Family Travel Tips: How to Save Money and Avoid StressSponsored
Traveling with the family is all about making memories to cherish for a lifetime. So the last thing you want to do is tarnish those fond recollections with an undercurrent of stress or strain. Luckily, there’s an easy way to avoid this: Save money by following these simple tips.
- Plan ahead. Once you and the family have decided where you’re going, the name of the game is research, research, research. It will all pay off in the end because you’re likely to save money by uncovering bargains galore, as well as freebies or special deals.
- Check out the websites for the travel office of every city you wish to visit. If they offer a mobile app, download it to your phone to get tips and updates on local transportation, attractions, lodging and restaurants.
- Compare places to stay. Some hotels offer free breakfast — and that’s a big way to save money, especially if you have growing teenagers. Some hotels and resorts also offer drop-off children’s program for entertaining the little ones.
- Make a list of every museum and attraction you hope to visit. Look at each one’s website. Here’s where you’ll find some real savings. Many museums offer free admission on certain days of the week. Start to fill in your schedule with some of those freebies. Look for discounts and special offers, too.
- Check to see if an attraction requires advance reservations. This is an important tip not to forget. It would be a shame to travel thousands of miles just to learn that the place you most wanted to see or thing you most wanted to do has already been booked for months.
- Buy a travel pass. If you’d like to save some time on planning — while also saving money — consider purchasing a travel pass that offers admission to key attractions at a sharply discounted price. With 20 years of experience in top North American travel destinations, CityPASS has earned high approval ratings and the thanks of millions of family vacation planners who made the happy discovery that purchasing discount ticket booklets for every member of the family was the key ingredient to a stress-free holiday. CityPASS booklet holders can choose from a number of attractions, knowing that their savings over regular prices will be substantial (close to 50 percent for many destinations).
- Get VIP treatment. Another benefit is that CityPASS customers get VIP treatment, allowing them to bypass entrance long lines at many attractions. And there’s no rush to visit all the attractions in just a few days. Once your CityPASS booklet is activated (the first admission ticket is used), you have nine consecutive days to use the remaining tickets. The Southern California CityPASS admission card, which includes a three-Day Disneyland Resort Park Hopper ticket (allowing three full days of unlimited back-and-forth access between Disneyland and Disney California Adventure Park) and one-day admissions to both LEGOLAND California and SeaWorld San Diego, extends the nine-day validity period to 14 days, due to the distance between these southern California theme parks.
CityPASS ticket booklets are available for 11 U.S. cities and for Toronto, Canada. Three of the most popular U.S. destinations for family travelers are New York City, Florida’s Tampa Bay area and Southern California. Here are some tips for each place.
New York City
In the Big Apple, you’ll take a bite out of regular prices with CityPASS tickets to the Empire State Building (the day/night CityPASS ticket gets you two trips to the top in the same day), the American Museum of Natural History (watch out for dinosaurs!) and the massive Metropolitan Museum of Art. Then there are options for either the observation deck at the Top of the Rock (also known as 30 Rock or the Rockefeller Center) or the breathtaking Guggenheim Museum, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright.
Another New York CityPASS option is for a boat ride to and an exploration of both Ellis Island, home to the Ellis Island Immigration Museum, and the Statue of Liberty or a Circle Line Sightseeing Cruise around the 13.4-mile-long island of Manhattan. The final option is between visiting the 9/11 Memorial and Museum or the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum. By the way, the Intrepid is a huge aircraft carrier that saw plenty of action in World War II.
Tampa Bay, Florida
Birds fly south for the winter and so do many vacationers, making Tampa Bay, in west central Florida, a favorite destination for sun-seeking families. First stop with a CityPASS ticket booklet has got to be Busch Gardens Tampa Bay, an amusement park that has it all: thrill rides (including Florida’s first triple launch coaster, Cheetah Hunt), wild animals, a Sesame Street African safari, indoor theater, entertainment, shopping and restaurants. A more relaxing visit may be to the Florida Aquarium, home to more than 20,000 sea creatures. The Clearwater Marine Aquarium is a must-see for fans of the Dolphin Tale movies. In fact, this is home to Winter and Hope, the dolphin stars of the films. Children will be inspired by living examples of animal conservation and rehabilitation.
For the animal lovers in the family there’s more to come at Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo, where animals from around the world share space with indigenous Florida species, such as manatees. Finally, there’s an option for either the Museum of Science & Industry or the Chihuly Collection, with stunning displays of artistic glass-blown sculptures.
On the West Coast, you will find the amusement park that changed the world when it opened in 1955. Walt Disney’s fantasy creation for family fun, Disneyland, re-drew everyone’s picture of the perfect vacation. It’s still going strong after all these years, with many exciting new features to augment the classic attractions. Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure Park are included in the CityPASS Southern California admission card, which allows three days of hopping between parks, with one “magic morning” when CityPASS card holders are permitted early admission to Disneyland Park.
Heading south from Disneyland, Legoland California in the town of Carlsbad is the next Southern California CityPASS destination. Don’t be fooled into thinking that this amusement park is just for the little ones. Although most of the rides are relatively tame, they still offer fun and thrills for all ages. And Miniland USA, featuring miniature Lego brick replicas of world landmarks and city skylines will impress everyone. For the trivia-minded, Miniland was built with 32,496,352 Lego bricks, give or take.
SeaWorld San Diego offers live shows and oceans of wet and wild interactive fun. Guests can enjoy the serenity of sea turtles in Turtle Reef and imagine embarking on a turtle rescue mission. Or sink beneath the surface and watch schools of sharks gliding overhead in the Shark Encounter tunnel, one of the largest underwater viewing tunnels in the world. And for some blood-pumping action, visitors can soar, dive and twist on the Manta double-launch coaster, whose design emulates the underwater flight of a manta ray.
Family holiday planning with a side of big savings? CityPASS has you covered — leaving you and your family to focus on making happy memories.
To learn more about CityPASS, visit citypass.com.
Written by Susan Hauser