Saving with 6abc: Save on your summer family vacation

March 1, 2012 6:18:29 AM PST
Now is the time to starting thinking about your summer vacation, especially if you want to save money.

That's according to Erin Gifford, whose website, is chock-full of money-saving family travel ideas.

To save on airfare, she suggests entering your planned destination on a site called

Gifford says, "I love this website is because it does all the work for you. You enter your home airport and it will automatically, when it finds low fares. it sends them right to your inbox."

Gifford also suggests following airlines and hotels on Twitter, to take advantage of deals they might Tweet.

And while you can search for hotel rates online, she says you should always make reservations with the hotel directly over the phone.

She says, "Over the summer, I had looked up something online and then I went to call the hotel, just to see what the rate would be. It actually was $50 less. So it was about 25% less by actually making that one extra phone call to the hotel and booking it that way."

Next, she says, no matter you're headed, look for free family activities.

Gifford explains, "I'll go online and I'll do a search like"free activities in Chicago," if we're planning to go to Chicago, for example. And you will be amazed by the number of activities that show up, even lists of activities that show up that are free. And another great thing about this is that it can really help you to plan your vacation, because sometimes there's free museum days that maybe are only one day in the week. So you want to make sure that, if that you know when that day comes up, that that's the day you go to the museum."

Her other suggestions: pack a suitcase full of snacks. Even if you have to pay a baggage fee, it could be less than buying a week worth of snacks or breakfast at a theme park or hotel.

Also, buy an Entertainment Book or other coupon book for whatever city you're visiting. And sign up for your destination's daily deal sites.

To read Gifford's blog, click here.