I've got to be honest, I'm sort of shocked that there's no topic about this but I've found nothing using the search function so here goes...
Obviously Brit and I take tons of coaster trips (usually road trips but sometimes we fly also) and I know that applies to basically everyone here too. Lately I've been doing a lot of research into how to do this more cost effectively without compromising the quality of our trips and I've come across a few cool things in the process.
Since most of us travel for theme parks I'm sure most of us have come up with some helpful rewards cards / rewards programs / random deals along the way. Share your secrets. I'm not so much talking about saving money on park admission itself (because most of us are already experts on that), I'm more focused on all of the other costs that go along with coaster trips like hotels, gas, rental cars and airfare. Help us out, share your secrets.
Here are a few of the things I've recently come across that are helping us save a TON of money on coaster trips:Get 3 to 5 free hotel stays for doing basically nothing
Choice Privileges is my new favorite thing. Some people may not be familiar with the name "Choice Hotels" but I'm sure you're familiar with their brands... Comfort Inn, Comfort Suites, Quality Inn, Sleep Inn, Clarion, Econo Lodge, Rodeway Inn and a few others.
They're running a deal right now on their Visa card
where if you sign up by the end of May and spend $1000 in the first 90 days you get 40,000 bonus points, which is enough for 5 free nights at one of their cheaper hotels like Rodeway or about nights at a better hotel like a Comfort Suites. They don't expire and the card has no annual fee so there's no reason not to get this. To redeem them, all you do is book through the Choice website and changing the rate type to "Choice Privileges Reward Night"... super easy.
Honestly, this probably isn't a super useful card after the initial 40,000 bonus points. You should keep it and use it when you book a room at a Choice Hotel since it gives you 15 points on the dollar, but otherwise you're really just signing up for the initial offer. If you're not into credit cards, they have a regular Choice Privileges program that you should sign up for. It's free and you'll save some money. If you get the Visa (and you should), DO NOT carry a balance ever, the interest rate sucks hard.
PS: They have a referral program, refer your significant other / family member and get 1000 bonus points (500 each), plus then you can use this offer twice.AAA (This should be obvious by now)
You can save money at basically every hotel by being a AAA
member and can easily cover the cost of the membership and then some with those deals alone, it's also great to know you have Roadside Assistance in an emergency. I won't get too far into this one since it's so obvious, but seriously... get AAA.Fly to the Florida Parks for basically nothing if you don't bring bags(Or if you live in Florida, fly to basically any park in the midwest or northeast for basically nothing... lucky f*cks)
Some people are picky about the quality of their flying experience. Hi people... keep on scrolling.
For the rest of us that really don't give a crap as long as the plane doesn't crash since it's only a few hours out of your life anyway, welcome to these 2 sh*tty airlines. Allegiant
Let's talk about Allegiant first. Their route maps are limited, but if you want to go to Disney / Universal / Busch Tampa or Sea World and live near any of these places... congratulations...
, and have fun. If you're looking for an example of how great this is, I just entered Trenton NJ and found airfare to Orlando for 38 bucks. Remember that you can also fly to Tampa because it's 90 minutes from Orlando.
What's the catch? I'm glad you asked...
1) DO NOT, DO NOT, DO NOT
bring bags. You're only allowed one carry on and it's got to be a small carry on, so bring some disposable clothes and donate them or throw them away. Travel light. This is awesome for a weekend trip though.
2) Most of their airports are really stupid airports. The Orlando hub is NOT MCO, it's SFB. Their Tampa hub is NOT TPA, it's PIE (mmm pie). I honestly look at this is a plus though since it usually means cheaper parking, less hassle and short security lines.
3) You may not sit together unless you pay extra to pick your seats. You have to pay extra for everything, so plan accordingly.
Also, if you live in the west or Midwest, you can fly to the California parks / Vegas Parks for basically nothing. Something like Cleveland to Vegas isn't quite as cheap as the deals I mentioned earlier, but it's still really cheap compared to other airlines.And finally, fly to a few more destinations on another cheap a** airline if you don't bring bags...
Welcome to Frontier Airlines, the airline that sucks just as much as Allegiant but with more destinations! Deals here are usually a little more limited than Alleigant, but keep checking this
page. From Trenton (which for some reason is a major hub for these piece of crap airlines) you can fly to about 10 different cities. it's not as cheap as Allegiant (usually) but you have some options.
This airline is great if you live in the Northeast and want to go to the Florida parks, Six Flags Over Georgia, Carowinds or SFGA since they seem to fly to Atlanta, Charlotte and Chicago from a lot of places. You need to play around a little with dates here, and I suggest checking back in the fall for good travel deals as they're a little light right now.
Alright guys, those are a few of my absolute favorite programs and deals to save money on coaster road trips, what are yours? What are your favorite travel rewards cards, rewards programs, super cheap transportation companies or other awesome travel deals for coaster road trippers? Help us out.