Nikki Beach, Lunch in St. Barths

4 ways to score a cheap vacation

Membership discounts, Groupon Getaways and more help keep vacation prices down

Guest post by Susan Pizarro

It’s surprising how inexpensive a vacation can be these days. There’s a popular conception that great vacations are only available to people who want to pay top dollar for them, but for those who are creative and flexible enough, there are a lot more possibilities for great and inexpensive vacations than you might think. Here are a few ways to go about finding some affordable vacations for you and your family.

Use Membership Discounts

isiccard

1Many membership programs will also allow members to get extensive discounts on vacations. AAA is a great example of this. While primarily used for car service, AAA offers discounts on a wide variety of trip components. It can definitely help to check any memberships you have to see if they contain vacation discounts.  If they do, then going with those will ensure you get a nice, cheap vacation.

{Editor’s note: for students looking to travel on a budget, don’t underestimate the power of your student ID and student-based memberships. The International Student Identity Card, amongst others, help students with steep discounts on travel and accommodations.}

Look for Military or Education Discounts

2In addition to standard membership discounts, there are also a variety of hotel chains that give discounts to active military. Choice Hotels, for example, gives 10 percent discounts to military ID holders, as well as a 10 percent bonus on points. Others include Marriott and Days Inn, which give a 15 and 10 percent discount, respectively. The Warwick International Hotel gives a 25 percent discount to active military personnel.

Try Groupon Getaways

Groupon Getaways

3Beyond memberships and affiliations, there are also travel sites like Groupon Getaways that have periodic deals on vacations all over the world, including a feature that locates where you are and suggests places nearby. You’re not limited to nearby places, though — you can search worldwide for your next journey. In some cases, the discounts for vacations can be much more significant than membership discounts. Some package deals can offer as much as half off of the regular price of lodging.

One key? Be flexible about what you take. You’re not always going to get a five-star resort, and you won’t always get lucky enough to find a deal on some place that you’d originally seek out. You have to jump on places that appeal to you enough while you can, because once these deals are gone, they’re gone.

Go in the Off Season

Family Photo shoot, Meads Bay Anguilla

Caribbean islands will offer deeper discounts during the summer. {Photo by Shannon Falzon}

4Many vacation spots will severely cut their rates during the off-season; when most people aren’t going to that given location and when they’re more desperate to fill slots.  For example, if you visit Caribbean islands during the summer, you’ll often get extreme discounts due to the fact that it’s the region’s low season. Another approach to this is to go right after key heavy times, such as going to Cancun right after Spring Break. With this approach, you’ll save money while not having to miss out on the best part of the season.

The important thing to remember is that you need to be flexible. The most flexible people will get the best vacations for the best prices. People who have their heart set on only one type of vacation at a particular time — or only in one particular lodging — will miss out on some of the deepest discounts. Remember: the best deals go to the most versatile shoppers.

Susan Pizzaro is a full-time freelance writer and self-professed content marketing junkie. A motocross and soccer mom, she’s usually enjoying the beautiful outdoor scenery of Central PA when she’s not busy creating compelling content for clients.

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