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On The Road Again

June 15, 2021
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A number of years ago I set out to visit all 50 states and all 59 of our national parks. I'm at 41 states and 38 of the now 63 national parks. I love the adventure, the exploration, the hiking, the views that our country offers. Words can't describe the view from Glacier Point above Yosemite Valley or from the top of Walter's Wiggles in Zion National Park. 

But travel comes with a price. There's airfare, parking, car rentals, gas, Uber, hotels, food options on the go, and admission to various attractions. With 2 adults and 3 kids, it can get expensive quickly. So how do we do it? How do we travel regularly to amazing locations without breaking the bank?

Flights 

     1. We travel during the right weeks. Being a homeschooling family, we are not required to travel during peak times when everyone else is on school breaks. Our family will often                travel in May and September. The weather is usually perfect and the prices are substantially better during these off peak times.

     2. We travel on the right days of the week. It's been my experience as I book flights that traveling on Tuesdays and Wednesdays tend to give better pricing that the typical weekend         flights that most families travel around. Monday and Thursday/Friday have big business demand and Saturday/Sunday have leisure demand. There is a lull on Tuesday/Wednesday         and better fares are typically available. 

     3. We travel to major airports and spend some extra time driving. Last summer we flew out to Denver when we wanted to visit Wyoming and South Dakota and drove 4-5 hours               north. Flying into Denver vs. Rapid City, SD probably saved over $500 on flights. And we see more of the country by doing a little extra driving. We ended up stumbling across                 Medicine Bow National Forest on the way back and were amazed by the views in very lightly traveled area. 

     4. Points & Loyalty. If you are loyal to one airline, you can earn status and get bonuses that can save substantial money. For several years I had companion status with Southwest           Airlines. This permitted me to name a companion who could fly on any flight with me during the year for $5.50 each way. My wife was able to fly with me 3-4 times each year without       paying and without using any of our points. 

Hotels

     1. Similar to airlines, you can time hotel stays to save money. City hotels are busier during the week for business and convention travel while tourist areas are busier on the weekends. They are priced accordingly. So while you are away, pay attention to how you time where you will be. Staying 15 minutes outside of a city can often save $50 per night and provide free parking. 

3. Rental Cars

4. Points

We travel during the right weeks. Being a homeschooling family, we are not required to travel during peak times when everyone else is on school breaks. Our family will often travel in May and September. The weather is usually perfect and the prices are substantially better during these off peak times. . We travel on the right days of the week. It's been my experience as I book flights that traveling on Tuesdays and Wednesdays tend to give better pricing that the typical weekend flights that most families travel around. Monday and Thursday/Friday have big business demand and Saturday/Sunday have leisure demand. There is a lull on Tuesday/Wednesday and better fares are typically available. 

3. Hotels

4. Rental Cars

5.