24/7 MOMS

Friday, March 6, 2009

Frugal Living - Family Fun, Frugal Style


Have you cut back on family vacations? Are you looing for creative ways to travel for less? Then you have stopped in at the right place. Today we have some amazing travel tips and resources to help you plan a frugal vacation with your family. We at 24/7 MOMS know the importance of taking time to make memories with your family so get reading and planning your next frugal vaction.

Be sure to enter for today's frugal giveaway it is one of my favorite resources I use to save money all year long.


“Frugal, Affordable Vacations”


Spring is on the horizon--some of us have the days counted, don't we? Talk is out there, about spring break and inevitably, summer vacation. If you find yourself thinking, “We can’t afford a vacation.”, we’re here to help. Memorable, affordable adventures are possible.

Memories can be made with your children without traveling thousands of miles to Mickey or Minnie. Vacations spent playing tourist in your own state can be fun-and educational (don't tell the kids!) Find a map, close your eyes and point to your adventure! When you decide on a location, these are the steps to getting the most from your time away:

Begin your planning with a call to your destination’s Chamber of Commerce (and/or Convention/Tourist Bureau). Ask for coupons, dining recommendations, community events (theater, exhibits, etc). Follow-up your phone calls with some online research. Locate your destination local newspaper for a list of activities, events and retail/dining specials occurring during your visit. Yahoo’s “Local” feature gives you a native’s perspective on a place you’ve never been before: Local.yahoo.com.

Research the location and neighboring areas on tripadvisor.com. Recommendations from travelers can be found regarding lodging, attractions and dining for cities around the world. When you find places of interest, visit their homepages for promotions, menus and further information. When looking for a destination close to home, check out tripadvisor.com/tankofgas.

If airlines are part of your plan, Farecast.com suggests the cheapest time to travel to your chosen destination. Websites which will do the shopping for you; Kayak.com, Bookingbuddy.com. and AirFarewatchdog.com. Yapta.com will alert you via email when the price you paid for a fare has dropped. Depending on the fare and the airline, you may qualify for a refund/voucher.

When choosing lodging, compare prices, considering their kid friendly and comfort amenities (free meals, larger rooms, pools, etc.) Some family favorites are Embassy Suites & Holiday Inns- which offer family rates & promotions geared to make travel fun for all involved. Call the hotel directly for discounts and reservations, then compare them to the prices you find online. Bed and breakfasts are an option, for couples or family travel. Visit bedandbreakfast.com for more information. For families or couples interested in the other lodging options, homeaway.com, vacationhomes.com, vacationhomerentals.com, hostelworld.com, hospitalityclub.org and homeexchange.com are places to look.

Car rental deals can be found in much the same manner as lodging deals: research, compare and ask questions to get the best price. Two places to look for car rental deals: breezenet.com and americanexpress.com (you don’t need to be a cardholder to get the discounts.)—and, check with the rental sites directly for possible discounts. Check with your own auto insurance company to decide whether you need to purchase it through the rental agency. Guidelines have changed recently, in some cases making it necessary to purchase insurance that you might not have had to buy before.

Invest in an Entertainment coupon book. You can buy a book for every major city in the country. An Entertainment book, (Entertainment’s Slogan: “It Pays For Itself” – and it really does!) offers coupons for attractions, dining, movies, shopping and travel. Visit Entertainment.com, enter a zip code and see what you can save. (When you’re finished with the book, sell it to a resident of your vacation spot via Craigslist.org and you’ll make money.)

Dining is a major expense when traveling away from home. Here are some websites offering information on free meals and advance menu listings to help you find an affordable place to eat:
Opentable.com (view menus from thousands of restaurants), Mykidseatfree.com and Kidsmealdeals.com. A few more things to consider when dining out; eat out for lunch (taking breakfast and snacks with you from home (or bought at grocery stores using coupons), order water instead of beverages, split entrees between guests, and purchase gift certificates at discount prices (pay $10 or less for a $25, $50 or $100 certificate) using Restaurant.com (sign up for their email to receive coupon codes).

