I grew up in a family of campers. I have great memories of spending 15 days in the state park over the 4th of July weekend each summer. We got to know fellow campers who came for the same time period over the years. And each 4th of July weekend my parents go visit these same people and check in with each other. It was a great way to grow up!
My husband spent a few vacations packed into the back seat of the car for a family road trip. So I introduced him to where we camped and he fell in love. Camping was our family vacation since before Daughter was born. In fact we tent camped two weeks before she was due, not something I would recommend to anyone! Live and learn! But due to those family road trips he had as a kid we limit the drive to two hours or less for camping or any vacation.
Camping is cool but I wanted to take a “REAL” family vacation. I wanted to go to Disney World as a family!!! I did my research and then worked on Husband. I paid on that trip each paycheck and we were able to take Daughter to Walt Disney World in December of 2005. She traveled like a little trooper. She loved to fly and Husband loved the food, and getting someplace warm.
A couple of weeks after we returned home Husbands Father gave us money as a Christmas gift and Husband suggested we use some as a deposit on another Disney vacation next year. I was flabbergasted! We took our inlaws with us in December of 2006 for a short Disney trip. We were still camping but enjoyed our trips to Florida so much we cut down our budget to make it a priority.
We dropped satellite TV and both did what we could to save money. To this day we still have antenna TV and rarely eat dinner out to pay for our travel adventures. I use Netflix for movies and like to shop vintage for clothes when I can. It all adds up over the months. Daughter would tell you learning to surf in the gulf is much better than cable TV!
Then I found “Travel Hacking!” I read about a hotel promo on Fat Wallet for Club Carlson and I was hooked. I was amazed I could stay in a hotel one night and get enough points for a free night in the future!?!?!?!?! We were able to book a Disney cruise for three nights and use a”free” hotel nights for part of our trip. And I started to heavily use Groupon to save on activities on our trips.
Its been a crazy life since we started using hotel and airline miles. We used Southwest points to visit Seattle, and American Airline miles to visit South Padre. Free hotel nights gave us an anniversary weekend in Charleston. I was going to be happy if I could do one vacation a year but so far we have surpassed that.
Points and miles make travel frequent because you pay less for two trips than you paid for one. For Disney I still stay onsite and use the free dining offer, I just use airline miles to get there. Anyone can do this! It takes a little reading, a little work but once you save on that first trip you are hooked.
Check out the hotel promos tab on the top right of my blog. (I get nothing for listing them.) I would just like to hear that others are saving money and traveling for less! Hotel promos are the easiest place to start and work your way up from there.
If you don’t have to pay airfare or for a hotel room where would you go?