Manic: Preparing to take a big trip to Washington DC to see family and to sight-see. Planning a trip for a family of four is always a big job for the manic managed mom in the family!
Managed: Dedicating two days to research and price comparing to shop fares, hotels and more. Here are a few ways we saved some money on our initial planning….
*Airfare – I called the travel number on the back of my American Express card for free travel planning. We compared fares on all of the airlines that serve Phoenix to Washington DC and we narrowed it down to Southwest Airlines and US Air. The trick to reducing your fare is to be flexible on arrival airports and departure times. We saved $600 on two of our tickets by leaving in the early evening and by choosing to land at Baltimore’s BWI airport instead of the closer Reagan National or Washington Dulles. We chose to fly in to BWI and that added an extra hour drive to our final destination, but the savings was worth it.
Check with your credit card companies and airline frequent flyer programs to see about your eligible points. We were able to trade in a good amount of our American Express points for two of our airline tickets, so that was also a big savings.
*Hotels – I called American Express for hotel ideas, but before I booked, I spent a full afternoon narrowing down my hotel choices and looking each one up on a variety of travel websites. My favorite sites to check are Travelocity under the Family Vacations Packages page and tripadvisor for thorough customer reviews and property pictures taken by real hotel guests. For added discounts, check with your AAA membership program as many hotels offer 10% or more discounts when you show your AAA card at check-in.
After researching mutiple hotels in the DC area, we decided on the Hotel Palomar, located in the heart of the Dupont Circle neighborhood. Stay tuned for tomorrow’s post that will be all about the Hotel Palomar and some sight-seeing ideas that you have to see when you travel to DC!