This is a transcript of the Family Travel Forum – New Media Travel Tweetchat held April 6, 2011 between 1pm – 2pm ET using #FTFchat. It has been edited for clarity. Please follow all our chat participants — really smart travelers with lots of share. And don't forget to join us by putting #FTFchat into your Twitter browser each Wednesday afternoon, 1pm ET. Love to hear your thoughts.
Deciding Where to Stay on Family Vacations
In this Tweet Chat we discussed the role of money in trip planning. We started off with a discussion on where to start your search for budget-friendly family vacations. The chat soon focused on where to stay and what motivates travel decisions.
@familytravel4um Q.1 Money is a big issue when planning a trip. What tricks do you use to save money when trip planning?
@BethBlair RT @familytravel4um Excited to discuss family trips for the budget-conscious! Planning for a family vacation / still saving money.
@ErinJBoyle We're always looking for great deals for our family vacations.
@travelBIGO Travel deals can be found on company websites. Social media is a good way to start the search @Twitter @Facebook
@newmediatravel Hi, @familytravel4um, @travelBIGO, @BethBlair, @erinjboyle just jumping in on the word "money"
@familytravel4um @newmediatravel Hi there! Glad you could join us! Any money-saving tips for family travelers?
@newmediatravel @Familytravel4um @BethBlair @erinjboyle wonder if "money" is the prime mover in fam vacations?
@BethBlair A1 My family loves using hotel/air points and miles. They can add up quickly.
@ErinJBoyle @BethBlair That's a great point. Do you always use the same hotels when you travel?
@familyonbikes You're kidding, right? RT @ErinJBoyle @BethBlair Do you always use the same hotels when you travel?
@BethBlair @ErinJBoyle It depends on the best deal, etc. We've been using Holiday Inn Express lately.
@newmediatravel @erinjboyle @bethblair almost never stay at a hotel unless there's a great deal. renting a flat makes you more of a local and saves
@familytravel4um @newmediatravel Renting flat, condo or apt for long trips or w/ larger family. FTF article has good tips http://bit.ly/fAuk3a
@newmediatravel But, yes, always better to rent a flat or apartment than pay for a hotel or B and B if staying longer than 3 days in one city
@familyonbikes Travel on bikes! RT @familytravel4um @newmediatravel Any money-saving tips for family travelers?
@familytrips We like the mid priced hotels like hilton garden in where wifi & breakfast are free
@BethBlair @familytrips I LOVE the free-wifi & breakfast hotels.
@familytravel4um @familytrips Free is always good. Many cities offer free activities. Research ahead of time to find best deals
Deciding How to Spend Money on Vacations
Next we discussed spending money when on vacation. The conversation moved from letting kids have their own spending money to shopping local and, of course, haggling.
@familytravelforum Speaking of kids & spend money: Do the kids have an influence on how much you spend on vacation?
@newmediatravel Also, strange, but letting kids handle their own money, even foreign currency, makes them more conscious of spending and save more
@familyonbikes True! RT @newmediatravel letting kids handle their own money, even foreign currency, makes them more conscious of spending
@familytravel4um @familyonbikes @newmediatravel Great advice for traveling w/ kids. Giving them some vacation spend money is good learning tool.
@newmediatravel Also, shopping at local shops makes local friends and saves money; more authentic experience
@BethBlair @newmediatravel Agree! Going as local as possible is what travel is about.
@ErinJBoyle @newmediatravel Definitely! Local is a good experience & saves money. Kids should get a feel for local food, culture, etc.
@newmediatravel Strange advice: Split up. Mom and dad take off with a kid. Set a spending goal, Go separate ways. Reunite at lunch. compare notes
@newmediatravel @bethblair @familytrips @familytravel4um @familyonbikes And, let's not forget time honored tradition of haggling!! 🙂
@newmediatravel Loved it when my daughter engaged the shopkeeper in pricing. Great fun. Save $. Laughs Respect. Not possible in Northern Countries?
@ErinJBoyle @newmediatravel haggling can be fun! I did it a lot in Italy & got much more for my money!
@BethBlair @newmediatravel Yes! Haggling can be great fun – and make for great stories.
@familyonbikes @ErinJBoyle @newmediatravel I used to love haggling, but not anymore. Need to get back into it.
@ErinJBoyle You should get back into haggling. Great way to save money on family trips!
@familyonbikes I do need to start haggling again. In Asia and Africa it was fun. S. America not so much
@newmediatravel I hear you about haggling. Love it, as long as its respectful!! Never try it in Nordic countries. 🙂
Deciding How to Save Money on Vacations
Our conversation then moved on to new websites such as Groupon and Living Social. These sites are based on location and give you deals to local attractions. For those who don’t travel locally, we also discussed less-expensive alternatives such as camping.
@newmediatravel Also, Groupon and Living Social! All the deal-based, location based services. Whole new ball game
@familytravel4um @newmediatravel you bring up @Groupon & @LivingSocial. Have you ever booked a vacation through @LivingSocial?
@newmediatravel Yes, and new site, dealradar @dealradar now aggregates maybe 200 discount service sites like an airfare engine. Sorts for you
@ErinJBoyle just signed up for @LivingSocial emails. Some good deals have already come through!
@newmediatravel LivingSocial just looped in local hotels for amazing discounts.
@familytravel4um @ErinJBoyle @newmediatravel Do you think these deal sites really deliver better discounts than older, more traditional sites?
