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With two kids, student loans & other typical bills to pay, vacations are often an expense we have to trim. In order to still be able to get away while saving money I've done several things. I look to sites like hotels.com, travelocity.com, & orbitz..com to get cheaper hotel rooms. I've also used sites like groupon to get deals for when we're there. Also, if you pay a small yearly fee you can be a AAA member & it gets you access to cheaper car rentals, hotels, vacations, etc.
Another option that's helped us has been to bring a cooler with food to eat lunch at the hotel. Look for hotels that provide breakfast or bring your own (cereal, breakfast bars, milk, fruit, etc.). It really adds up. Another good idea is to go camping.
I just went to Cabo and got FREE: 2 days of 2-tank diving, sunset diner cruise, Mexican Fiesta dinner, 2 bottles of Tequila, and $150 CASH just for attending timeshare tours. Vacation was nearly FREE!!! Remember to say NO at the end of the high pressure sales pitches.
Used FF miles for ticket (pd. $50 tax) and stayed at my timeshare (maintenance dues $550)
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