EMILY BUCKLEY
editor in chief

 

I have evolved to the point in motherhood that getting a good deal on a bushel of peaches gets me pretty excited. So, you can imagine my thrill when I come across a $250 roundtrip ticket to Hawaii, or enough points on my credit card to pay for a hotel in Manhattan for four nights. Travel, especially travel with the whole family in tow, can get expensive quickly, but is still something we like to do regularly with our large family. Here are a few tried-and-true tips to help you get the most bang for your buck while adventuring with your crew.

• Consider traveling from a different airport than your “home” airport. If you don’t mind a road trip before your flight, departing from a different airport could save you some cash. For example, it is about a 6 hour drive from the Salt Lake City International Airport to Las Vegas and 8 hours to Denver, but the difference in airline ticket prices from one of these airports to far-off destinations, especially international destinations, can often be hundreds of dollars less. You may also make up some of your car travel time by avoiding layovers using this strategy.

• Subscribe to cheap flight-watcher services like Scott’s Cheap Flights or Flights from Home to get notifications on deals to locations you are planning to visit.

• Bring groceries to your hotel. Yes, part of the fun of traveling is checking out the local cuisine, but you can save a lot of money by avoiding convenience meals and picking up groceries for at least one quick meal at your hotel each day. Most hotels have at least a mini-fridge that can accommodate sandwich supplies for lunch on the go or yogurt and fruit for a quick breakfast.

• Avoid checking bags to save money on checked luggage costs. Consider booking lodging that has laundry facilities so you can do laundry halfway through your trip and pack lighter, in carry-on bags or backpacks.

• Save on airport parking for longer vacations by booking a hotel nearby the airport the night before your flight and taking advantage of their shuttle service to the airport. These hotels often charge much less to leave your car parked in their lot than the airport parking garages.

• Look at alternatives to rental cars. Rental car prices have skyrocketed since the pandemic began, leaving travelers with few affordable options. Consider renting a car through Costco, Autoslash, or Turo (the VRBO of car rentals, i.e., a peer-to-peer marketplace where you can rent cars from owners directly).

• Take advantage of multi-day attraction cards. Cities around the world offer things like City Passes that will save money on admission to major tourist attractions, museum admissions, and even ground transportation. Before you purchase, be sure to check at what age kids’ admission is free at these places. Some of your youngest family members may not need to pay for admission at all.

• Check your annual passes for reciprocal admission. For example, if you have an annual pass to The Leonardo and Clark Planetarium in Salt Lake City, you can access Association of Science-Technology Centers nationwide through their Travel Passport System.