Last-Minute Family Vacation Deals

It’s never too late to get a great price on a vacation. You just have to know where to look

Theme park tickets without the pinch
When it comes to getting the best prices on theme parks, social media is the way to go, says Robert Niles, editor of the consumer guide Theme Park Insider (www.themeparkinsider.com). “Theme parks are trying to build up their followers, and one of the ways they’re doing that is by offering a lot of last-minute deals to their Facebook fans and Twitter followers,” says Niles.

More ways to save on amusement parks:
Check your memberships. Auto and shopping clubs such as AAA and Costco often provide discounted theme park rates to members. Check with your human resources department since some companies offer employees access to discounted tickets as a benefit. Members of certain credit unions may also qualify for discounted tickets as well, Niles says. If you’ve booked a hotel, check to see if they can help. “Anyplace that has an activities desk may have some theme park discount tickets,” Niles says.

Think mid-season. If the summer’s halfway over, many regional theme parks will reduce prices by as much as half price. “They’re trying to get people to come back for a second visit,” says Niles.

Look for other incentives. Some of the biggest theme park companies such as Disney Parks or Universal are less likely to offer huge discounts on ticket prices up front. However, they may offer coupons, which can lower your costs for food or merchandise at the park.

Whichever type of last-minute vacation you’re planning, never stop at the first price you see. “It’s like buying a car,” says Witman. “You don’t go to one dealer, you go to five or six and see what the cheapest price is because they’re not all the same.”                 

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