2009 Mini-Vacations, Family Fun on a Budget & Last Minute Summer Travel Tips

June 2009:

Emily Kaufman, The Travel Mom

Just because budgets are tight doesn’t mean you have to say “no” to family fun!  A vacation doesn’t need to be expensive or elaborate to give you a much needed break from the stress of your everyday routine.  And a change of scenery and spending quality family time does not mean breaking the budget.  The Travel Mom, Emily Kaufman has tips on how  a little creative planning can go a long way when it comes to stretching your vacation budget.


Mini-Vacations are better than Stay-cations. We are definitely living in challenging times, but research and health professionals point towards the health benefits of taking a vacation.  When times are tough, a vacation is essential therapy, and mini-vacations are an easy and less expensive way to get away.  They don’t require weeks of planning and can shave thousands off the vacation budget, but they still provide the same basic substance of any trip:  the chance to recharge your batteries, get your mind off of work, and take a break from your regular routine.  Right now, there is no easier or more affordable way to get away than on a cruise as there’s nothing to plan as everything is done for you on a cruise.

Cruise ShipCLIA, the Cruise Line International Association, has a summer-long “You Deserve a Cruise” promotion where you can take advantage of unprecedented cruise values and savings including two-for-one cruise pricing, significant fare reductions, free air transportation, kids sale free offers, as much as $2000 in shipboard credits and even free upgrades and shore excursions.  These special offers are for 2009 and 2010 cruises throughout the world.  Go to cruising.org for a complete list of special cruise offers and to find a CLIA-certified travel agent.

Look for Rewards and Hotel Deals on the Internet Loaded with “Extras.” The internet is always the way to go to not just find the deals, but also extra value every time you travel.  This Fourth of July, hotels.com is offering free nights plus up to $75 on a pre-paid MasterCard so that you can afford to enjoy the holiday with a weekend away from home.  More than 900 properties are available in the Fourth of July Sale in great local getaway destinations including Anaheim, Myrtle Beach, San Antonio, Miami, Chicago, San Diego, and Washington, D.C. to name a few.  Also, all properties in the sale are also eligible for credits with their welcomerewards loyalty program where you get a free night stay when you reach 10 total nights booked on hotels.com.  You can earn and redeem rewards at 53,000 different hotels, condos, and bed & breakfasts with no blackout dates or restrictions.  Here’s a little known tip: Tuesdays are the best days to book amazing travel deals at hotels.com.  Every Tuesday at 12:01 am, the site posts approximately 200 new deals and they’re only listed for 24 hours, so the earlier you log on, the better your odds of snagging a discount. You’ll primarily find bargains in the U.S., Mexico, the Caribbean, and Canada.  The best part?  Offers are for rooms that can be booked through the year.

Other last minute deals. If you find yourself needing a last minute getaway, you can always just fill the car with a tank of gas and drive a half-day or so for a local getaway.  If you’re on the East Coast, check out the historic state of Connecticut at CTVisit.com and Baltimore, near the nation’s capitol is loaded with family fun ideas including 50 things you can do for free!  If you’re in the MidWest, you might want to take a new look at the Twin Cities, including Minneapolis with amazing international cuisine that rivals New York City.  And if you’re out West, the Grand Canyon and treasures of Yosemite National Park are a short drive away.  Check out hotels.com for the best deals on hotels before you hit the road.


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