitz.com, TripAdvisor.com, Expedia.com, and Kayak.com ). Before you book online, contact the hotel directly for unadvertised specials or last-minute booking discounts.
Factory Tours, Farmers Markets and Farm Tours: Affordable, fun and educational options for a family outing or road trip. Here are a few places to look: FactoryToursUSA.com, FactoryTour.com, LocalHarvest.org, FarmersMarket.net, FarmersMarket.com (explains how to use your I-Phone with their listings as well).
For Flea Markets, Google the city you’re going to visit, plus “Flea Market”
Eating Out as a Family: Bring your coupons! Search Craigslist and Chambers of Commerce for the cities you’re going to visit. These websites will also help make it more affordable: KidsMealDeals.com, Restaurant.com, Kidseatfree.com, and MyKidsEatFree.com
Entertainment.com: Purchase a book (they pay for themselves in a shopping or day-trip or two). You can also purchase a book for a city in which you’re going to visit. When you’re done with the book, sell it to a resident in person or via craigslist.
CouponDivas Have a National List of Kids DealsMeals : http://coupondivas.com/kids-eat-free/
Seeing the Attractions:
CityPass.com sells packaged-deal tickets for several cities. Be sure to comparison shop with other deal opportunities to get the best price.
Entertainment.com: A great place for attraction and activities discounts.
Ask at local visitors’ centers, the destination’s library, and youth centers for fun, cost-saving ideas. Also pick up a copy of the local newspaper (and read it online before you go for planning ahead).