As my parents have grown older, my desire to haul them around to far-flung places has only grown.
Since my dad turns 75 this year and my mom turns 70 the next, I know our time together could easily come to an end in the next five to 20 years. So, of course, I want them to relax on beautiful beaches, enjoy delicious dinners and forget about their worldly troubles for a while.
Unfortunately, vacationing with parents isn’t cheap. You’re adding a few adults to your travel plans, and we all know that more people means more money.
Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to vacation with your parents for less than you think. Here are a few of my top tips:
LEVERAGE TRAVEL REWARDS TOGETHER
The last few years, I’ve talked my parents into signing up for valuable travel credit cards that help them fly and stay for free. They’ve used sign-up bonuses from cards like the Chase Sapphire Preferred and Southwest Premier Credit Card to fly to Jamaica with us twice.
This year they’re leveraging their Chase Ultimate Rewards points to fly with us to Jamaica, then transferring points to IHG Rewards and Hyatt for seven nights at the Holiday Inn Resort in Montego Bay and the Hyatt Ziva all-inclusive.
The key to making a rewards strategy work with parents is making sure you’re all on the same page, booking early when there’s plenty of award availability and ramping up your point-earning strategy at least 12 months before you plan to go anywhere.
BOOK A HUGE CONDO FOR EVERYONE
Another strategy we’ve used with my parents is booking a big rental home or condo so that everyone has plenty of space. Booking a condo on the beach is often much cheaper than staying in a hotel, plus you can save even more by preparing your own meals.
An added bonus is that you can enjoy a common living space big enough for everyone to hang out.
DRIVE, DON’T FLY
No matter where you’re traveling, airfare is often the biggest expense of any trip. CheapAir.com reports that the average domestic fare is $336 as of this writing, bringing the grand total for airfare to at least $2,016 for an extended family of six.
The best way to avoid this added expense is to travel somewhere you can drive, not fly. Even if you have to rent a car, you could still end up way ahead.
ASK FOR THOSE SENIOR DISCOUNTS
Some hotel brands offer discounts just for seniors. Hyatt, Choice Hotels, Marriott and Wyndham are examples with special savings.
The best way to find out about these discounts is to call and inquire. Marriott, for example, doesn’t offer the senior rate on its website, but asks guests to call its reservation line to secure a senior discount of up to 15 percent off.
If you can talk your parents into making your reservations, you could easily save up to 15 percent at 4,000 Marriott locations, up to 50 percent off Hyatt properties and special savings at Wyndham hotels, to name a few.
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