5 top tips to saving on your summer vacation

Planning a memorable summer vacation without breaking the bank

My husband and I have four kids. That’s a big bunch, especially when it comes to family travel. When we go on vacation we bring giant inflatable pool toys and coordinated pajamas. We go hiking, and zip lining, and white water rafting. The kids write songs at the back of the bus and provide impromptu renditions at dinner.

We’re loud and fun, we let our hair down (I go really wild and let the kids have chocolate syrup on their waffles and cake for breakfast). It’s what we need to bond and reconnect. As a mom, I want my kids to see the world. I want them to step out of their everyday surroundings and experience something new. I want them to make memories and learn new things.

We set aside time for travel because it’s important to us as a family—and that means we need to plan ahead! You don’t get anywhere as a family of six without some serious planning and budgeting.

I know what you’re thinking. The snow is still ankle deep, the kids are still bundled up in their mittens, but summer will be here in the blink of an eye. Trust me, soon enough you’ll be buying Easter eggs and planning your Fourth of July weekend.

To make life easier for us parents, Expedia has put together five great saving tips that will help make the most of your summer travel this year.

1. Book early

Like I said, don’t wait until the Independence Day streamers are in the supermarket. You can save big bucks by booking ahead. Do your research now. Expedia data shows the best hotel rates are available at least 21-28 days out so the more planning you do, the better! The same is true of flights where booking three weeks out can mean big savings. A recent fare search indicated that an economy ticket between Europe and the United States fetched nearly $2,000 when booked within 21 days before departure, but decreased to less than $1,300 when booked more than three weeks in advance, savings of almost $700 per traveler.

2. Package and save

Bundling your hotel and flight together can generate significant savings. Booking a package unlocks great rates, which means more spending money to make your family vacation extra special! A family of four can save up to 30 percent off a trip to London, or more than $2,500, or 25 percent off a trip to Mexico, or up to $1,450, just by booking their flight and hotel at the exact same time. Heading to Florida or California? Save more than 15 percent or 20 percent respectively by bundling your flight and hotel when you book.

3. Book Member Only Deals

The latest trend to hit the travel scene is a concept called Member Only Deals. Just by creating an account or signing into an existing Expedia account before you start searching for a hotel reveals special member only deals on hotels—10 percent off more than 70,000 participating hotels. That’s huge savings just by logging in.

4. Stay somewhere different

Keen to take the kids to New York but worried biting off the Big Apple is more than you can chew? Save money by staying in the Financial District rather than Times Square, where hotels charge top dollar. Staying out of the traditional tourist spots is a great chance to experience different neighborhoods, and in places like Battery Park City, there are new cafés and restaurants opening all the time. Plus, it actually feels like the real New York.

5. Make the most out of deals—and help saving children’s lives

Here’s my favorite tip, but it’s for a limited time only so act fast. Expedia supports the most magical place I’ve ever been to, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, and with our summer travel coupons you’ll have the chance to give back to the hospital through your purchases.

The St. Jude Hospital is a truly amazing place, it looks and feels more like a child’s fantasy elementary school than a medical facility and has helped find cures for everything from pediatric forms of leukemia to sickle cell anemia. We even have them to thank for their work on the flu vaccine! Last year our Dream Adventures program brought the power of travel to kids who need the feeling of getting away most, and with your help we want to continue sharing the joy of travel with these brave children. For more information and coupon terms and conditions, visit expedia.com/summervacation.

Whether your family is big or small, multigenerational or includes the dog and cat, these tips will help you have a memorable summer vacation without breaking the bank!

What are your tried-and-true tips for saving on summer vacations?

Expedia compensates authors for their writings appearing on this site, such compensation may include travel and other costs.

Sarah Waffle Gavin

As head of PR and communications at Expedia, Sarah Gavin holds responsibility for influential programs for the Expedia brand and is the force behind the creation of the Expedia Viewfinder blog. Sarah has a strong background in technology communications and came to Expedia after six years of working on the Microsoft business for Waggener Edstrom Worldwide. Part foodie, part tech geek, part mom, part traveler, when she's not strolling through the shops of Manhattan or sitting poolside in Mexico, she hangs her hat in the burbs of Seattle, Washington at the intersection of travel, technology, and motherhood.

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