Traveling Mamas

Inspiring you to explore our world

  • Have you tried any of the daily deal sites that seem to be growing by the hour across the United States and Canada? Companies like Groupon and Living Social offer a coupon for a local restaurant, spa or attraction that can only be bought for one day, but can be redeemed over a period of weeks or months.

    While it’s great to follow these sites to find your local deals, it’s also fun to take a look at what’s being offered in cities you might be planning to travel to soon. Here’s a roundup of daily deals available today, Monday, Sept. 6, that may be of interest to travelers:

    As always, read the fine print to be sure these deals will work for your family. Got a great travel daily deal? Leave it in the comments!

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  • We’ve been diligently gathering travel deals for some of our online friends and we were amazed at some of the discounts available for Labor Day travel and beyond. We hope that all of our readers stay safe (especially those along the East Coast with Earl making a holiday visit). If you take the family on a road trip, be sure to check out our tips for avoiding a speeding ticket. Here’s a quick roundup of travel deals we’ve found:

    Gulf Coast – Support an area affected by the BP Deep Horizon Oil Spill and have a great time enjoying a beautiful destination. The beaches are gorgeous, the seafood is tasty, and there are many activities and attractions for all travelers. Read our post of entire Gulf Coast beach specials and discounts.

    New Orleans – Just today we saw that Groupon is offering 64% off your stay at Wyndham Riverside in New Orleans. That’s a rate of only $89. What a steal! Also, on our Gulf Coast deals page, you can plan a volunteer vacation in New Orleans with the help of the Marriott New Orleans.

    Orlando – Global Resort Homes is offering 50% off some of their rentals. This lodging option starts at $79 per night. Be sure to read the details for these Orlando vacation home specials.

    Walt Disney World in Florida – Free Disney Dining is back, along with other great deals such as 25% off Disney Resort Hotels and $500 Disney gift cards for some 5 night bookings. Check out all the Disney World specials.

    Check back next week for more travel deals and specials found just for you on TravelingMamas.com!

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  • School’s back in session and many of you are already missing summer break. Take some time for a last minute getaway for the long Labor Day holiday. Pack your bags, hop in the car, and take advantage of the great deals along the Gulf Coast. It’s a traveler’s market right now. (Some of these deals were mentioned in my travel segment on 8/26/2010 on WAFB)

    SanDestin Golf and Beach Resort in Florida – Book 3 nights, get a 4th free PLUS a $250 Government Tourism Grant Gift Card to Silver Sands Outlet or Southwest Airlines. Restrictions apply, see Sandestin.com for details.. I personally checked out the beaches here and found them oil free.

    Gulf Shores and Orange Beach, AL – John Mayer Getaway: A few resorts (like luxury beach resort Turquoise Place) are offering free John Mayer tickets for Labor Day Weekend bookings in addition to almost 50% off on a 3 bedroom luxury condo. Check out SpectrumResorts.com or many of the other rental companies through AlabamaBeaches.com. The Mamas and I checked out the beaches here last week, and while there were spotty reports of oil, we didn’t see anything in the water and the beaches were pristine.

    Biloxi and Gulf Port, MS  – The Mississippi beaches are in need of visitors. Even if you don’t gamble, you can find some great deals at many of the casino hotels, some of them with family friendly pools.

    Galveston – Great beaches and fun activities for the entire family. Moody Gardens is one of my personal picks and there’s even a Schlitterbahn Water Park. Book your vacation deal through Galveston.com and you’ll get a coupon book with up to $500 in discounts.

    South Padre Island – Great deals at this destination and take advantage of the Schlitterbahn Water Resort that offers excitement for all ages. Be sure to check out the area sandcastle lessons. The Hilton Garden Inn is offering family fun packages with 4 Schlitterbahn tickets included in your rate. Book through the official South Padre Island website.

    New Orleans – The Windsor Court Hotel in New Orleans is currently offering a variety of packages that are all available over Labor Day.  Our favorite is GRANDTRAVEL WITH THE GRANDKIDS   – package include tickets to the Audubon Zoo and many other perks.

    To allow  those to give back during their visit, the New Orleans Marriott recently launched the “Spirit To Serve New Orleans” voluntourism package which allows guests to partner with New Orleans Area Habitat for Humanity or Second Harvest Food Bank of Greater New Orleans, to help rebuild homes hardest hit by Hurricane Katrina and provide food to families impacted by the Gulf oil spill. This package is offered through the end of the year and starts at $109 per night, the “Spirit to Serve New Orleans” voluntourism package includes:

    * A dedicated concierge to coordinate volunteer efforts
    * Deluxe accommodations
    * Box lunch for two
    * Transportation to and from the volunteer site
    * Two commemorative t-shirts

    To book the Spirit to Serve New Orleans package, visit www.spirittoserveneworleans.com or call 1-800-228-9290. Booking code V5S

    There are many other deals available for Labor Day travel and beyond. If you come across some great packages, feel free to share these in the comments for other readers who are planning a last minute getaway. Have safe travels and make some fun family travel memories.

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  • Financing a family vacation can be difficult. You know where you want to go but you just don’t know how you’ll get there.

    The average American family spends around $2500 per year on a vacation. Readers might guess that vacation spending would be down, with the economic “turndown” and an increase in cost of basic items like groceries and gas, but this isn’t the case. It seems as if consumers are putting more value on their vacation time, and according to the Travel Industry of America’s annual forecast, travel spending in the U.S. will increase 5 percent this year.

    I don’t know about you guys, but my family saves up for our annual vacation in a variety of ways.

    Save your change. Each of us has our own container where we place our loose change at the end of the day. This is a great way for the kids to save spending money. All those quarters, dimes, nickels and pennies can really add up. Last year we were able to save around $350 in total.

    Have a garage or rummage sale. Once a year, my neighbors and I get together for a multi-family garage sale. We are usually able to earn about $400 per family by the end of the day.

    Cut back on unnecessary spending. Our family used to eat out at least once per week. We’ve cut the eating out by 25 percent and are able to put aside at least $75 per month towards our family trip. That’s a savings of $900 per year!

    Open a vacation savings account. I’m able to have my bank deduct $50 per paycheck and place in a saving account just for vacations. With my contribution alone, that gives our family another $1200 towards our travels.

    Use SmartyPig to save. This company allows consumers to open an interest-earning account with a minimal deposit of $25. Your friends and relatives can even deposit money towards the goals you list with the account. Sounds like a simple, smart, savings plan.

    So how does the average family finance a vacation? This is where you, our readers come in. Leave us a comment on how you finance your vacation.

    SmartyPig.com

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