Tag Archives: travel tips

Finding Cheap Flights … YOU can do it!

Tips and Tricks for Finding Cheap Flights

Getting there can be half the adventure, it can also eat up more than half your travel budget and much of your sanity. Between having to pay for your bags,  seemingly endless fees, hours searching, and aggregate sites that, “search hundreds of fares all at once,” and open about that many windows while they’re at it – it’s a wonder we don’t all just say on the ground.  Here are some tips to help you get those cheap flights, easy and pain-free.

Wait Till Tuesday (had to toss the 80’s pop reference in there)

Several studies have pinpointed Tuesday (after 3pm eastern) as the sweet spot for saving on flights. Why?

Airlines tend to launch sales late on Monday. When the competition gets wind of it, they often drop prices to stay competitive. Loading the savings into their systems takes a bit of time, but by about 3pm on Tuesday everyone is on the same page. Often you can find fares that are even a tad cheaper than that first advertized offer.

The Early Bird Gets The Cheap Ticket

Fly out early in the morning. You’ll save enough money to buy some Visine for sure. Maybe even enough for a pick-me-up facial when you get where you’re going.

Happy Hump Day

Wednesday is marks more than the halfway point in the work week, it is also the cheapest day of the week to hop on a plane.

Listen to the Birds

Following in the footsteps of everyone from Lady Gaga to the Pope, nearly every airline that flies is on Twitter. Follow the carriers you’re hoping to hop a ride with. You might find a flash sale. 

Like I did with Frontier

Pick Up The Phone!

I’m as guilty as any text-loving-send-me-an-email-I-can-find-it-online modern day human who would rather avoid a conversation via phone.

Real. Live. Human interaction – gads!

The thing is, actually talking to that real person can both save you money and time. Calling up the fine folks at Aer Lingus to book our tickets to Dublin and London was not only painless, but perfectly pleasant. The person on the other end of the line was able to quickly search days, times, lengths of layover, and more. They helped me find an even better itinerary at almost $650 less than I’d been able to find on my own. Now THAT is a conversation starter!

A Getaway Giveaway from Marriott’s Residence Inn

I lived for road trips when I was a kid. We grew up in a rural berg nestled in the High Desert of Southern California. Escaping Getting to go anywhere that held the promise of new faces, food mom hadn’t cooked and “modern amenities” was a big treat. Heck, my Hip Hippie parents didn’t even get us a TV until well after I’d become one of the Tooth Fairy’s favorites. Hotels were like a wonderland for my brothers and I. Our own little slice of Narnia, equipped with a talking box, “Magic Fingers” and a glittering machine that made us ice.. Whenever. We. Wanted!

My kids have it all. Yet they still get giddy when I say we’re headed to a hotel. Most of the time I’m a bit less excited. Having to hide the room service menu, explaining to the front desk that my 5 year old doesn’t get that they aren’t there to talk to her for hours on end about Justin and Selena and the search for “second breakfast” after the stale bagels and yogurt don’t get it done for them… not things I look forward to.

That all changed last summer when we booked a quick escape to a Residence Inn in Virginia Beach. All of the sudden I was loving the hotel time! This place had everything a family of 6 could want and more. Heck the breakfast alone was worth going back for.

We’ll stay up all night, swap stories and in the morning THEY are makin’ waffels!

Residence Inn realizes how busy life can be for moms and strives to make traveling seamless and as comfortable as possible with spacious suites, free hot breakfast, free Internet, swimming pools, great value and as we found out in Virginia Beach… AMAZING SERVICE!

What I loved most about  Residence Inn by Marriott, was the balance between getting away from it all and still enjoying the comforts of home. While Residence Inn is best known for their extended hotel stays, the suites at Residence Inn are PERFECT for family vacations!  Though I’m not terribly keen on having to cook while on vacay, I hate a huge eating out tab too so the fully equipped in-suite kitchens with a full sized refrigerator, stove,  and microwave make it easy to feed the brood on the cheap. The coffee makers make it safe for my family to be in the same room with me.

This month we’ll be traveling to the Residence Inn in historic downtown Savannah

Gorge, huh?! I’m looking forward to seeing all Savannah has to offer and taking advantage of the free grocery delivery service that Residence Inns provide. Hello, anytime I can NOT go to a grocery store, I’m all about that!

So now on to the fun stuff for YOU. Want to getaway this summer and check out all the AWESOME that is Residence Inns? Then you’re in the right place. One lucky reader will be going home with a $250 gift card for a stay at any Residence Inn in the country! Check out all the details below. GOOD LUCK!

Disclosure: As ALWAYS my opinions are my own. As a member of the Resident Mom Club, I received a gift card from Residence Inn in order to get out there and get you the best perspective I could. Because, well… you’re worth it! The contest prize is being supplied to the winner by Marriott.

Family Travel Conference: Inspiration in The Big Apple

Two weeks ago I was honored to be in attendance at the inaugural Family Travel Conference, hosted at the both elegant and homey, Omni Berkshire Place in NYC. This wonderful, inspiring conference was the brain child of  gifted and brilliant minds behind Traveling Moms, Family Travel Forum, Taking The Kids and Travel Media Showcase and brought together a bevy of passionate travel writers. 

The mix of writers for spanned the spectrum of journalistic outlets from traditional media, to National Geographic Intelligent Travel: Traveling Family, to book authors, bloggers and travel industry insiders. It not only made for interesting dynamic, but truly valuable insights, advice and guidance. For example, did you know that there are two schools of thought with regard to lead-ins when you are publishing a video you’ve created?

  • One camp suggests that you be sure to start every video by introducing yourself;  “Hi, DiPaola Momma of Chicken Nuggets of Wisdom here…”
  • The other asserts that you should never do that, that viewers are much more interested in the destination than the person sharing. Certainly a “nugget” I’d never thought about.

Beyond videos, the following advice was offered with regard to content:

  • Keep It Short. Not something I’m adept at, as I am sure you may have noticed.
  • SEO. It is certainly your friend, but don’t kill yourself trying to optimize it, content is always king. 
  • Use Bullets. This is for those easily distracted by shiny objects.. ME!
  • Photos. The eye tends to wander if it’s all text. Use photos to break up the text and keep the reader engaged. Like so…
              Now I have your attention again.. right?                 See, it works!

Even as great as the great tips and guidance were, they did not stand alone as what made this an amazing conference for me. The Family Travel Conference was truly about family. I was encouraged to bring along one of the Lil Nuggets, I choose our tween daughter. She would go on to interview the Executive Chef of Virgils BBQ (of both NYC and Atlantis Resorts) and the Omni Berkshire’s Director of Dirt (Director of Housekeeping). The minute she stepped in front of the camera, she came out of her shell. The introverted 12 year old who was mortified when I took the mic -which promptly screeched with feedback- to introduce myself, became this whole new person. Since then, we’ve been working together (I know, OMG huh?!) on editing her video, which I’ll post here soon.

The conference also reaffirmed something for me. Having such a big family -who has yet to hit the lotto- you’d think that travel would be a luxury for us.

It. Is. Not. Nor should it be for any of you.

Travel is part of the fabric that weaves my family together. Traveling allows us to connect in ways that sitting in front of a movie screen or playing the latest video game never could. In an economy, where many families are struggling, there is still a place for travel. It doesn’t have to be a trip to Tuscany or 5 Star Cruise, it can be as simple as being a tourist in your home town. Take yourself out of the everyday. Step away from routines, do something new, explore together, and what you’ll find is that you’ve come full circle back to the reasons that being a part of a family is a true gift.

Thank you Family Travel Conference founders, sponsors and attendees!