Are you planning for an upcoming family vacation? If you're like many people, you'll want to take advantage of as many discounts to keep your trip within a reasonable budget. While you can find plenty of discounts even before you're out the door, there are other discounts you may discover once you arrive at your vacation destination. Many of these are quite obvious, but here's a list of discounts any city offers to help make your vacation both entertaining and more affordable.
You may be able to find a great deal for lodging though online travel sites like Hotels.com, Expedia and Priceline. There's even bargains galore for last minute deals from mobile apps like Hotel Tonight. But you may secure a better deal simply by calling a hotel directly and asking what the best rate may be. Another option is to visit a property's website to find what available discounts are offered such as for AAA and AARP members, active military members and veterans organizations like the American Legion.
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As with lodging, members of organizations like AAA, AARP and the American Legion can receive discounts from a number of participating restaurants. But several restaurants also offer loyalty club memberships like Applebee's and IHOP, which typically offer discounts of 10 percent when dining out. Regardless of the city you're visiting, you'll likely find coupons to local dining establishments from brochures and newspapers provided at your hotel. One of the best ways to save money while traveling is a two-for-one coupon, where one person eats free or receives a free entrée. Of course, if you're traveling with kids, look for restaurants that offer children's discounts or better yet, restaurants where kids may eat for free, whether it's for each paying adult or some other provision. And don't forget the discounts or rewards you can receive by being a card member of a grocery store chain like Safeway, Whole Foods and Kroger.
Additional Military Discounts
If you are an active military member, retiree or veteran of the U.S. armed forces, you may be entitled to other discounts in addition to lodging and dining like museum passes, movie tickets and sporting events. Other available discounts include retail discounts, haircuts and outdoor recreation. Military.com is a well-established resource for up to date information on discounts, but veterans organizations like the American Legion and VFW also offer an array of member benefits.
Most any American city offers free days to leading attractions like museums and zoos in addition to information on places that are always free. Take for example New York City's official tourism website, featuring a long list of top tourist attractions with free days, like the Bronx Zoo, Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), the Guggenheim Museum and the Frick Collection. But small to mid-sized cities also offer free days like free admission to the New Mexico Museum of Art in Santa Fe and free admission to the Denver Art Museum the first Saturday of every month.
Discounts For Attractions
If free days are unavailable during your visit, you can always find reduced prices to most any top attraction. Some are quite obvious like discounts to Disneyland and free admission to national parks for active military members. Similarly, AAA and AARP members can enjoy discounts at Disneyland as well, in addition to Yosemite National Park and Universal Studios. As with dining and lodging, discounts to local attractions can be obtained by visiting the local tourism office, its website or through travel brochures available at your hotel or elsewhere in the city. A close inspection of Charleston's official tourism site shows discounts for dining, lodging and attractions like Charleston Harbor Tours, the Charleston Museum and Charleston Tea Plantation.
Randy Yagi is a freelance writer covering all things San Francisco. In 2012, he was awarded a Media Fellowship from Stanford University. His work can be found on Examiner.com Examiner.com.
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