The following is a guest post from Craig Ford who shares money saving vacation tips at Help Me Travel Cheap, and offers coaching on how to get free travel at the Travel Free Coach.
Editor’s note: I found this to be a very useful list as it filters ticket-buying sites and focuses more on ways to save once you arrive at your destination. This is especially helpful to someone like me who absolutely hates to fly, and is more interested in discounts on attractions and hotels than airline tickets.
1. Discover America
For a limited time (every weekday from April 11 – May 13, 2011), this website offers different vacation packages and deals every day. Previous expired offers included things like a night a Country Inn and Suites for $56 (April 21st, 2011) or a pass to Sea World for $39 (April 12th, 2011).
Each day you’ll need to be fast to have your chance to get in on these highly discounted offers.
FYI – Those who purchase with an American Express card save an extra 10%.
Yes, most of us have already heard of Groupon and Living Social.
However, before heading on vacation, you should set your accounts to show you deals for your vacation destination city. I’ve noticed that most Groupon type offers tend to be entertainment related, so this could be a great way to save extra cash on vacation.
Depending on the airline that you used to buy your plane tickets, you might be eligible for a refund if the price goes down. This is where Yapta enters the picture. Yapta allows you the chance to track the cost of tickets between two destinations. If the ticket purchase price goes down and your tickets are eligible for a refund, you can get money back from your plane tickets.
There are only a limited number of eligible cities that offer CityPasses, but if you happen to be going to one of these cities for vacation, you’ll find that your family can get in on a lot of cool activities for a great price.
Here’s a sample of the price and activities included in the San Francisco CityPass.
For $69 for adults and $39 for kids, you can get a Muni & Cable Car 7-Day passport. Additionally, you can get admission to the California Academy of Sciences, Blue & Gold Fleet Bay Cruise, Aquarium of the Bay, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA), and de Young Museum or Exploratorium.
This might be a stretch since it is not actually a website (though you can buy the book from their website).
The Entertainment Book is a money saving book that it packed full of coupons. With hundreds of 2 for 1 coupons, you can really minimize your vacation cost by keeping one of these in your rental car or backpack when you’re seeing the sights.
If you are the type of person who likes to plan every detail of your vacation, you might be able to use restaurants.com to help you plan out your meals for vacation. With Restaurants.com, you buy discounted gift cards for different restaurants. You can easily save $25 per meal.
If you are traveling to a destination that does not have a shuttle, you can check out this website and be sure you’ll be able to find the most economical way to get from the airport to your destination.
What websites do you use to help you save money on your vacations?