CHICAGO --Chicagoan Colleen Kelly has a dream job! She's a travel expert who has visited countless destinations across the world.
As a mother of two, she knows what it takes to save money on a family vacation! She shares her top money saving summer travel tips and trips with our viewers.
1. Gas Buddy: Use this app to find the best gas prices around you, which is especially helpful when you're in an area you're not familiar with or on a long road trip.
2. HomeAway: Go to www.homeaway.com to find and rent a house or condo. You can often get better deals this way, and you'll have all the comforts of home, like laundry and a kitchen. Save on travel expenses because you can cook and eat in more often, and you can share with friends or family, which cuts down on expenses.
3. Hotels: Call the hotel directly, not the 800 number, to ask them to beat a price you found online.
4. Hotels: Search for hotel packages that throw in "freebies" and discounts, like breakfast, museum and attraction discounts, spa discounts, movie rentals and snacks for your room.
Want to visit the sunshine state for cheap?
Two of Colleen Kelly's favorite destinations for summer travel are very different from each other: Amelia Island is in the northernmost part of the state and the Florida Keys are as far south as you can get.
In a chain of islands in northern Florida. Just a 30-minute drive from the Jacksonville airport or a 15-hour drive from Chicago, if you're up for a road trip. A great place to get away from it all and relax on the 13 miles of wide-open beaches with easy access.
Fly into Miami, and then begin your breathtaking drive through the Keys - a 120-mile chain of islands linked by an overseas highway that runs from Miami to Key West at the southern tip. The drive itself is half the fun. A series of bridges links the Keys, including one that is 7 miles long! Gorgeous water views everywhere you look, with many great places to stop along the way and eat fresh seafood right beside the ocean.
Visit www.villasofameliaisland.com and www.ameliaisland.com for more information.
Visit www.FiestaKeyRVResort.com and www.fla-keys.com for more information.
Be sure to check out "Family Travel with Colleen Kelly" on PBS. For more information, please go to http://familytravelck.com.