Ways to Save on Family Trips

ID-10035995Going on a family vacation can be difficult. Making sure the children have everything they need, figuring out whether the family should fly or drive and wondering how to transport all the luggage can all be concerning. However, one of the biggest worries on many parents’ minds is how to pay for the trip. Transportation, lodging, food and activities cost a great deal of money. The key is to find every little way that one can to save money.

Although driving can be more affordable than flying when it comes to transporting a large family, many families still prefer to fly. This is especially true for families with young children. There is no way that most children under the age of four will enjoy a 15-hour drive across the country. Flying is beneficial for most because children will only have to sit for a couple hours at a time, do not have to be buckled in as securely as they do in cars and will have a chance to stretch their legs and burn off some energy during layovers.

Of course, children under the age of two, often called lap infants by most airlines, can usually fly free. Some airlines will even transport a car seat and stroller free. However, purchasing tickets for the rest of the family can be tricky.

First, parents should know when and where to find tickets. Although it can be helpful to check a general travel search engine to see which airlines are cheapest and whether prices are expected to increase or decrease over the next several weeks, it is best to purchase flights directly through an airline. This makes it easier to change flight times, find missing luggage and find a new flight if the original flight was canceled due to bad weather. 

In fact, many airlines reward their best frequent fliers. For example, Delta, one of the most popular airline brands in the United States, especially since it merged with Northwest, runs the SkyMiles program. Anyone can sign up for SkyMiles and easily earn miles for every flight that they take. These miles can then be redeemed for a variety of rewards, such as newspapers and magazines, gift cards, toys and donations to charity. If these are things that a family plans to purchase anyway, the SkyMiles program can be a great way to save money. Miles can even be used for upgrades on flights.

However, families who are looking for an even bigger way to save on travel costs should consider a rewards credit card sponsored by their favorite airline. Rated by MileCards.com as a top mile credit card, the Delta SkyMiles American Express is a favorite choice. When used wisely, the miles can quickly add up, giving families money off on flights and even free flights both domestically and internationally.

Those who apply for the card will automatically get 30,000 bonus miles after using the card for $1,000 in purchases within the first three months. With the average domestic flight costing just over 32,000 miles, this is almost the equivalent of one free flight. Families who use their American Express card often will see the miles quickly adding up because each dollar that is spent equals one point. 

If this is not enough to convince travelers to check out this card, here is some more fabulous money saving news. The first bag for each member of the family can be checked free, priority boarding helps families with children settle into the plane before others board and Delta purchases earn two points for each dollar spent. Even when one stops to consider the $95 annual fee that kicks in after the first year, the savings on checked bags alone is worth this cost. According to Daily Markets, the Delta SkyMiles American Express is the perfect choice for frequent travelers who will spend less than $50,000 each year on the credit card.

There are a few other simple ways to save money on long distance travels. First, families should plan their trips far enough in advance to be able to budget for the expenses over several months. Second, they should be careful to budget for even small expenses, such as snacks and souvenirs, to ensure that there are no surprises. Third, families should consider flying on alternate dates in order to find the best airfares. Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturdays are usually the cheapest days to fly according to Fare Compare.

Rewards credit cards are one of the best ways to save money on vacations. When the American Express Delta Skymiles card is used consistently throughout the year, the reward miles will quickly add up, giving families money off tickets to go on vacation or to visit family and friends. For those on a budget, this is truly great news.

Image courtesy of photostock / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Tonya

Tonya is a video editor and writer living in Los Angeles who enjoys beach volleyball and running. To get the latest updates, be sure to subscribe. Check out her sister site Healthy, Fit, and Frugal.
  • the expat investor

    I try to stick with one airline but flying oversea is a
    little different and I find it hard to stick with one airline. I prefer delta
    also but I found many times where the price is way more expensive than the
    other airlines. Not sure if they have any better airline reward card out there,
    I need to look for one that is useful for oversea travel also.