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1. Don’t Dismiss Unusual Solutions
Sometimes, bucking the usual trends is a good idea. Take the example of going on holiday as a dog owner. We have two older dogs, and because they are 12 and 14, it’s not really practical to put them in a boarding house or even have them stay with a dogsitter. It can cost a small fortune to have a dog sitter stay with them.
Why pay that much when you could take the dogs with you? We were reluctant to try that idea since traveling with pets can be a bit of a hassle, but when we ran the numbers we saw that it was cheaper to stay in a dog-friendly resort than it was to have the dogs stay at home. We got a real family holiday experience too, with every member of the family!
2. Take Advantage of Points and Perks
If you have a few different credit cards, look at the features of each one and consider how you can save money or take advantage of perks. Some cards offer free hotel stays, some offer air miles. If you’re heading to somewhere like Orlando you will probably find that you can spend your loyalty points and perks on affordable hotels and days out, and save a fortune. The Residence Inn near Universal Orlando, for example, can be booked with points if you have a Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card, so you can save a couple of hundred dollars by redeeming a free night.
3. Free Rarely Means Free
When planning your trip, make sure that you know what you’re getting and total up the full cost. Consider, for example, the Universal Orlando Resort. Many hotels offer a ‘free’ pass to their guests. This pass is the Universal Unlimited Express Pass, and it allows people to wait in a shorter line and get faster access to rides.
That ‘Free’ Pass, however could end up costing you a lot of money. If you’re just planning to visit the park for one day, then you might be better off staying at an off-site hotel and paying for a pass. You could save thousands of dollars staying off-site and paying only for what you use. Then again, if you’re planning on visiting the park every day and will really make full use of that shorter line to go on every ride you can, you could come to the conclusion that the Unlimited Express Pass is a perk worth getting, and it is cheaper to stay on site.
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4. Have Some Room in Your Budget
Don’t forget about hidden costs. Things like parking, snacks, and breakfast can all mount up. It can be convenient to stay at a good hotel that offers free breakfast buffets, and free parking. Paying for breakfast for a family can easily add up to £50 a day, so having it built-in to the cost gives you a bit of extra breathing space.
Making small savings like this can give you the wiggle-room that your budget needs to enjoy some nice added extras.
5. Plan Your Trip Well in Advance
You have a lot of options when it comes to family trips, and deciding “I want to go to Universal Studios” is just one part of the trip. For your first time, if you just want the Universal experience, that level of planning will do, but if you want to do more then you should have an idea of where you want to stay, transport, pet/child-friendliness, food, and more. Those little luxuries such as free breakfast and free shuttles can make a huge difference, and could be the things that will allow you to enjoy a real adventure without breaking the bank.
Start planning now. Save your miles and points, and set alerts for ticket prices so that you can get the best possible deal. It will make a difference to how much you end up spending.