Frugal entertainment and attractions on the road – Consider these options:
National and State Parks, admissions to these are affordable. Many offer tours, informational programs and children’s’ activities. Visit nps.gov, aramarkparkanddestinations.com, and the website of your state’s parks department for more information. Would you like to trade city life for the farm on your vacation? Agrisport.com can tell you about a farm adventure which can be a memorable, affordable (duck feeding and other farm experiences await!) getaway option.
Websites which offer affordable vacation tips:

clarkhoward.com/travel – Clark offers short articles on saving money when traveling.

associatedcontent.com – Type the destination, event or attraction you’re traveling to, for viewpoints and reviews.

budgettravel.com- In blog format, this site is focused on traveling on a budget, around the world.

localharvest.org and apps.ams.usda.gov/FarmersMarkets to find farmers markets, local farms and other agricultural information.

frugaltravelguy.blogspot.com

Realize that a memorable trip is not defined by miles but by memories. Pack your camera and capture your vacation in your family scrapbook. (Don’t forget to pack your home” creature comforts”, dollar-store journals for each of the children, and a few fun surprises to ease the length of travel). Mail yourselves postcards too, as these pictures will be something to enjoy in years to come. Close to home vacations can be an awesome opportunity to journal your family’s time together; documenting where & with whom your children were raised. Show yourselves a good time and share with your children some of their heritage.

Whether you plan to get away or stay home and play, invest some time into planning some memorable, educational and fun activities. Once you have embarked on your adventure, remember to savor the journey, wherever it takes you.

Today's Frugal Living Giveaway:

The Entertainment ® Book, often referred to as the “big coupon book”, offers consumers thousands of dollars in savings for local and national restaurants, retail, entertainment & sports, travel and professional services. In today’s tough economic climate, the Entertainment Book is an excellent resource to help consumers stretch their budget.

Did you know the following about the 2009 Entertainment book?

· Every Entertainment book contains thousands of dollars in savings while supporting local schools and community groups

· Americans saved more than $1 billion dollars last year using the Entertainment book

· Consumers can get 2-for-1 deals and save up to 50% and at restaurants, movie theaters, retailing shopping, hotels, airlines, sporting events, dry cleaners and more.

· You can get your local Entertainment book from local schools, community groups and non-profits or on http://www.entertainment.com/

· Upon purchase, consumers can register their Entertainment membership cards, included in each book, at http://www.entertainment.com for access to thousands of additional printable coupons, coupon codes, hotel offers, special online discounts and other member benefits.

· Monthly and yearly online-only memberships are also available and provide access to coupons from each of Entertainment’s 150 markets and all national retail partners.

24/7 MOMS and The Entertainment Book are giving away one coupon book. To enter for your chance to win, enter your name and email address in the box below you will be signed up for today's giveaway as well as be added to the 24/7 MOMS E-list (if you are not already a 24/7 MOMS subscriber).




Frugal Quotes for Thought:
"Nothing is a waste of time if you use the experience wisely"—Rodin
"Success is getting what you want. Happiness is wanted what you get." --Dale Carnegie

Frugal Book Review:

“Get Clark Smart; The Ultimate Guide for the Savvy Consumer” and “Get Clark Smart; The Ultimate Guide to Getting Rich from America’s Money-Saving Expert”.

Clark Howard, (Clarkhoward.com) whose syndicated radio show, books and website, and weekend Headline News Network television program offer a valuable variety of financial insight, talks to you like a helpful neighbor. His experience and passion for teaching consumers to “Save More, Spend Less and Avoid Getting Ripped Off” is evident in the way that he presents what will positively change your financial circumstances. Short, practical articles are followed by tip reviews in each chapter, and contact information to take action. Clark not only tells you where to look for a deal, but how to arm yourself in situations of negotiation, identity theft, and investments. Read these before you need this information, and pass it along to others.

Tip:
Visit Clark’s website for an extensive list “Free and Cheap” opportunities (travel, family, utilities, and more).


Frugal Living Event Note: Friday, March 13 we will feature “Stay-Cations” tips, for frugal family fun at home.

Upcoming Saturday: Bargain Shopping!

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1 Comments:

Anonymous Jason from Money Theory said...

Great post! Thanks so much for all the links and resources.

I so agree that you can have wonderful family vacations without flying to exotic locations and spending a bunch of money.

I'm definitely all for spending vacations at our National Parks. They are beautiful, fun, and so cheap.

Some of my best childhood memories are from taking family vacations at parks.

And a lot of our parks are really struggling right now in this economy - it would be wonderful if as many people as possible could support them!

Thanks again,

Jason

March 8, 2009 at 2:19 PM  

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