Jan 21st
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'Explore America' Savings

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Explore America
with these 12 Cost Saving Ideas

1. Plan Ahead.  Discuss as a family your favorite destinations and vacation activities. Develop a day-by-day travel itinerary and make all possible arrangements ahead of time from lodging, camping, and car rentals to reservations and tickets to attractions and sights. By taking care of as many details as possible ahead of time you and the kids can relax and enjoy a fun-filled adventure. Leaving the details to the last minute can cost you time, money and often frustration.

2. Go Online. Use the internet to help with your “Explore America” research, planning, and arrangements by visiting the sites listed in the “Explore America” article. Also browse state and city travel and tourism sites to obtain current information about the areas you plan to visit.

3. Check out the Pass. Take advantage of the “America the Beautiful – National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass,” available to U.S. citizens. This Pass offers savings to National Parks and Federal Recreational sites that charge an entrance or standard amenity fees.  You can also find special passes for the general public, seniors, the permanently disabled, and volunteers. For more information call 1-888-ASK USGS, Ext. 1, or browse

4. Drop by the Local Visitor Centers. Along your routes, be sure to stop by the local tourist information centers for even more ideas about what to see and do in the local area as well as to stock up on local maps and, often, money saving coupons.

5. Join an Automobile Club.  Before leaving home join an auto club such as AAA, which allows you to call for emergency roadside assistance along with providing discounts on dining, lodging, tourist attractions and more. You can also request a detailed road map of your trip, which will show the best routes to take on your trip. The automobile club can also assist with finding lodging, RV parks and campsites, local restaurants, and tourist attractions along the route.
6. Service Your Vehicle. Make a full inspection and service of your car before heading out on a trouble-free road trip, which helps prevent unnecessary breakdowns and also helps your vehicle get better gas mileage.
7. Rent Before You Go. Consider renting an auto, SUV, van, or RV for the latest in travel comforts, safety features and convenience. A recreational vehicle can offer a great adventure for you and the kids, providing cost savings in lodging, restaurants, and activities -- offsetting the rental cost.
8. Organize Your Vehicle. Limit and organize the items you pack into your vehicle for the road trip – from clothes and entertainment items to camping supplies and food. Pack in convenient and space saving containers with lids, which are easily accessible in your vehicle – both for getting into for those items, but also for putting those items away.  An organized vehicle limits unnecessary buying and offers a relaxed and enjoyable outing for all.
9. Save on Campsites and Condos. Campgrounds offer considerable savings compared to hotels and resorts. The camping experience also offers opportunities to meet new friends and spend quality time with the family outdoors around the campfire. Condominiums are next in line for savings with home-style accommodations, entertainment and meals, as long as you enjoy cooking in instead of dining out every night.

10. Stock Up on Food. Purchase healthy snacks, drinks and picnic meals for the road trip, then restock  food items and beverages along the way from local outlets and grocery stores.  Money saved can be used for occasional dine-outs at local cafes and bakeries and other eateries along the way.

11. Check out Winter Season Savings. A number of U.S. National Parks offer lodgings in various parks during winter months at considerable savings. If your family is up to it, venture out during the winter and take to the savings and spectacular cold weather experiences.

12. Get Off-Season Discounts. Find more price savings during the off-season or the shoulder season on car rentals, airlines and especially lodging and attractions. Also, when driving, don’t hesitate to negotiate a hotel’s room rate if you arrive late in the afternoon, are willing to pay in cash or are planning to stay more than one night.



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