Summer Travel

Its that time of the year when summer fun is just around the corner. For many families this is also the time to make or finalize a much anticipated family summer trip. This year with gas prices raising steadily and the economy at a virtual standstill many families will be looking to cut costs if not cancel their family summer travel plans entirely. Not to worry the travel industry geniuses have taken notice which means there are still some great deals that families can take advantage of this summer. Here are some suggestions on how to find those great deals:Think local and expand your horizons. Depending on where you live there are some great deals popping up to attract local residents to high tourist areas. Look for smaller hotels or resorts that are not part of a national chain. These resorts or Bed and Breakfast type properties are often hidden gems that offer a unique experience at a low cost. Because they are not heavily marketed you may find the quality far exceeds that of a national chain for the same cost. In order to find these first choose an attraction or tourist area within driving distance. Next decide on a budget. Third go to the yellow pages of that area and find local hotels. Try to avoid Google since most keywords will be taken by paid ads which means a small hotel is not likely to bid on those and you will miss it.Go to Expedia LAST. I know we have all been brainwashed into going to Expedia first and then trying to beat their price with hours of wasted research. The truth is that this practice is usually fruitless since most hotels that are on Expedia will not likely be significantly cheaper with any of their obvious competitors such as Orbitz, Travelolicity etc. or even the hotel directly. Yes people there was once a time when this was called price fixing or a monopoly but we will leave that discussion aside for another time. Need less to say trying to beat an Expedia price is like driving around your neighborhood trying to find cheaper gas. You may find it but the cost savings will be heavily negated by the gas you spend finding the thrifty deal!! A better idea is to look in the least obvious places first. Here are some suggestions:Sign up for those annoying deal based sites. Most of them now have travel sections and you may be surprised to see what pops up for your local area or the destination you plan to visit. When doing so be aware that you will be bombarded with emails from the moment you sign up so be very choosy and do not sign up for all of them unless you enjoy receiving 1000 emails a day from people trying to sell you stuff. Here are some of the ones I like and find somewhat worth the hassle for travel deals:,, may finally mean something again so if you go to the same place year after year or use the same chain when you travel you may be surprised how much cheaper they are this year. The point is that it cant hurt to ask especially since their competitor would gladly give you a discount for your business.Power in numbers, not anymore! If you are planning to attend a wedding or family reunion you may think that booking with the herd is going to offer you the better deal. Not necessarily! Hotels know that if you are there for an event chances are you are going to book no matter what the cost and their job is to fill up those rooms at the best cost supply and demand will allow them to. Instead try booking the hotel outside of the group on your own reservation if you still have time and the hotel has availability for those dates. Chances are that if the hotel is not completely booked or close to it when you book your room you will get a better deal.Go visit that dinosaur called your local travel agent. Once upon a time in a land far far away before we all had internet access we went to a local travel agent to book our travel and pick up nice colorful brochures with loads of information. Guess what there is only so much of a discount that hotels will offer millions and millions of internet users!! Instead go to a local travel agent if there is one in your area. They may have access to tons of deals that the hotels do not allow to be advertised on any pubic domain. That means the internet! As an added bonus you will get the benefit of good customer service and save lots of time surfing the net!

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