@ErinJBoyle As with any deal sites, if u want the 'best' price, u need to research other sites. But these sites are good start.
@familytravel4um @BethBlair @familyonbikes Any thoughts on @LivingSocial & other discount sites? Do they deliver best deals?
@familyonbikes @familytravel4um The way we travel, those travel sites like @LivingSocial don't help much.
@familytravel4um @familyonbikes Good point. @LivingSocial is good for local travel & exploring your own city
@familyonbikes @familytravel4um Now that we're back in Boise – two days now! – I'll check them out.
@newmediatravel @familyonbikes how do you travel??
@familyonbikes On bikes. Camping a lot in the woods. [email protected] @familyonbikes how do you travel??
@newmediatravel @familyonbikes almost never in the woods or on bikes. Not genetically programmed for it. But admire you!
@familytravel4um @familyonbikes camping is a good money-saver. National Parks offer good camp sites & budget travel. http://bit.ly/i8HsBX
Deciding Between Price & Quality on Family Vacations
There are so many relevant travel websites out there that it’s sometimes difficult to decipher who has the best deal. Not only that, but also research in general seems to be important to a lot of family travelers. Determining whether price or quality is more important can be key in planning a vacation.
@familytravel4um @ErinJBoyle you mention researching other sites. What sites do u use for finding deals? @newmediatravel @familyonbikes @BethBlair
@BethBlair @familytravel4um We're @Hotwire fans.
@PCHousing Agree w/ @familytravel4um, deal sites are great for local travel. When non-local, look for BEST (top rated on Yelp) over discounts
@newmediatravel @PCHousing but isn't all travel "local" or what is local today?
@familyonbikes Very good point! RT @newmediatravel @PCHousing but isn't all travel "local" or what is local today?
@PCHousing Very true. Local=closer to home/shorter distance. Try new things locally w/ deals, try the BEST things further out
@rtwwithus @familyonbikes @newmediatravel @erinJboyle great thoughts on discount sites…if not around deals, how do you plan your trips?
@familytravel4um Welcome @PCHousing & @rtwwithus. Do you value quality over saving money? What drives your travel decisions: price or other?
@PCHousing @familytravel4um There's definitely a balance b/w price & quality. Start w/ quality, then start drilling down from there on price
@ErinJBoyle Price is big factor, but I also want to enjoy my stay & experience food & culture. It's choosing what to do, then figuring out cost
@familytravel4um @PCHousing Balance b/w price & quality is good. How closely do you stick to your budget after you've left for vacation?
@[email protected] Budget should be set realistically & stuck to. Proper research when setting budget can help min. financial stress
@PCHousing With user-generated reviews & tips available on sites & apps,a bit of research can go a LONG way. Learn from experiences of others.
@familytravel4um @PCHousing Research is a great idea. Planning a little bit ahead can save money & time once you're there
@newmediatravel @PCHousing @familytravel4um but remember, each family and thus each trip is unique. Tips are good only as that family relates
@ErinJBoyle I only bring a certain amount of cash w/ me & have credit cards for emergencies. Using cash keeps me in line w/ my budget
@newmediatravel @PCHousing I wonder about your point about "sticking to a budget." Can that be limiting? Frustrating?
@PCHousing @newmediatravel Minimize limitation & frustration by doing proper research & planning. Altho its smart to expect the unexpected
@newmediatravel @PCHousing but isn't the unexpected what we travel for 🙂
Deciding What is Local vs. Long Distance Travel
The term “local” appears to be relative. When traveling to a destination, the culture around you is now local. Using local-deal websites can help families plan ahead and save some money.
@familytravel4um Lots of discussion on 'local.' Are ur trips generally far from home? In U.S. or international? Does this make diff. in budgeting?
@newmediatravel @familyonbikes @PCHousing it seems to me that wherever you are, is local. So a tip on Foursquare for London is local, if ur there
@familyonbikes @newmediatravel You are so right. Local is local, regardless of where you are.
@familytravel4um @newmediatravel you mention Foursquare. Do you find this site helpful for planning &/or saving money?
@newmediatravel @familytravel4um Foursquare tips can be money saving indeed @ericleist
@PCHousing @newmediatravel @familyonbikes 4sq, Groupon etc default to local (where you are now). When planning travel, you research non-local
@newmediatravel @PCHousing @familyonbikes but you can select a location/venue and search. Here is our NMT 4SQ page btw http://4sq.com/edBmCo
@familytrips Our friends sign up for @groupon b4 visiting new place to find restaurant deals.
@familytravel4um @familytrips @groupon is good for finding restaurant deals. Groupon & coupons can help save money http://bit.ly/dUV2qb
@PCHousing @familytravel4um The travelers that we generally work with are further from home, typically extended-stay. Non-local becomes local
@familytravel4um @PCHousing longer stays require larger budget, but also allow for more exploration!
@ErinJBoyle U.S. travel is generally cheaper for me, but love foreign countries too! Where u travel makes big diff for budget.
@Familytravel4um @ErinJBoyle U.S. travel is good for family road trips, nat'l monuments, etc. @CityPASS is great way to see more of city for less
@familytravelforum Great #FTFChat on budgeting for family vacations. Join us next week Wed 4/13 for another family travel chat.
Thanks @newmediatravel @travelBIGO @PCHousing @ErinJBoyle @familyonbikes @familytrips @BethBlair @rtwwithus. Join us next Wed 4/13 @ 1pm for another family travel chat!
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