Stretching your summer travel dollars

May 14, 2009 (CHICAGO) Here are some tips for stretching your travel dollar this summer from The Travel Mom, Emily Kaufman,

THINK OFF SEASON - We tend to escape the cold weather in Chicago by visiting warmer climates during the winter, places like Arizona, Palm Springs and the Caribbean. But during the summer, the deals are abundant in these places. Aruba has a summer vacation promotion going on where kids stay, play and eat free. ( We all know about going skiing when it's snowing but ski resorts are beautiful for families during the summer. Several ski resorts have teamed up and create an all inclusive outdoor vacation with 4 and 7 night itineraries. (

THINK ADDED VALUE - If you are not getting more bang for your buck this summer you have not done your homework. Hotels, cruises and destinations are adding so much that it makes places that are perceived as pricey more affordable. Orlando was just voted the Number One Vacation Value by Hotwire with over 150 offers for free things on their website Wolf Lodges are terrific value because they include water park admission with the price of their rooms so every family gets in free. Cruises have never been priced quite like this before and many of them are adding even more into their offer. Carnival Cruise Line kicks back up to $240 a stateroom to be used as on board credit.

THINK ABOUT STICKING CLOSE TO HOME - has a complete listing of free activities and special events for summer. Mary Poppins the Musical is in town and the Hotel Allegro right next door to the theatre has created a family friendly Mary Poppins package. The Four Seasons and Field Museum have teamed up for a Pirates in the City escape. Arlington Park Race Track ranks up there with Navy Pier and Millennium Park as terrific family places but it is incredibly affordable and loaded with special events from Friday night concerts to breakfast at the track on select mornings.

THINK ABOUT LOYALTY - Credit card companies, airlines, hotel chains and rental car companies are celebrating their loyal customers with offers for free nights, complimentary upgrades and extra points this summer - even free merchandise. Holiday Inn has teamed up with Major League Baseball to give their members MLB merchandise and free tickets to games The Intercontinental Hotel group is offering a terrific promotion across all of their hotels where guests stay two nights and can get a free night to be used later at any of their properties from Intercontinental to Staybridge Suites. (

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