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Have Fun On a Dime

By Cindy Samson

When times get tough, take a vacation. If you and your children need a break from the everyday hassles of life maybe it's time for a vacation. You may not have thousands of dollars in the bank but with the right advice you can enjoy a four star vacation on a two star budget. With a little frugality you can have a family friendly vacation on a family friendly budget.

First of all, it is in your best interests to pre-plan. Even if you only plan two months in advance every little bit helps. This time of pre-planning allows you to make small changes which will reap big rewards. Start saving your pocket change, start looking through the weekly circular, and make your own morning coffee instead of stopping by Starbucks for your quick fix. There are thousands of small changes that can make a big difference. So use your imagination and star saving towards that family vacation. Be sure to book your flight and hotel stay as soon as possible. Early booking is a great way to save with discounts online and by booking the hotel and fly together you can save even more. Don't be afraid to check discount travel websites for packages and specials. Hotels.com, Expedia.com, and Travelocity.com are no longer the only discount travel web sites out there. Over the years several smaller web sites have developed which can offer even cheaper discounts on airfare and hotel stays. You may even find your chosen travel destination included in a pre-existing package deal offered by the hotel; many hotels create vacation packages which include your hotel stay, transportation, and tickets to local hot spots. Take advantage of any offers which include free nights (such as stay three nights get one free).

One trick offered by most hotels is to book your room on the concierge, or executive, floor. Although there is usually a small fee for this service, around $30.00, some hotels will upgrade you just for asking. The perks include lounges, complimentary breakfast, snacks and sodas, plus special hors d'oeurves served nightly. This is simple switch which can make a big difference in your total food bill, especially if you are feeding you and your children. If you're booking travel arrangements then you may want to consider having someone else drive you. Although your car may become cozy you can find a reasonable price on Greyhound bus tours and Amtrak trains. Compared to flying these options are far more reasonable when traveling with two or more. Both options allow up to 25% off of children's fares and on select days of the week. So keep your eye on the prize and always review your options. In no time you'll be saving a ton of money and be on your way to a family fun vacation for a lot less.

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